The Hobbit: Chapter 16 Summary: A Thief in the Night

Thorin speaks openly of the Arkenstone and says he “will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.” Bilbo become afraid it will be found in his things, but he does not say anything as a plan begins to form in his mind. Roäc tells them that Dain is two days march away, but that it is doubtful he can overcome the host that is about the mountain. He tells them the gold will be their death. Thorin is unconvinced to parley and says that winter will be hard on his foes as well. Then Bilbo makes up his mind to enact his plan (279–280).

Bilbo goes to the wall and “relieves” Bombur from watching, telling him he will wake him at midnight. Then Bilbo climbs down the wall with a rope and makes the long journey down the path and across the stream. He slips in the stream and elves come up. He slips off his ring and allows himself to be caught. Despite their questions, Bilbo demands to see Bard and the elven king, and he tells them to hurry as he only has an hour or two to spare (280–282). 

Bilbo tells Bard and the elven king that he is trying to avoid trouble and tells them of Dain’s approach and his willingness to settle the matter with his own share if possible. Then he shows them the Arkenstone. And then he gives it to Bard without hesitation, telling him it may aid in his bargaining. He then returns to the mountain, but not before meeting Gandalf who is as mysterious as ever about news that the ravens have not even heard yet. He gets back in time to wake Bombur and then goes to sleep (282–285). 

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