Therefore at last the Council was again summoned and the lore of the Rings was much debated; but Mithrandir spoke to the Council, saying:
‘It is not needed that the Ring should be found, for while it abides on earth and is not unmade, still the power that holds it will live, and Sauron will grow and have hope. The might of the Elves and the Elf-friends is less now than of old. Soon he will be too strong for you, even without the Great Ring; for he rules the Nine, and of the Seven he has recovered three. We must strike.’
To this Curunir now assented, desiring that Sauron should be thrust from Dol Guldor. Therefore, for the last time, he aided the Council, and they put forth their strength; and they assailed Dol Guldor, and drove Sauron from his hold.
J. R. R. Tolkein ~ The Silmarillion
Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond were relaxing one evening at Rivendell. Elrond poured himself another glass of wine.
“Sauron is vanquished for the time being,” he said, “but I look for him to return. His defeat is but a feint; he will lie dormant while he builds his strength.”
Gandalf had been wandering in and out of a light sleep. At Elrond’s words, he sat up and sputtered.
“What!” he said. “Did you say Sauron was a doormat?”
Galadriel laughed while Elrond rolled his eyes.
“Dormant! Dormant!” he said. “Why on Middle-earth would Sauron turn into a doormat?”
“I don’t know. If he is really lying dormant, then he might well just do it as a doormat. Who would suspect? Even now he could be lying there at the entrance to Barad-Dûr with “WELCOME” written on him in bold letters.”
Galadriel shook her head.
“I disagree,” she said. “Sauron is not the kind of guy who allows people to walk all over him. He’s not the rug-rat type.”
“I thought rug-rat was slang for child,” interrupted Gandalf.
“It is,” said Elrond. “That is what Galadriel is saying—one just cannot picture Sauron as a little kid.”
“Wait! I thought we were talking about doormats, not rug-rats.”
“We are,” said Elrond. “Galadriel just made a little joke.”
“As I was saying,” said Gandalf. “I think that Sauron would go to any length to regain his power, even to the point of being a dormant doormat.”
“So what do you suggest we do?” asked Elrond. “We can’t very well go around inspecting all the doormats in Middle-earth.”
“We don’t have to,” said Gandalf. “I’ll tell you what we will do. We will hold a contest for the cleanest rug in the land. We’ll hold competitions in every village and hamlet; the winners will advance to the semi-finals and eventually the finals. The grand prize will be a free week’s vacation in Rivendell. If Sauron is hiding as a doormat, we will beat it out of him. What do you say?”
Galadriel and Elrond looked at each other and then at Gandalf.
“We love it!”