After the Black Rider trots off into the distance, Frodo states how strange he felt, that the feeling told him he did not want to be found by this mysterious man.
You know when ever someone repeats something in a literary work that they are telling you something important. Frodo repeats the word “felt” many times, this tells us that the way he feels is either important to the story line or important in the symbolism Tolkien was trying to use. Frodo didn’t know the man was bad. He felt it.
Sam speaks up and tells Frodo that he knew where the Black Rider came from. He said that only just the day before his Gaffer saw the man, and the man was asking about a Baggins. He told this to Sam, at the time he thought nothing of it because Gaffer is old and it was dark.
Frodo admits to having heard Gaffer speaking to a strange talking fellow. Pippin is convinced that there is possibly no connection and they should just get moving. This is further justifying Pippin’s character as the part of us, or the type of person, who doesn’t see what is happening around them. They aren’t aware. They either choose not to, or simply don’t notice what they should.
Frodo says that he wished they had waited for Gandalf, and then Pippin suspiciously asks Frodo if he knows something about this black rider. Frodo tries to simply brush the comment away by saying he doesn’t want to know.
From then on, they kept their distance from the road.
This part with the road seems strangely opposite that of Bilbo’s story about keeping on the path. As Bilbo’s journey required not straying from the path, Frodo’s instead was to be avoided. This could be because the path through Mirkwood was leading them through the bad, trying to keep them on the path to good. Whereas Frodo’s path was covered with evil.
When the three hobbits come upon a hollowed out tree, they climb inside to rest. Tolkien makes a point to mention that the tree is pretty much dead, yet it still produces leaves. This could be a symbolic foreshadowing to the common theme that even things that seem lost and better off dead can still produce good, they still have that potential inside them, even if they can’t gain their full potential back. They have already missed all those many years of potential to do good.
As they continue on the path, they sing a song that Bilbo had written. In among other lines of the song is the words of Pippin’s song in the movies known as The Steward of Gondor on the movie sound track. It is a brilliant song showing that we can’t stay home forever, we have to continue on our adventure in order to become better.
The three run and hide in the shadows when they hear hooves behind them. It was definitely a black rider. It crawls creepily toward Frodo, sniffing. The closer it gets, the more Frodo desires to slip on the ring. It was much more powerful than the earlier time he had felt the temptation. A sound in the near distance scares the rider away. Sam starts to exclaim quietly that it was elves. The other hobbits had to pull him away, or else he would have run to the elves.
The elves are singing, which is what scared the rider away. Frodo knows little of the words sung.
One of the elves sees and recognizes Frodo. They greet, and Frodo says they are traveling in the same direction as they. Because the elves see themselves as superior beings, at first they laugh that Frodo wants to travel alongside them. Pippin interrupts to ask the elves about the black riders. They become interested and decide to take the hobbits with them elsewhere to speak about it.
After Frodo speaks something in the language of the elves, Gildor, the elf leader, calls him “elf friend.” They warn the hobbits that they will become weary for the elves will be walking far and long.
The elves stop and have a party. Kind of strange, but okay. They have a wonderful time until Frodo and Gildor are the last awake, talking.
As they talk, Gildor reads things from the look on Frodo’s face. He knows he is troubled and is unsure if he can succeed. He knows that the Enemy is after him, he doesn’t know why, but nonetheless it’s true. Gildor tells Frodo nothing about the Black Riders, because he believes it is up to Gandalf to tell Frodo. Gildor believes that it is all Gandalf’s responsibility what Frodo knows.
Frodo speaks his fear that Gandalf may not return at the time he had said. Frodo asks if he should wait for Gandalf or continue on. Gildor can only say that it is strange for Gandalf to be late, and that it is Frodo’s choice whether to stay or continue. Frodo jokes that it is said to not go to elves for counsel, because they will tell you both no and yes.
Gildor warns that if Frodo does go on, that he should not go alone. To only bring those who he trusts. Frodo thanks him.
Frodo finally begs to be told what the black riders are. Gildor asks if it is not enough to know they are the enemy. If they are simply the enemy, what does it matter what they are exactly? All Frodo needs to know is that they are simply evil. Frodo is still unsure how he will find courage to continue on. He asks how he can find it. Gildor once more tells Frodo of his friendship, and Frodo drifts into sleep.