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A Not-So-Simple Misunderstanding  by Dreamflower

†A collaborative story written for Week Five of the 2010 Back to Middle-earth Month Challenge.)

Challenge: Your character finds something that she or he wants. Now create a scene in which your character attempts to make an exchange or purchase in order to acquire that item.
Challenge: Create a story, poem, or artwork in which a character is stuck in a location for an extended period of time. How does she or he cope with it?
Challenge: Do you often regret what you've done? Write a story, poem or create an artwork where characters express regret or lack of it for their past actions.

A Not-So-Simple Misunderstanding

(In this story, Pippin is about 19, which in terms of maturity for a hobbit-lad, physically and emotionally, would be about the same as a Man-child of about 12 and a half.)

Part 1, by Dreamflower of the Esmeralda Team:

Pippin sighed and prowled about his room. How unfair it was of Father to take his fiddle away, so that he could not play it while he was in here today! He averted his eyes from the paper, ink and quill on his desk, and flopped unhappily on his bed instead. What a day!

He could not come out of his room until he had written his essay on the importance of thinking about the consequences of one's actions before taking them. Four pages, Father had said, in his best handwriting and no blots.

Four pages. He sighed and flopped over on his stomach, and began kicking the footboard rhythmically. Kick, kick, kick. Stop. Kick-kick. Stop. Kick, kick, kick. Stop. Hmm...that had the beat of the Pincup jig...kick, kick, kick. There was a knock on the door, and he stopped kicking and attempted to dash to his desk. Unfortuanately, he caught his foot in his coverlet, and landed unceremoniously on his floor, as his sister Pearl stuck her head in the door.

He blushed.

"Pippin, you need to stop playing about and get on with your punishment. What if it had been Father passing by instead?"

He heaved a sigh.

"You know that Father is right, don't you?"

"I suppose." He hung his head. "I didn't mean any harm, Pearl, really! I wouldn't have been unfair for anything, honest!"

Pearl gave a quick glance behind her, and then stepped into his room and shut the door. She sat down on his bed, and reached a hand down and pulled him up to sit beside her. "Pip, first of all, the mathom you found was not really yours to begin with. And second of all, you should never have offered to trade something with one of the servants. It really isn't fair, for a servant will feel he cannot say 'no'. Diccon was really very fond of the hurdy-gurdy his uncle had given him, and it hurt him to give it up."

"But Pearl, if I'd known that, I wouldn't have insisted. I thought he didn't mind. And he seemed to like that lovely box I found with all the carving."

"And it was the box that nearly got him into trouble with Mistress Appleblossom. She knew the box was something that belonged to the Took family, and nearly accused Diccon of theft. And then when it came out that he had traded with you, that the box was more valuable than the hurdy-gurdy-- which made it seem he'd taken advanatage of you."

"But it was my idea, Pearl!"

"Precisely!" She gave him a hug. "It was good that you made her understand that, or Diccon could have lost his position."

"I wouldn't have wanted that to happen! He's a great groom and so good with the ponies!"

"I know, Pippin. But that is why you are being punished. Now I must go; get busy with your writing-- have a little of it done to show me when I bring your luncheon to you later on."

She left, shutting the door firmly behind her. Pippin reluctantly ambled over to his desk and flopped down in his chair with another sigh. He regretted ever laying eyes on Diccon's hurdy-gurdy...

Part 2, by Larner of the Handy Team:

Pippin watched after his sister, and sighed as the door closed behind her. Then he grumbled, "But why do we have to stay here all winter? I'd much rather be home on the farm than here at the Great Smials! It's boring here, and Cousin Ferumbras doesn't like me at all, and I miss my cat and the sheep and...."

He laid himself down on the bed once more, working himself up to a good cry, had he admitted it to himself. That was a good part of why he couldn't seem to do
anything right, he knew, being unable to spend a good part of the day out in the sunshine playing in the fields or running with the sheepdogs or swinging a scythe alongside his father and the hired hobbits during haying and the like.

Certainly the lads who'd grown up in the Smials seemed to look down on him a lot of the time, snickering behind their hands when he wore the wrong colors for the day or when his waistcoat wasn't properly buttoned, or when they saw him out working alongside the groundskeepers at pulling out dead flowers out of sheer boredom.

