Gollum learned to train crows in the mountains as an act of desperation and hope. It was done in an effort to have minions who could scour the land in hopes of catching sight of his golden ring, “Precious.” He carefully climbed trees and absconded with young crow hatchlings, then fed them with insects and minnows found swimming in the cave ponds. With great care and consistency, he taught them not only to search but to speak. This way, if they found “Precious” they would be able to tell Gollum where it was.
When his dozen crows were fully trained, he sent them each in another direction in a daisy fashion, where his cave was the center and each petal radiated out. He sat and waited, which was nothing new for Gollum, as he’d been in his cave for a thousand years before Bilbo Baggins stumbled into it.
Three months after being set out, one of his favorite crows, Binky, landed on the rock outside and began yelling ,“Precious in the lake! Precious in the lake!” Gollum was laughing and jumping up and down. He would finally be reunited with his Precious! Packing a knapsack, soon they were off, Binky flying and Gollum following from below.
Down down down the mountain they went, Gollum trying not to stumble along the way, as the way the crow flies is much quicker than how a Gollum travels. Finally he hit flat land and Gollum loped along until he almost fell into the water of a lake. Binky squawked again, “Precious in the lake! Precious in the lake!”
Gollum looked over what was more a duckweed-coated swamp than a lake and plunged in. Over the centuries, Gollum’s eyes had adapted to seeing in almost pitch dark, regardless of whether he was in or out of the water. He swam with ease among the lily lines, frogs, turtles, and minnows, scouring the floor all the while. Suddenly he spied something shining on the floor in the distance. His webbed feet undulated as he raced through the water to where it lie.
Gollum discovered not his Precious but a golden tooth, still embedded in the jaw of a skull. The rest of the skeleton lay on the floor of the lake as if simply resting. An arrow bobbed slowly in the ribcage of the deceased. Gollum kicked his way to the surface, pried-out tooth in his hand. It wasn’t Precious, but it was pretty. Binky squawked, “Precious!”
The search continued…
Sadje is the host of What do you see?
My story gives a nod to JRR Tolkien books that include Gollum and The Ring.