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Extant at the end of the Third Age
Ponies (a small breed of horse)
Raised by the Shire-hobbits
Eventually stabled in Bree
'Foolish one'1


About this entry:

  • Updated 27 April 2023
  • This entry is complete


One of the Travellers' ponies

One of five ponies owned by Meriadoc Brandybuck, used by Merry and his companions in their journey out of the Shire. When the Hobbits became lost among the Barrow-downs, the ponies fled to safety at the house of Tom Bombadil, where each acquired a new name from Tom. 'Bumpkin' was one of these2 (if the ponies had any names before this, they are not recorded).

After Tom had rescued them from their troubles among the Barrows, the Hobbits took Bumpkin and the other ponies on to Bree. Overnight, their stable was attacked and the ponies scattered. The Hobbits thought them lost, but eventually - long after Merry and the others had left Bree - they found their way back into the hands of Barliman Butterbur of the Prancing Pony inn.



Actually, the word 'bumpkin' has a rather denser meaning than simply 'foolish'; it refers more specifically to an ignorant or unsophisticated person, especially someone from the countryside. It is hard to say which of these qualities, if any, applied to the pony named 'Bumpkin'. The name appeared in one of Tom Bombadil's nonsensical songs, and was doubtless influenced by Tom's need to find a rhyme for his own pony's name, 'Fatty Lumpkin'.


Tom gave each of the other four ponies a name that matched some individual quality: Sharp-ears, Swish-tail, White-socks and Wise-nose. Bumpkin's name breaks that pattern, apparently (as observed in note 1 above) to form a rhyme with the name of Tom's own pony, Fatty Lumpkin.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 27 April 2023
  • This entry is complete

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