"If it weren't for my music, I'd probably have no friends at all," he muttered to himself. "They know I'm rotten at roopee--not that the weather's right for it while we're here anyway; they know I could care less who has the newest and most expensive waistcoat or which one's mum makes the best cheesecake. And everyone knows the only reason they all seem to make so much cheesecake is just to please Cousin Ferumbras, who dotes on it; they're all trying to curry his favor by sending him pieces of it!

"And not one of the Took lads here knows as much about the stars as I do, or understands that when the birds are flying low it means a storm is coming. And I'm always getting in trouble because I find the servant lads more interesting than my Took cousins! Diccon has three times the sense of Dodiras!"

Oh, dear--perhaps he ought not to have thought about Diccon, as it brought him back to the reason as to why he was stuck here in his room to begin with!

† Part 3, by Pearl Took of the Esmeralda team:

Pippin went back to his desk, pulled over the horrid blank pages, dipped his pen and began.

The Importance
of Thinking About the Consiquences
of One's Actions
Before Taking Them
Firstly, it is terribly hard to think well when one is bored.

I am bored.
Very bored.
Most extremely bored.

I will be bored all winter because we are here all winter and not at home where there is always something to do even it if is chores.

Pippin stopped to dip his pen thinking it was a shame he couldnít just keep on listing things as a list filled pages quicker.

When one is bored one gets desparate, and desparate hobbits do odd things that they might not otherwise do,and they do them without giving them much thought or worrying much about the consiquences of the odd desparate things they then do.

That all sounded good! Although Pip wasnít sure if he had spelt Ďdesparateí correctly. That nearly had his first page filled; he was writing somewhat larger than usual.

Also, it isnít always easy to think a thing through to a horrible ending when one thinks the idea is a fine and happy one to begin with.

Wonderful! Next page.

Mathoms are mathoms because nobody really wanted them, at some point in time, so then they end up put into mathom rooms (so called because they are full of the stuff no one wants which we call mathoms). They are in those rooms so that someone who is needing something no one seems to want can get it and use it to give away or swap with.I am not sure I would have done anything differently even if I had thought about what I was doing because, after all, that wasnít anyone in particulurís mathom room, it was just a regular, full of old dusty stuff mathom room and there really shouldnít have been any reason that I couldnít use something out of it. It is a Took mathom room in the Took anscesteral home and Iím a Took.

Marvelous! Only two more pages to go.

I am not a grownup Took and I reckon that must be what caused all of this problem. I guess a grownup Took would have known that, even though that box was in a regular mathom room, that a box with pretty carving on it was something too special to use as a mathom - even though it was in a mathom room.

Also, I have been told that one shouldnít do trades with a servant. Iíve done trades with the farm handís sons at home, but the stupid old Smials is not like wonderful home. Thereís all sorts of stupid rules and dumb ways of doing things here. So even if Iíd thought ahead I do not think I would have realized that I was being mean to Diccon or that he would feel like he had no choice as Iím used to lads having a choice in whether or not they make a trade.

Pippin took a deep breath and let it out with a whoosh. One more page and he would be finished! He would be able to leave his room and at least he could go be bored in the library, which was one of his favorite places to hide.

Iím sorry I didnít think all of this through before I took a mathom from a Took mathom room and did a swap with a lad nearly my own age who I am friends with. Iím sorry I didnít think that Diccon was really attached to his hurdy-gurdy - although I think that was the only part of this I might have realized had I thought ahead because he does play it often, so I should have known that he likes it a lot.

Pippin paused, taking the time to do some of the thinking he was writing about. He wrote more slowly now. His letters grew smaller as he now felt he was running out of room on the page.

I am sorry, Da, that I am bored here. I know you have to be here all winter for some reason that I donít understand because Iím a lad. I shouldnít do things that make it harder for you to be here, things like swapping the box with Diccon for his hurdy-gurdy. Things that get the other adults upset with you just because Iím youíre son. Iím glad Iím your son and I donít want you to not be glad Iím your son just because I donít think well when Iím bored. I hope you will forgive me.

Peregrin Took

He was making the Ďkí on ĎTookí when Pearl knocked on his door then came in with his lunch tray.

†(Part 4, by Celeritas of the Handy team)

As Pippin dolefully dug into his food (taking food in his room inevitably reminded him of being sick and so took some of the joy out of every meal), Pearl glanced at the essay he had written. "May I read it?" she said.

