While poking around the library shelves in 2009, I came across several stapled sheets of yellowed paper covered in a nearly indecipherable scrawl. Much to my astonishment, it turned out to be a previously undiscovered manuscript chapter of Lord of the Rings!! It seems that *this* is how Tolkien really intended the story to continue after Bilbo left the Shire and Frodo inherited Bag End. He had planned to do away with that pesky Quest and Ring destroying business, and focus exclusively on Frodo and Sam's love story. Sadly, Lewis and Williams talked him out of this planned ending, but I have (with much sweat and toil) transcribed it for you, and here it is in its entirety. Tolkien being a man of his time, you have to read between the lines a little, but I guarantee that these are all Tolkien's very own words- not a single one of mine is included here! (In fact, if you pay attention, you can see how he ended up taking the words from this chapter and dispersing them throughout the rest of the book after he was talked out of the ending he wanted...) Warnings: Irreverence, heresy, misuse and abuse of canon, etc.
Frodo himself, after the first shock, found that being his own master and the Mr. Baggins of Bag End was rather pleasant. For some years he was quite happy and did not worry much about the future. So it went on, until his forties were running out, and his fiftieth birthday was drawing near. Frodo began to feel restless, and the old paths seemed too well-trodden.
It was early April and the sky was now clearing after heavy rain. The sun was down, and a cool pale evening was quietly fading into night. Sam walked home under the early stars through Hobbiton and up the Hill, whistling softly and thoughtfully. For one thing, there was a lot to do up in the Bag End garden. But Sam had more on his mind than gardening. Suddenly a sense of urgency which he did not understand came to Sam. It was almost as if he had been called: 'Now, now, or it will be too late!' Sam ran off at full speed.
Frodo wandered round the familiar rooms, and saw the light of the sunset fade on the walls, and shadows creep out of the corners. It grew slowly dark indoors. He went out and walked down to the gate at the bottom of the path, and then on a short way down the Hill Road.
Presently Sam appeared, trotting quickly and breathing hard.
`Hullo, Sam!' said Frodo.
'Master!' cried Sam.
Frodo looked at Sam rather startled, half expecting to see some outward sign of the odd change that seemed to have come over him. Frodo could hear his heart beating. Even outside everything seemed still. He realized suddenly that he loved the hobbit dearly.
'It's going to be a fine night,’ he said aloud. ‘That's good for a beginning. What about it?’
Their eyes met and they understood.
‘Yes, sir!' said Sam. ‘We might as well do it here, and save ourselves a long tramp. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish, as my old gaffer used to say.’
And so the red blood blushing in their faces and their eyes shining with wonder, Frodo and Sam loosened their small swords in their sheaths. They stood as if enchanted.
Frodo bent his head. For a moment, he stood gaping. Such loveliness in living thing Frodo had never seen before nor imagined in his mind. 'O Sam!' cried Frodo. ‘Am I still dreaming?'
`You're not dreaming at all, Master,' said Sam. `It's real. It's me.’ Sam blushed. ‘I'll have a peep, if you're willing.'
Frodo took it from his breeches-pocket. `Here it is. Don't pinch, lad!’
Sam looked at it and puckered his brows, trembling a little between fear and curiosity. He stroked it gently and then he blushed and turned hastily away. For a moment it appeared to Sam that his master had grown.
‘It’s warm!’ said Sam. ‘Look at it, Mr. Frodo! Look at it!’
Frodo actually laughed. A sudden warmth and gladness touched his heart. ‘Let us keep on as we are going!'
‘Very good, sir!’ He bent over Frodo, rousing him gently. 'Oh, Mr. Frodo, that's hard!' said Sam shivering.
Frodo groaned. ‘Sam!’ he cried. ‘Sam!’ He sprang out, shouting as he came.
With hearts strangely lightened they now rested, but not for long.
At length he stirred. 'What about you, Sam? Aren't we going to match?'
Sam looked a bit awkward.
'There is no need to come yet, if you don't want to,' said Frodo.
‘It's not that, Mr. Frodo,’ said Sam, and he went very red.
