The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 6 January 2002
  • Updates planned: 2

Little Folk

A name among Men for the Hobbits

A term for the small race of people more commonly known as Hobbits, especially used by the taller Men (who were in turn referred to as the Big Folk).

The origins of the Little Folk are mysterious. They were evidently an ancient branch of the human race, but they developed in the mysterious east of Middle-earth, and how they came by their small stature and peculiar habits is unknown. By the time they entered history, in the year 1050 of the Third Age, they had already broken into three distinct groups, the Harfoots, the Fallohides and the Stoors.

Over the next two thousand years, the Little Folk spread slowly across the Western lands. By III 1601, they had acquired a land for themselves, that they called the Shire. Despite many hardships, the Shire would survive until the time of the War of the Ring and beyond. Though their land did not survive to our own time, Tolkien's words in the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings suggest that the Little Folk themselves are not extinct, but continue a secret, hidden existence alongside us, the bumbling Big Folk.

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