Dear MR BAGGINS, Fellow Conspirator,
I am Thorin Oakenshield, descendant of Thrain the Old and grandson of Thror who was King under the Mountain. I am writing you to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy and devices for rescuing our treasure from the dragon Smaug.
During the reign of Thror our kingdom was a prosperous one. Kings used to send for our smiths, and reward even the least skillful most richly. Fathers would beg us to take their sons as apprentices, and pay us handsomely, especially in food-supplies, which we never bothered to grow or find for ourselves. Altogether those were good days for us, and the poorest of us had money to spend and to lend, and leisure to make beautiful things just for the fun of it, not to speak of the most marvellous and magical toys, the like of which is not to be found in the world now-a-days.
Undoubtedly that was what brought the dragon. Dragons steal gold and jewels from men and elves and dwarves, wherever they can find them; and they guard their plunder as long as they live (which is practically for ever, unless they are killed), and never enjoy a brass ring of it. There was a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm called Smaug. One day he flew up into the air and came south. The dragon settled on our mountain in a spout of flame and routed out all the halls, and lanes, and tunnels, alleys, cellars, mansions and passages. After there were no dwarves left alive inside the mountain he took all their wealth for himself.
In view of this, I received your contact through a friend and counselor, an ingenious wizard, who noted you as a Burglar who wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward. And I and my twelve companions have agreed to give you 10% of the total gold and jewels that the dragon Smaug now rests upon if you can join us on our long journey. When you have agreed please tell us the place where you dwell and send one hundred pence so that we might travel to you.
Please hold what I have told you in strict confidence and I look forward to your earliest response.