'Well, what is it?'
`Well, Mr. Frodo, I've been thinking,' said Sam.
‘What do you mean?’ said Frodo. ‘And what do you wish?’
‘I don't rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me. And yet the only place I really want to be in is here.’
‘But my dear Sam, how easy!' said Frodo. 'What's wrong with the old customs?’ The desire to do this laid hold of him, and he could think of nothing else.
'You're right again, Mr. Frodo!' said Sam delighted. 'That's what I wanted. Just hold on a moment, and I'll get my stuff! It's all ready.’
It was now Frodo’s turn to feel pleased with himself.
'On the ground, master, if you please!' Sam said. 'Easier for me and you.'
With a gasp Frodo cast himself on the ground.
'I didn't ought to have left my blanket behind,' muttered Sam.
Frodo crouching over his knees heard Sam in front muttering and groaning. 'I am ready,' said Frodo.
Sword in hand Sam went after him. ‘Whoa, Sam Gamgee!’ he said aloud. For a moment he stood, his heart beating with wild fears, and then he plunged in. ‘Ah,' said Sam.
Frodo accepted it gratefully. Sam shuddered and tried to force himself to move.
‘Go on!’ said Frodo faintly. 'I can manage it. I must.'
Going on was not altogether easy. Care was certainly needed. The cleft was longer and deeper than it seemed. Sam drew a deep breath. 'Begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo,' he said, 'but have you any notion how far there is still to go?'
'No, not any clear notion, Sam,' Frodo answered.
Hardening his will, Sam thrust forward once again. He breathed with relief when he was safely across. `Live and learn! as my gaffer used to say.’
Frodo opened his eyes and drew a breath. ‘Now, wait a bit and be patient!’ Frodo gasped. ‘We’re going on a bit too fast.’
Sam restrained himself, though his fingers were twitching. ‘It's like being at home and on a holiday at the same time, if you understand me. I don't want to leave. All the same, I'm beginning to feel that if we've got to go on, then we'd best get it over.’
`No, no! wait! ' Frodo called back, more strongly now. `I shall be better soon. I feel better already.’
Sam was beside himself. `Frodo, Frodo! Master!' he cried half sobbing. 'I'm going right on, Mr. Frodo!' he cried.
‘Splendid! Come!' cried Frodo. `On! On!’
‘Coming, Mr. Frodo! Coming!’ called Sam.
All things now went well, with hope always of becoming still better; and Sam was as busy and as full of delight as even a hobbit could wish.
‘Quick, Sam! Over we go!' cried Frodo.
Sam gasped, but he had no chance to cry out, for at that moment many things happened.
He let go. Frodo followed.
'O Sam!' cried Frodo. `We've done it!’
But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he groped for Frodo's hand. ‘Can you walk?'
`Yes, I can walk,' said Frodo. 'I am not hurt Sam. Only I feel very tired, and I've a pain here.'
‘I think you ought to rest now, Mr. Frodo.’ He kissed Frodo's forehead. ‘I don't know what time of day or night it is, but we've kept going for hours and hours.'
`Yes, we must rest,' said Frodo.
`Sleep then, master! Lay your head in my lap.' And he lay back in Sam's gentle arms, closing his eyes.
In the early night Frodo woke from deep sleep, suddenly, as if some sound or presence had disturbed him. Frodo was left to himself for a while, for Sam had fallen asleep. As he lay there, thinking and getting a hold of himself, Frodo fidgeted, wondering what to do.
'Wake up, Sam!' he said. 'Come on! It's time we made another effort.'
‘Better wait till morning and more light.’
‘No! Not if I can help it,’ said Frodo with a sudden strange vehemence.
Sam looked at his master with approval, but also with surprise: there was a look in his face and a tone in his voice that he had not known before.
`Hungry again already?' thought Sam. `Well, now for it again!'
‘What can I do, Mr. Frodo? What can I do?’
‘You can’t do anything without a rope.’
`Rope!' cried Sam, talking wildly to himself in his excitement and relief. Quickly Sam unslung his pack and rummaged in it.
