‘What’s the matter with the place?’ said Merry.

‘Has it been a bad year, or what?

I thought it had been a fine summer and harvest.’

‘Well no, the year’s been good enough,’ said Hob.

‘We grows a lot of food,

but we don’t rightly know what becomes of it.

It’s all these «gatherers» and «sharers», I reckon,

going round counting and measuring and taking off to storage.

They do more gathering than sharing,

and we never see most of the stuff again.’

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