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Ch. 65 - A Gift For All Hallows Eve
“It is simple enough,” Elrohir’s voice took on a note of scorn. “I did not think I needed to further explain the request.”
The cook looked down at the small round globe sitting on the table.
“It is known, by some, as a pumpkin. You bake it.”
“Just put it on a flat sheet and shove it in my ovens? What if it explodes?”
“You cut off the top, scoop out the seeds, and bake it. Do you not know how to bake?”
Elladan stepped forward and put his hand warningly on his brother’s arm.
“Why do you want me to bake this? What is it for?”
Elrohir rolled his eyes. Elladan sighed. “It is a gift for Estel. Something they cook in the Angle at this time of year. Halbarad suggested we bring one. The boy has seemed homesick as of late. We thought this might help.”
The cook blinked away what Elladan thought might be a tear. “The boy who lost his father?”
“That is the one. His mother says this time of year is his favorite, but no one here seems to know how his people celebrate. This is one of the customs; one of the ones we knew should not be too difficult to do.”
“Why do they bake it? Do you know if it tastes good?”
Elrohir turned the pumpkin around. “Could it be a vegetable? Mayhap you could make a soup from it?”
Elladan smiled. “I think you could stuff it; it looks quite large enough for a good cranberry and chicken stuffing?”
The cook looked long and hard at the orange globe. Taking a knife, he quickly severed the top, about an eighth of an inch down, and cut out a piece. Biting into it, he grimaced. “It is… I will come up with something. When did you wish it served?”
“At tonight’s meal?”
“Very well. Now leave me be.” They were almost through the door before he stopped them with a shout. “If it were not for the boy, I would not be doing this, just you remember that. I have not forgotten the mess you made making cookies for him. I am still finding flour in my cupboards.”
They waved as they left the kitchen, hiding their smiles behind the cook's back.
“I do not see it here,” Elrohir pushed aside one plate after another.
“No.” Elladan concurred with his brother. “He must not have been able to make anything with it. He did not seem to like the taste.”
“Then I am grateful that I said no word to Estel about a surprise.” Elrohir’s face fell. “I wish we had done something. I think tonight is the special night.”
“It is. Morgoth’s breath, we should have thought of something else.”
“Too late now. Father is beckoning for us to sit. And there is Estel and Gilraen. Look at him,” Elrohir sighed, “not even the hint of a smile.”
They bowed to their father and took their seats. The evening’s meal went well for all but the sons of Elrond. Disappointment was etched across Elrohir’s face and Elladan could be seen peering towards the kitchen every now and again. When at last Elrohir asked, Elladan said he still hoped.
Estel ate quietly. Gilraen held his free hand and stroked it now and again.
At last, the meal was complete. Servants came and removed the platters and such as Elrond stood. “I am told tonight is a special night for our Estel. The cook has asked to present something in honor of our youngest son. Estel, would you come and stand by my side?”
The boy looked up in surprise as both twins jumped up. Elrond smiled and motioned for them to sit.
Two servants led the cook forward, a large covered platter in his hands. He approached the table where Elrond stood and placed the platter on the table. He bowed to Estel. "Your brothers told me of your liking of punk… pumpkin. I hope this meets with your approval, young Estel.”
He bowed and backed away from the table. Elrond took the cover off the platter and Estel gasped.
Elladan dropped his serviette and Elrohir dropped his mouth. “What is it?” they both exclaimed in horror.
"A jack-o-lantern," Estel shrieked in joy.
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