In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy
smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on
or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole,
painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The
door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable
tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls and floors tiled and carpeted,
provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and
hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but
not quite straight into the side of the hill--The Hill, as all the people
for many miles round called it--and many little round doors opened out
of it, first on one 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, dining-rooms, all were
on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were
all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have
windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond,
sloping down to the river.
This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and
his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The
Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable,
not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had
any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins
would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is the
story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying
things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours' respect,
but he gained--well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.