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“What is it, Frodo?” Merry asked in puzzlement, stooping down to examine the dusting on the ground.
“It’s snow, Merry,” Frodo said. “Like rain, only colder.”
Merry stood back up and yanked off a mitten. “It’s not like rain, Frodo,” he said with six-year-old seriousness after several flakes had fallen onto his outstretched palm. “It’s like, it’s --” He screwed up his face in thought and stuck out his tongue.
“It’s like little bits of cloud that have been shaved off,” he announced after catching a flake on his tongue.
Frodo laughed in delight. “That it is,” he said.
“Too cold to rain?” Marigold asked, poking around the door to examine the strange, white world.
“And too cold to go outside!” May said, tucking her feet underneath her legs in her chair.
Sam extended his hand. “Come on, Marigold, it won’t hurt you,” he encouraged, and started to step outside.
She took his hand, but whispered, “No, Sammie, no, we’ll ruin it, and it won’t be new.”
“Then we’ll just look,” Sam whispered back, so they stood in the doorway and marveled.
Over tea and mushroom soup, Bilbo told Frodo of the exodus of the High Elves from Valinor over the Grinding Ice and thus to Middle-earth, and as the wind rattled the round windows of Bag End, Frodo saw fair faces touched by bitter cold, and immortal bodies struggling over a vast white landscape, their will set to their task.
“Frodo, it snowed!” Merry yelled, as if the snowball had not been enough of an announcement.
“So it did,” Frodo said. “We should wake Pippin -- I don’t think he’s ever seen snow before.”
“He won’t know what to think!” Merry said, thrilled. “We shall have to teach him everything. There’s snowhobbits, and sledging, and --”
A snowball caught Merry right in his mouth. “Snowballs,” Frodo finished.
From on top the hill, Pippin squealed, “It’s snow, isn’t it? I’ve discovered snow!”
“And all its uses,” Frodo called back.
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