Pippin nodded, and tried not to let his thoughts fill with dreams of milk fresh from the cow and the steaming bread and hearty stews of the farm. It wasn't so terrible here at lunch, true, but for breakfast...

"Tut, tut," said Pearl.

"What? It's finished, isn't it?"

"Pippin, you write like a rainstorm, not a river."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

She pointed at the last few paragraphs, the ones where his writing had gotten small. "You only got to the point here, Pip. You're supposed to get to the point here," she said, gesturing to the first paragraph, "or here if you're very lucky," gesturing to the second.

"Well, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm bored."

"I didn't say Da wouldn't accept it. He does know you're sorry. Only--"

"Only I have to be made an example of here, I know, so no one thinks anyone's playing favourites..."


Pippin sighed.

"It'll be fine. In fact," she added, looking over the essay again, "I have a grand idea that I think will help. Do you mind if I talk to Da?"

"What is it?" said Pippin, slowly. He still remembered some of Pearl's other "grand ideas" and he did not know whether this was actually a good one in the long run.

"Peregrin," said Pearl, in her snobbiest voice, "clearly still has no idea of how to function in a Proper Society. And until he learns, he ought not to be at the Great Smials."

"Really? Could I go home, then?"

"He must learn," continued Pearl, "proper decorum. Preferably," she added, going down to a whisper, "with an older, respectable cousin."

Pippin's eyes widened.

"I can't guarantee anything, but I'll let Mum and Da know the idea, at least."

†Part 5 by Dreamflower of the Esmeralda team:

Pearl had taken his essay away to give to Father, and now he was really bored. With the essay finished he didn't have anything to do! He wadded up one of the peices of paper that he had blotted, and began to toss it from hand to hand. Then he looked at his wastebasket and tossed it in with a flip.

That was too easy. He moved the wastebasket across the room, and then tried again. Still too easy... maybe if he put it on the other side of the bed...or...

Several throws later, he had put the wastebasket on top of the desk, while he stood on his bed, and was getting ready to try tossing it backwards over his shoulder. Surely he'd miss this time...


Down he flopped. It wasn't Pearl this time, it was Pimpernel. He sighed.

So did his sister. Then she shook her head. "Father and Mother want to see you now, Pip."

At last! At last he'd get out of this room, though he wasn't sure what his parents were going to say. Pearl had not explained her idea, but he had a hunch as to what it might have been. He hoped that was it. And he hoped that his parents would listen to her.

Paladine and Eglantine were on the settee in the parlour of their guest quarters, and Eglantine gestured for him to come sit between them.

Pimpernel backed out and closed the door, though her face clearly indicated she'd rather stay and hear what was said.

Pippin glanced over at his father who was holding the essay in one hand, and tapping it lightly against the other.


Uh-oh. Surely he was in trouble now.

"while this is not exactly what I expected in your essay, you were certainly...eloquent."

His father looked at his mother, and they exchanged one of those looks that Pippin never quite understood. Sometimes it seemed they had whole conversations with their eyes-- and this one was surely about him. Anyway, eloquent was good. He knew that word-- it was one of Frodo's favorite words. Perhaps he wasn't in as much trouble as he thought.

"Pearl has suggested that perhaps the Great Smials is not a good environment for you right now," said his mother.

"Pearl doesn't like it here either," answered Pippin. One good turn deserved another; maybe he could get her out of here too! She hadn't liked it here ever since...well...his mind shied away. He really didn't like to think about that terrible time a few years ago, when Pearl had been so sad about old Lalia's accident...

His mother smiled and hugged his shoulders. "Don't worry about Pearl, Pippin. It's you we have to discuss."

"At any rate," added his father, "your mother and I have discussed it, and have decided that if he will have you, we will see if Cousin Frodo is up to a visit from you." Paladin held a hand up, forestalling Pippin's whoop of joy before it started. "But only on two conditions! First of all, now that you've had time to think about why it was wrong, you will need to apologise to Diccon."

Pippin nodded vigorously. He had already planned to do so; he liked Diccon, and wanted to make things right between them.

"And secondly, Peregrin, until we hear back from Frodo, you are to be on your absolute best behaviour."

"Oh, oh Father! I will! I will!" He gave Paladin an enthusiastic embrace and then turned to do the same for his mother, who laughed and squeezed him back and then ruffled his hair.

Oh joy! He'd get to go to Bag End! For he'd no doubt at all that Frodo would say yes!

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