In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with theends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit downon or to eat: it was a hobbithole, and that means comfort.It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knobin the exact middle. The door opened on to a tubeshaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortabletunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polishedchairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnelwound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill The Hill, as all thepeople for many miles round called it and many little round doors opened out of it, first onone side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars,pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens,diningrooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best roomswere all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows,deepset round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to theriver.This hobbit was a very welltodo hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses hadlived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them veryrespectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had anyadventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on anyquestion without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure,found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost theneighbours' respect, but he gainedwell, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.The mother of our particular hobbit … what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need somedescription nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us.They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves.Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everydaysort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and mecome blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They areinclined to be at in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wearno shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like thestuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, goodnatured faces, andlaugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they canget it). Now you know enough to go on with. As I was saying, the mother of this hobbit ofBilbo Baggins, that is was the fabulous Belladonna Took, one of the three remarkabledaughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived across The Water, the small river thatran at the foot of The Hill. It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Tookancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there wasstill something not entirely hobbitlike about them, and once in a while members of theTookclan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushedit up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, thoughthey were undoubtedly richer. Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after shebecame Mrs. Bungo Baggins. Bungo, that was Bilbo's father, built the most luxurioushobbithole for her (and partly with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill orover The Hill or across The Water, and there they remained to the end of their days. Still it isprobable that Bilbo, her only son, although he looked and behaved exactly like a second editionof his solid and comfortable father, got something a bit queer in his makeup from the Tookside, something that only waited for a chance to come out. The chance never arrived, untilBilbo Baggins was grown up, being about fifty years old or so, and living in the beautifulhobbithole built by his father, which I have just described for you, until he had in factapparently settled down immovably.