On Patience and Names
… Who calls you hobbits, though? That does not sound Elvish to me. Elves made all the old words: they began it.’
‘Nobody else calls us hobbits; we call ourselves that,’ said Pippin.
‘Hoom, hmm! Come now! Not so hasty! You call yourselves hobbits? But you should not go telling just anybody. You’ll be letting out your own right names if you’re not careful.’
‘We aren’t careful about that,’ said Merry. ‘As a matter of fact I’m a Brandybuck, Meriadoc Brandybuck, though most people call me just Merry.’ ‘And I’m a Took, Peregrin Took, but I’m generally called Pippin, or even Pip.’
‘Hm, but you are hasty folk, I see,’ said Treebeard. ‘I am honoured by your confidence; but you should not be too free all at once. There are Ents and Ents, you know; or there are Ents and things that look like Ents but ain’t, as you might say. I’ll call you Merry and Pippin, if you please – nice names. For I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.’ A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. ‘For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.
‘But now,’ and the eyes became very bright and ‘present’, seeming to grow smaller and almost sharp, ‘what is going on? What are you doing in it all? I can see and hear (and smell and feel) a great deal from this …. What is going on? What is Gandalf up to? … I like news. But not too quick now.’
… From The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien