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Then, he thought the time had come to ask something hard and horrible. This is what he said:
This thing all things devours:
Poor Bilbo sat in the dark thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever heard told of in tales, but not one of them had done all these things. He had a feeling that the answer was quite different and that he ought to know it, but he could not think of it. He began to get frightened, and that is bad for thinking. Gollum began to get out of his boat. He flapped into the water and paddled to the bank; Bilbo could see his eyes coming towards him. His tounge seemed to stick in his mouth; he wanted to shout out: "Give me more time! Give me more time!" But all that came out with a sudden squeal was:
Bilbo was saved by pure luck. For that of course was the answer.
'The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But this in the Common Tounge is what is said, close enough:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
It is only two lines of a verse long known in Elven-lore:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
He paused, and then said slowly in a deep voice: 'This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring that he lost many ages ago, to the great weakening of his power. He greatly desires it--but he must not get it.'
The fires below awoke in anger, the red light blazed, and all the cavern was filled with a great glare and heat. Suddenly Sam saw Gollum's long hands draw upwards to his mouth; his white fangs gleamed, and then snapped as they bit. Frodo gave a cry, and there he was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm's edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle. It shone now as if verily it was wrought of living fire.
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