There are a couple of reasons why I???ve decided to break our rule and write about the contract. First, it seems fairly clear (to me, anyway) that Tolkien wrote the Shire (where hobbits live) as a close analog to pastoral England, with its similar legal and political structures. For example, the Shire has a mayor and sheriffs, and there is a system of inheritance similar to the common law. The common law fundamentals of contract law have not changed significantly since the time that the Shire is meant to evoke, so it makes sense that the contract would be broadly similar to a modern contract (and likewise that we could apply modern contract law to it). Second, reading the contract it seems likely that a lawyer (or at least someone who had read a lot of contracts or did some research) had a hand in writing it. We will not have to struggle to find legal issues to discuss here; they pretty well leap off the page.