Everyone has his or her idea of the perfect hole: maybe it’s a nice round entry door, a big kitchen or two, or a lower back room with some casks of ale – not to mention a few bedrooms, pantries, and plenty of space for mathom storage.
But as it turns out, hobbits just coming of age are quickly discovering that the number of cozy holes on the market has decreased significantly compared to previous generations. Older holes, which tend to be larger and more spacious than newer delvings, are increasingly occupied by couples whose children have moved out, or even live-alones who never bothered to marry!
“I don’t know what he needs with all that space to hisself,” said Rubella Borelack, referring to a well-known elderly bachelor who occupies the largest burrow in the farthing. “Must be nice to be so rich you can take up all that space and never need to share it. I heard his money comes from some sketchy business with dwarves,” Borelack added.
The current generation of hobbits in their early-to-mid 30s are finding that the dreams of luxurious dens are no longer realities. Instead of comfy holes that feel like home, they’re having to make do with much smaller digs.
As if the dearth of homey holes wasn’t enough, some excavators are taking advantage of the increased market demand to engage in a controversial practice that has come to be known as “shortholing.” This is where, instead of the traditional practice of extending a hole deep into a hill, with rooms branching off to the side, the entire hole is contained in a tightly knit clump of rooms near the hill’s surface.
“They have no sense of depth,” said Borlack. “The bedrooms are right up front – near the door! And you can forget about a proper larder.”
Still, many younger hobbits are embracing the reality of living in smaller holes than preceding generations. In some areas of the Southfarthing, a “tiny holes” movement has led to a boom in space-saving excavations.
“We don’t need the extravagant caverns of our parents and grandparents,” said Murdoc Littleden, a spokesperson for the Tiny Hole Committee. “The whole mathom thing has become overblown, and let’s face it, we could all stand to keep less food on hand. Cutting back can be enlightening.”
On the whole, however, such attitudes are pretty foreign. Most of those looking for places to live still want a nice, comfortable hole with plenty of space to stretch out and invite some friends over for a meal or three. Whether some hobbits just coming of age will be able to find what they are looking for remains to be seen.