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I’m beginning a series of short ficlets about the hobbits’ possible experiences in the West. Each ficlet will be written as I think of it -- some will be linked together, and some will be stand-alone scenes (such as this one). I doubt there will be any angst, so angst-lovers can turn back now!
My view of why and how Bilbo is still alive and well in the West can be found in my stories “Sing Me Home” (chapter 5) and “The Path to Healing” (chapters 1 and 7).
DISCLAIMER: Professor Tolkien’s wonderful characters don’t belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.
The Tol Eressëa Lending Library
And they pondered the storied and figured maps and books of lore that were in the house of Elrond. ‘The Ring Goes South’, The Fellowship of the Ring
Elrond came to call one morning, and even before he reached the hobbits’ spacious home cunningly built into a hillside overlooking the Sea, he knew that his plan had worked. At least two dozen Elves sprawled on the fresh, green lawn beneath shade trees, avidly thumbing through massive tomes; several prominent residents of Avallónë – one of them Eärwen, Galadriel’s mother – were standing on the front walk, chatting and exchanging slim volumes; and, out of sight, voices could be heard debating excitedly. Elrond approached the open door of the dwelling, and peeked inside.
“Bilbo? Frodo? Are you home?”
“Lord Elrond!” Frodo cried out with delight, coming to greet him. His dark curls were mussed and his hands quite dusty, but his eyes sparkled. Today he was wearing Shire clothes – sturdy shirt and breeches – and not one of the new tunics Celebrían had sewn for him and Bilbo.
“Why didn’t you warn us this might happen?” Frodo laughed. “Bilbo and I haven’t even had time to unpack them all, let alone catalog and find shelves for everything.”
“Elves are a greedy bunch, are they not?” Elrond said with a grin. He knelt to embrace the hobbit. “Is this bothersome, then? Tell me if you grow weary of the constant--”
“Oh no,” Frodo gasped. “It’s wonderful!” He peered at the Elf suspiciously. “You knew this would happen, didn’t you? Was it just so we’d meet our neighbors more quickly?”
“That was indeed my wish,” Elrond nodded.
“Bilbo and I knew something was up when all those crates were delivered here instead of to your own home,” Frodo said. “And when you didn’t send for them...”
“I did not bring the entire library of Imladris with me when we sailed, but a good portion of it,” Elrond said. “I spent millenia writing or acquiring books, and the traffic was much like this in my own home more often than not.” He looked around at the Elves coming and going, and smiled broadly. “Can you imagine how long it has been since the residents of this island read tales, songs, or poetry that they had not written themselves? Once the word spreads more widely, I would not be surprised if you get visitors from every corner of Aman.”
“There’s such a wealth of lore, histories, and maps,” Frodo marvelled. “Now I know why the home we were given is such a large one, with room for several libraries and sitting rooms. We will need them.” His eyes shone with joy. “Bilbo is beside himself, having so many learned Elves at hand with whom to converse and debate.” He began to chuckle suddenly.
“What pleases you so, my friend?”
“Many of your books are written in Westron, and few here read that language. Bilbo is joking about opening a school.”
“A most intriguing idea. Tol Eressëa may never be the same.”
“Thank you, Lord Elrond,” Frodo bowed slightly. “We will guard your treasures...” He looked around at the hustle and bustle, and shook his head in mock dismay. “…as best we can, at any rate.”
“Doing your best is all anyone can do, ever in their lives,” Elrond said gently. “I see you are learning this most difficult of all lessons.”
Frodo felt a great peace settle over him. “And where better to learn, than in a library?”
“Where indeed?” Elrond smiled.
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