The Hobbit


Chapter 8 to Chapter 10

Chapter 8 Summary

The way through Mirkwood is dim and gloomy, frightening and pitch-black at night. The company travels for several days but can see no end in sight, and they are running out of food and water. One day, Bilbo climbs a tree to see if he can get some perspective on their position, but he is unable to see any end to the trees. They come to an enchanted lake with a boat moored on the far side. With a hook they pull the boat over and use it to cross. Bombur falls into the water and is overcome by an enchanted sleep, which last for four days. During this time, the hungry and exhausted travelers take turns carrying him.

When Bombur wakes up, he doesn’t remember anything about what has happened since Bilbo’s tea party before the adventure started. He says that he has been dreaming of wonderful foods, and that he doesn’t even want to go on if there isn’t any real food. Their attention is drawn by a group of Wood-elves dancing around a fire and feasting in the nearby woods. Made unwise by hunger and exhaustion, they decide to approach the elves and ask for food, and in this attempt they stray from the path. The Wood-elves disappear, along with their fire, and everyone is cast into pitch-blackness. With difficulty, they find one another by voice, but by this time they are hopelessly lost in the woods. As they settle down to sleep, the fire appears once again in the distance and, once again, they go toward it. Again the lights go out. The third time this happens, they are all completely separated from one another. Bilbo, exhausted and alone, leans against a tree to rest.

When he awakens, Bilbo is bound to the tree by a sticky spider web and a giant spider is coming toward him. He manages to get his sword out and slash himself free from the web, then kills the spider by stabbing it in the eyes. A new pride washes over Bilbo, for he has just slain an evil creature all on his own, and saved himself from harm. He decides that he will name his sword “Sting.” Soon afterward, Bilbo discovers the dwarves...

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