A Thief in the Night
Chapter Information
Title A Thief in the Night
Number 16
Location Dale, Lonely Mountain
Characters Bilbo Baggins
Previous The Gathering of the Clouds
Next The Clouds Burst

A Thief in the Night is the sixteenth chapter of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit.


Hoping to avoid war, Bilbo secretly takes the Arkenstone to the camp of the Elves and Men, and gives it to Bard and Thranduil to help with negotiations. Before leaving the camp to return to the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo finds that Gandalf has returned.


In the mountain, Thorin desperately searches for the Arkenstone, while the rest of the dwarves worry about the army camped on their doorstep. Bilbo decides to take matters into his own hands, and with the help of the ring, he sneaks out of the mountain in the middle of the night and into the camp of the lake men and the wood elves, where is brought before the leaders, Bard and the Elvenking. They are suspicious of him, but they relax when Bilbo reveals his secret weapon: the Arkenstone. He gives it freely to Bard to use as a bargaining chip against Thorin. Bard and the Elvenking are amazed that he would risk inciting the anger of the dwarves in order to prevent a war. They ask him to stay in the camp for his own safety, but Bilbo insists on returning to the mountain. On his way back, he runs into Gandalf, who commends him for his bravery. With his hope restored, Bilbo returns to the mountain unnoticed.


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