`You've got it?' gasped Frodo. A wild light came into Frodo's eyes. `You've got it here? Sam, you're a marvel! Make it fast to that stump, Sam!’ he said. ‘I think we could manage this. I could at any rate; and you could too, if you kept your head and followed me carefully.’
`I don't know how you can be so sure,' said Sam.
‘I do,’ said Frodo.
Sam shook his head and did not answer. He was passing the rope through his fingers thoughtfully. `Have it your own way, Mr. Frodo,' he said at last. He took up the rope and made it fast over the stump; then the other end he tied about his own waist.
‘Which order shall we go in? Eldest first, or quickest first?’
'Let me drink first Mr. Frodo,' he said. Sam fell on his knees, trembling. 'Well, here goes, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam.
‘It probably won’t come,’ said Frodo doubtfully.
‘You'll see, Mr. Frodo.'
'I dare say I shall, if we ever get so far,' said Frodo. 'But that is the best I can do yet.'
‘'Maybe,' said Sam, `but where there's life there's hope, as my Gaffer used to say. And it hasn't failed, not yet.'
But when would it come? Suddenly Frodo saw a hopeful sign.
‘Something's happening!' cried Sam. ‘Glory and trumpets! It’s fine to see you up and yourself again, sir!’
‘Yes, it is coming back to life. I feel quite myself again now. Who'd have thought it!' Frodo exclaimed. Frodo gazed in wonder at this marvellous gift that he had so long carried, not guessing its full worth and potency.
‘Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. Then he drank deeply.
‘All aboard, Sam?’
'Yes, sir. I'll last for a bit now, sir,’ came the answer from far within, followed soon by Sam himself, wiping his mouth. ‘What did I tell you?’
'It certainly came,' said Frodo, `and that's the chief thing. But now we've got to think of our next move. I’m going to try it,’ he said. 'I'm thirsty, Sam.'
'All right, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam, rather startled. 'Here it is!'
`Up you come, Sam my lad!' said Frodo.
Sam quickly blushed and hung his head. It did not, however, turn out half as bad as he had expected. The rope seemed to give him confidence, though he shut his eyes more than once when he looked down between his feet.
‘Up!’ Frodo said in a hoarse breath without voice.
‘Look out, master! I’m’ – but suddenly his cry was stifled. Sam went off. ‘Master, master!’ he called. ‘Master!’
As soon as Frodo had swallowed a little of the warm and fragrant liquor he felt a new strength of heart.
‘Come on, and taste it again!’
'Sam!' cried Frodo, feeling that amazement could go no further. Frodo opened his mouth and shut it again.
'That's done it!' said Sam.
When he had finished, Frodo said nothing but took Sam's hand and pressed it. They lay still for a while. Both were sweating. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing.
'Take the rope off, Sam!' said Frodo.
'Yes, sir!' said Sam. He coiled it up and stowed it lovingly in his pack.
‘I am glad you are here with me.’ Frodo smiled at him.
'Yes, I am with you, Master,' said Sam. ‘And you're with me.’ He half lifted his master and hugged him to his breast.
'Well, Sam!’ Frodo said. ‘What about it? When are you going to move in and join me?'
'Me, sir!' cried Sam. ‘Hooray!' he shouted, and then burst into tears.
And so it was settled. And if Sam thought himself lucky, Frodo knew that he was more lucky himself.
When Sam awoke, he found that he was lying on some soft bed. 'Bless me!' he mused. 'How long have I been asleep?' He stretched and drew a deep breath. 'Why, what a dream I've had!' he muttered. He sat up and then he saw that Frodo was lying beside him, and slept peacefully, one hand behind his head, and the other resting upon the coverlet. Full memory flooded back, and Sam cried aloud: 'It wasn't a dream!’
At length, stooping and caressing Frodo's brow, he spoke in his ear. 'Wake up, Master!' he said. 'Time for another start. Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride.' He loosened the sword in its sheath.
'O Sam!' cried Frodo.
And they all settled down and lived together happily ever after.