The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
The Hobbits are the shortest of the Free Peoples. They are a simple race of unclear origin, divided into Stoor, Harfoot, and Fallohide subgroups. It appears they arose in the East in the First Age, at about the same time as Men. Indeed, they are said to be related to Men. Their habits, however, are unique: they burrow and dig and reside in “holes”; thus their name Kuduk, which means “hole-dweller” (from the ancient Rhovanion Hobbitish kûd-dûkan).
The Hobbits appear to be laughably small — 2’ to 4’ in height — tillers of the soil, a comfort-loving race overly fond of food, drink, fellowship and gossip, as unheroic as could be. Their dress and manners are simple, occasionally colorful, mimicking those of the Cardolandrim commoners and Bree-landers whose lands they have shared in recent years. Hobbits are polite to Men; they know how helpless they appear to the Tall-folk, and can judge how helpless they would be if real trouble broke out.
Hobbits are, by nature, cheery, conservative, unassuming, and peaceful folk. Ambition is not part of their makeup. Most are conformists who avoid the unknown and shun adventure, preferring instead to stay within the comforts of neat, humble villages. Hobbits are, by their very nature, reclusive stay-at-homes, intensely loyal to their families, and naturally peaceful. These are all good traits for a small race in a world of large dangers, and they also suggest that the Hobbits’ alliance with the quiet philosophers of the Arthadan court is not so bizarre as it might seem at first.
Most of the Hobbits’ day-to-day culture is drawn directly from the Cardolandrim they first met when they moved to Eriador. They have learned the civilized trades, keep the old religious festivals, and herd most of the domestic animals common to Eriador. While picking up quickly on the use of plows and oxen, wheels and mills, Hobbits on the whole distrust and dislike machines and the steel weapons of their Dúnedain overlords. They have shown, however, that they are quick learners, and their new lands in the Shire are already beginning to bloom.