The Fellowship of the Ring Book 1, Chapter 6
Frodo wakes suddenly and Merry gets everyone ready to leave. By six a.m. they are on the road. When they get to the hedge, they go through a secret hollow and enter the old forest. Frodo bids Fatty Bolger goodbye and reminds him to look for Gandalf. The forest is thick and dim. Many hobbits believe that the trees can move of their own accord. They make their way slowly through the thick groves and feel an air of enmity about them. They come to a bonfire glade where a group of hobbits entered the forest, chopped down a mass of trees and burned them because they feared the forest. There is a path on the other side and they enter it with Frodo singing. "He spoke cheerfully and if he felt any great anxiety he did not show it." Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 147. They hurry toward a bald hill, and at the top Merry points back to the west. It is getting very hot, and through the evaporating mist they seem to make out the east road. They linger there for a while and when they leave they realize that they are lost. Striking a northward path, they get deeper and deeper in the forest until they come to a stream that they follow to a river. Merry investigates and they find a path along the river. They follow this path despite Pippin's considerable worry. After some time in the heat they feel tired and Frodo passes out on the roots of a great willow tree. They wash in the river and are overcome by sleepiness.
It is getting late and Sam wakes uneasy. Two of the others are in the river and Frodo alleges that the tree threw him in the water. Merry gets caught between the roots of the tree and cannot move. They build a little fire around his foot but the tree just grips him tighter. Merry screams. He says that the willow is speaking to him. Frodo goes running into the forest in a panic screaming for help. He hears someone singing and he runs into a man named Tom Bombadil. He is grey and bearded. He follows Frodo back to the tree and sings to it. The hobbits are released. He tells the hobbits to follow him but soon his pace has left them behind. They think they are lost, but they suddenly come upon the yellow door of Tom's house.