The Hobbit Chapter 7
Bilbo wakes to the rising sun and they eat a breakfast of cold mutton and rabbit. He climbs onto an eagle's back and closes his eyes. He opens them for a minute, but panics when he sees how high up they are. The eagle tells him that flying is the best thing in the world, but Bilbo does not agree. After a while, they near a great flat rock in the middle of the woods, and the eagles begin to circle around it. They drop their passengers off, and Gandalf thanks them. The party gathers to speak and Gandalf tells them that the stone is called the Carrock and it was constructed by a man named Beorn. They bathe in a nearby river and then leave again. They go out to find Beorn, who is a skin-changer. He can change from a man into a bear. They move off and the day gets hotter. They enter a flowered field and Gandalf tells the crew that it is Beorn's flower patch where he keeps his bees. They enter a grove of oaks and Gandalf says they must go in two by two so they don't overwhelm the man.
Bilbo and Gandalf proceed. Horses see them and run off to tell their master. As they get closer, they find "a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs knotted with muscles."Chapter 7, pg. 117. Beorn rests on his ax and asks them what they want. He says he doesn't recognize Gandalf's name, so the wizard mentions the name of a cousin Beorn does know. Gandalf explains their trouble and tells Beorn that they need help and advice. Beorn invites them inside his wide hall and Gandalf informs him that there are more of their companions outside. First he calls in Thorin and Dori. He continues to tell the story of their journey and refers to several companions. Beorn is confused, because he doesn't think of four as several, so Gandalf calls in two more. The wizard begins his story again and talks about their troop of ponies. Beorn does not think that six is a troop, so Gandalf calls in two more dwarves. This amuses Beorn, and as Gandalf continues to tell the tale, he refers to the band as a dozen. Beorn sighs as two more dwarves enter. Gandalf comes to the end of the tale; they count themselves and find that there are only fourteen. Two more dwarves appear, but Beorn mentions that they still do not add up to fourteen. When he gets to the part when they are in the trees and surrounded by goblins, he calls for the last three dwarves. When the story is finished, Beorn thinks it is a good tale, but he doesn't believe it.
It is dark when Beorn claps his hands; the animals light his fires and set the table. Ponies bring in chairs and tables for everyone. As they eat, Beorn tells his tales of the countryside and the terrible Mirkwood. After the meal, the dwarves begin to tell their own tales, but everyone is very sleepy. Bilbo drifts off and Beorn leaves. The dwarves sing for a while until Gandalf tells them to sleep and not wander outside. Bilbo hears a great noise in the night, but stays in bed. In the morning, he is woken by one of the dwarves. They have been looking all over for Beorn, and Gandalf is also missing. After a while, Gandalf returns and tells them he has been following bear tracks. He tells them that there were many different types of tracks gathered around the Carrock, and they all went off towards the Misty Mountains. Bilbo fears that the bears will lead the goblins and wargs their way. Gandalf tells him not to be foolish. The next morning they wake to Beorn's return. Beorn laughs and pokes Bilbo's stomach. They all eat breakfast together. Beorn went to the clearing where they met the wargs and found a warg for himself. From the beast, he learned that the story was true. He also found out that the goblins and wargs were searching for other wargs and planning some sort of great attack. After finding out their story was true, he hurried home to offer them help. He is happy that they killed the Great Goblin. He promises them ponies to carry them to the edge of the forest and provisions for their journey. He asks that they send the ponies back once they reach the edge of the forest. They worry about the dangers ahead of them as they prepare to leave.
The party moves north and crosses a river, according to Beorn's advice. Sleep on the first night back on the road is uneasy. Bilbo is sure that he sees a giant bear prowling around their camp. After a couple of days, they near the dark beginning of Mirkwood.
"There were no more deer; not even rabbits were to be seen. By the afternoon they had reached the eves of Mirkwood, and were resting almost beneath the great overhanging boughs of its outer trees. Their trunks were huge and gnarled, their branches twisted, their leaves were dark and long. Ivy grew on them and trailed along the ground." Chapter 7, pg. 134
Gandalf tells them to send back the ponies, and as they grumble, he warns them that Beorn has been following them. Gandalf does not send his horse back, and they realize slowly that he does not intend to enter the forest with them. He tells them that he must go south to attend to other business, and that Bilbo will help them. Gandalf says his farewell and warns them not to stray from the path in the forest. Thorin grumbles a goodbye as Gandalf rides away. From the distance, he again warns them to stay on the path.