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Title: A Sticky Situation
Theme: Set #1, Theme #4, “Hair”
Genre (s): Fluff
Summary: Pippin’s got a little problem...
A STICKY SITUATION
“OOooww! Merr-ry!” Pippin’s howls drew Frodo’s attention from the accounts he was copying for Bilbo.
He stuck his head out the window. “Merry, what on earth are you doing to that lad?” For they were on the bench beneath the window, and apparently Merry seemed to be yanking on Pippin’s hair.
Merry looked up. “Look what he’s done to his hair, Frodo!”
Pippin stood up on top of the bench, and stuck his little head in the window. Right at the crown of his head, his hair was a stiffened dark mass, with twigs and bits of bark sticking out of it. Frodo put his hand out, and it came away sticky. “What is it?”
“He’s got tree sap in his hair! I was trying to get some of the sticks and bark out, so maybe I could comb it out.”
“I don’t think you’ll be able to, Merry!”
“But we’ve got to! Aunt Tina’s coming to pick him up this afternoon, and if she sees him like this, she’ll never let him visit by himself again!”
“I see your point. Well, we can’t wait for Uncle Bilbo to get back from shopping, for there won’t be enough time before she gets here.” He shook his head at Pippin. “However did you *do* that, Pippin?” he asked in bemusement.
“I don’t know,” the little one said sullenly. He really didn’t know what the fuss was all about. “Why don’t you just cut it off?” That was what Pearl had done last year when he got the toffees stuck in his foot hair.
“No!” shouted both his older cousins together. They could just imagine Eglantine Took’s reaction to that!
Pippin looked hurt. “It was just an idea. You don’t need to shout at me,” he said, sniffling.
“Don’t cry, Pip! I’m sorry!” said Merry contritely. “But you know your mother would hate it if we cut your hair!”
“I suppose.” Merry was probably right. His mother was always going on to folks about his “beautiful chestnut curls”.
“I’m coming out,” said Frodo, withdrawing his head from the window, and reappearing a few moments later at the door. He sighed. It was true that he enjoyed having his cousins visit at Bag End. But Merry never got into the kinds of predicaments that seemed second nature to Pippin. As much as he dearly loved the little lad, that Took had a talent for trouble.
Merry was once more trying to pick out the twigs stuck to his younger cousin’s head. Pippin squirmed and flinched, but did not yell again, now that he already had Frodo’s attention.
“Give over, Merry, it’s not going to work.”
“What’ll we do?” Merry was almost whining. He knew who would bear the blame, if Eglantine got a look at that.
Frodo put a finger to his pursed lips, and thought briefly. “Come on.”
“Where’re we going?” asked Pippin.
“The Gaffer will know how to get it out, I’m sure. Gardeners must get into sap all the time.” He took Pippin’s hand, and led them to the back of the smial, where they found the Gaffer and Sam mulching the newly planted vegetable beds.
Frodo presented the gardener with the problem. He suppressed a smile, and shook his head. “Aye, Mr. Frodo, I know what to do. Sammy, take them to the toolshed and get them some of that soap we use. Help ‘em get that off ‘n the lad.”
Sam did not even try to hide his grin. He had found Master Pippin’s visit this year highly amusing. Things were never boring with that one around. “Yes, sir.”
He led them to the toolshed, and went to one of the shelves, where he took down a jar filled with a dark gritty soft soap, almost black. It had a very strong smell. He also picked up a clean piece of rough sacking to use as a towel.
“We’ll have to be right careful not to get it in his eyes,” warned Sam.
They led Pippin over by the nearby well. Merry divested his little cousin of most of his clothes. “This is going to be cold, Pip, but you can’t squirm about. It will hurt your eyes if this gets in them.” Merry used his most serious tone of voice.
“Yes, Merry.” Pippin knew it was no good wheedling, so he would do as his Merry told him. He always minded Merry.
Frodo had him bend over, and they poured water over his head. Sam took a great, goopy handful of the strong-smelling soap, and worked it into a lather in his hands, and then began working it through Pippin’s hair.
Merry supported his little cousin as Sam rubbed thoroughly, and Frodo poured more water over to rinse, as Sam directed. It took three applications before Sam was satisfied that they had it all out, and the ground around their feet was a puddle. Frodo took the sacking and toweled the soggy little head, and then he and Merry helped Pippin back into his clothes before he could get too shivery cold.
“Thank you, Sam, and thank your father,” said Frodo. “I don’t know what we’d have done without you.”
Sam blushed. “It weren’t nothing, Mr. Frodo,” was his reply, though privately he thought his master was right. They’d have been in a pretty pickle without that soap. ‘Tweren’t *nothing* else Sam knew of that would get sap out.
They found another piece of sacking to dry their feet, and went back up to Bag End. “Let’s spend the rest of the afternoon indoors,” said Frodo cautiously. “Pippin’s clean and dry right now, and I think he needs to stay that way till his mother gets here.”
Pippin leaped into his mother’s arms when the door was opened, and she hugged her baby close. She had missed him so. She buried her face in his curls, and then sniffed.
Huh. She would have to make a point of giving Bilbo some nice soaps for her birthday. Obviously the old bachelor used false economy, and bought what was cheapest and strongest.
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