Longstriding is a peculiar condition, named after halfling folk hero Mian Longfellow, known to overtake young hobbits with the curious (and most unhobbit-like) desire to wander far from home, seeking such unnatural things as adventures. It is occasionally accompanied by a desire to see far-off lands and/or the acquisition of a sword of some sort.

. It is known that some younger hobbits may be possessed with the sudden idea to go off and have "adventures", much to the dismay of their family and often the family of their friends, neighbours or the relations of any other halflings unfortunate enough to be drawn into this desire. It seems that one hobbit possessed of such an idea can quite easily spread it to a few close friends or relations, seemingly by accident. The cause of this hobbit habit, called "Longstriding" by some (in reference to the famous halfling Mian Longfellow/-strider), is not known. Some claim that the inclusion of fey or elven blood somewhere along the family tree is to blame. Others will quickly point to too much of the wrong sort of stories, and note that good hobbit stories are the best stories for young'uns. The last party blames the influence of the Big Folk, especially wizards, elves, the Black Butterfly Rovers and any other unfortunate travelling sorts that may be in proximity.

Regardless of cause, Longstriding manifests as the idea that there are more interesting things to do out in the "wide world" than in a shire, and that wholesome occupations like farming tatters or mending watches are naught but boring chores. Those afflicted with Longstriding desires may dig swords out of old trunks, spend long hours poring over maps and dusty books of tales, begin to write journals or any other number of travelling related pastimes. This eventually culminates in the young
hobbit leaving the Shire with it in mind to go find an "adventure".

For most, this period will last no more than a week as the young
hobbit soon realizes that living out in the wild or on the roads without a proper bed and less than four solid meals a day (to say nothing of a shortage of pipeweed or good home-cooked food) is not a particularly desirable state and they soon find their way home.

Others will stay away for weeks, months and even years at a stretch. The eventual return of these individuals is looked upon with suspicion. In one case, a
hobbit returned from a particularly long spell of Longstriding only to find that his relatives had declared him dead and begun to move into his house!. Return to the top

Prevalence. Longstriding is a phenomenon only known among hobbits, and young ones at that. Between the ages of about 28 and 32 is the typical age for hobbits to begin to exhibit the desire to go a-Longstriding and it is at this point that most will return. Those who exhibit Longstriding after they come of age are most often the sort to stay away longer. It is a curious fact that hobbit lasses are less prone to succumb to Longstriding than lads, though it is not unheard of.
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Explanations. There are no official explanations for why one hobbit may go Longstriding while others are perfectly content. Some note that it is typical among certain families and suggest that there is something inherently "queer" or "odd" about them. The suggestion that one of the family had a touch of fey blood in the past is not an uncommon one.
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Treatments/Cures/Consequences. Suggestions of a halfling simply needing to find a girl and settle down are not uncommon when the first signs of Longstriding appear. Likewise, the suggestion that they simply need to work out whatever strange urge it is to see things is often met with the comment that a few days of "cold and wet and bad food will set them right".

There is some suspicion that home-grown food may be a sanative when dealing with Longstriding. Some suggest that a diet consisting exclusively of shire-grown and bred food may well be able to cure a bout of Longstriding, though there is no proof of this.
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Myth/Lore. The most famous case of Longstriding is doubtless the halfling that gave it the name. Mian Longfellow (known by various other names), though such characters as Boe Starlinggale and even the noted researcher Lumbe Bloggson have been marked as acute cases of Longstriding.
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Researchers. Noted eccentric, researcher and compendiumist Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang is credited with the collection of information about Longstriding as is the hobbit researcher Lumbe Bloggson. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 13th Singing Bird 1671 a.S.

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