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Masquerade Ball A Huge Success!

posted Jun 5, 2011, 1:44 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush
By Tibba Stoutfoot 

Last sunday, the long-awaited masquerade ball took place at the Ball-rock, a large rock at the Southfarthing racing track. For over two months now, talk had been high about this ball, as it introduced a foreign custom not hitherto known in the Shire: Everybody was expected to wear a mask that completely concealed their identity, and nobody was allowed to reveal their name before the unmasking. As can be imagined, the local tailors were kept busy in the weeks before the ball, as hobbits came to order new costumes, or to change an old dress or robe found in their grandparent's wardrobe. Colourful fabrics and beads were in high demand, and farmer Sandson was even heard complaining one evening in the inn about some young lads who had tried to pull the tail feathers off his prized rooster (the rooster is unharmed, and the lads learnt that an enraged rooster is a force to be reckoned with, not to mention an enraged farmer). The day before the ball, excitement rose to a fevered pitch. The more curious of the hobbits, which is to say, practically everybody, surreptitiously tried to find out which costumes their friends and neighbours would be wearing. Spirits were high, and the last hours before the ball were spent in happy anticipation and the odd frantic last-minute adjustment on a costume. 

Finally, the evening arrived. Furtively, people darted out of their burrows, covered in large cloaks so as not to let the costume underneath show, their masks safely concealed in a bag or backpack, and made their way to the general vicinity of the Ball-rock. And there, the beasts of the woods will have stories to tell their young ones for years to come about the evening when they saw hobbits dart behind a bush or tree and emerge as an elf or pig. Yes, it was a large and diverse crowd gathered beneath the Ball-rock that night, and hardly a hobbit could be seen among them. Instead, there were fair elves, and animals, and fierce warriors. Mysterious strangers in dark clothes moved among the crowd. And for once, the chatter was not centered on pies, but on the stories of the masks, as people explained who they were and where they came from. But of course, even with a mask on, hobbits do stay hobbits, and thus all were grateful that a few people had thought to come as hobbits, and had brought pies and ale for everyone. And when the ball officially started with a riddle, expertly presented by a dark stranger called Mask, even more hobbity behaviour could be seen as noble elves and mighty warriors started dancing as merrily as any hobbit lass or lad would. And a lot of dancing there was! Many guests had brought new songs, and dancing tunes, and some had brought poems. Laughter and happy chatter filled the air, and as the evening progressed and the time of the demasking drew nearer, more and more people focussed on finding out who was who behind the masks. But in most cases it was hard to guess, as all the masks were done very well.

When the demasking was announced, people crowded around the Ball-rock, vieing with each other for a good view. The first hobbit to present himself for guessing was none other than Master Peppy, who had entertained the crowd with a most humorous song earlier. He was guessed by many hobbits, although there were some wrong guesses as well. Master Jiro, who had come as Master Simbo, had some people fooled, but was spotted by most. Perhaps it was the flowers he claimed he had forgotten at home, which would never have happened to our Master Simbo. Miss Yllisa had done a very good impression of Tibba, and had managed to fool most people. Master Simbo had given himself away by reciting a lovely poem earlier, so his name was shouted by most when he stood in front of the rock. Others were harder to guess, but it was grand entertainment in any case, and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly as they shouted the name of the hobbit they thought was under the mask, or in some cases any name they could think of in growing desperation. Miss Lina was revealed, and Miss Bootsy, and many others. Miss Cloves' name was often heard shouted during the guessing, but it always turned out to be someone else. Master Bovso had tried to fool everyone by dressing up as a lass, but he was guessed by several of his friends anyway. And so the evening wore on with hobbits merrily shouting names, and cheering loudly as masks were taken off and their friends were revealed. After all masks had been taken off, and the excitement of seeing who had been behind them had died down a bit, Miss Amorey (who had impressed everyone by coming as a graceful elven lady, and even speaking Elvish too!), Master Peppy and Master Simbo stepped forward and played the beautiful song Alegria. That was followed by a Pie Song made in honour of Master Simbo, which had everyone scrambling for the remaining pies, and after that song came other tunes, and merriment continued until very late in the evening. When it was finally time to go home, all were in agreement that the ball had been a grand event, and Miss Amorey was complimented many times for coming up with the idea. And we too would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to Miss Amorey and Master Peppy for organising the ball, and to all the hobbits who participated for all their creativity. You made it an evening to remember!