Young Sam listened intently to Mr. Bilbo’s stories of being dragged down into the goblins’ lair, and seeing the goblin chieftain in a great cavern. “And if he wasn’t surprised when Gandalf made the flames of their torches flare and then go out!” the old Hobbit cried dramatically.
Sam jumped most satisfactorily, and hoped he’d never meet such creatures. It never crossed his mind to question the truth of the old Hobbit’s tales.
“He’s cracked!” declared Ted Sandyman after they’d listened to Bilbo telling that story to children in the common. “There ain’t no goblins!”
“Are too!” Sam responded loyally.
Sandyman had lost a good deal of bluster now Pimple was gone. Still, now and then he’d try to goad Sam. “Still believe in goblins?” he demanded one night when he found Sam sitting with Rosie’s brothers in the Green Dragon.
Sam sighed. “Yes.”
Ted laughed. “Ain’t no real goblins.”
“Really?” Sam asked, sweeping the curls over his forehead away. “An orc’s scimitar gave me this scar.”
The Cottons looked impressed. Ted was taken aback, but forged ahead. “Bet you ran as fast as your feet would take you.”
Sam looked at him levelly. “Not till after I killed him.”