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Dreamflower's Mathoms III  by Dreamflower

I'm back. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that March 21 marked twenty years since I posted my very first fanfiction story, right here on SoA.  The last few years have interfered with my muse.  Health issues and family problems, and my commitment to put "An Unexpected Adventure" co-written with KathyG first hasn't left me with much time to write my own stuff.  But I could not let this anniversary go by without being marked by something new from my hand.

I love you, Stories of Arda.  Enough of me, the story is below.

"'I never hoped at all, Sam,' she said, 'not until that very day; and then suddenly I did. About noon it was, and I felt so glad that I began singing. And mother said: "Quiet, lass! There's ruffians about." And I said: "Let them come! Their time will soon be over. Sam's coming back." And you came.'

'I did,' said Sam. 'To the most belovedest place in all the world. To my Rose and my garden."

From the Unpublished Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings


A North Wind in March

So dark it had been for broad day, like a cloud over the Sun that wouldn't go away. It felt heavy and unsettled. No one much spoke at the table, and things had got dire enough that second breakfast was naught but a piece of toast and a cup of tea. At least there was enough of that, since the Big Men didn't seem to have much interest in dandelions, thought Rose, as she poured herself another half cup.   

Young Tom had slipped away much earlier, to sneak into Hobbiton and see what help he could be to Marigold and her father, and a few others on the Row in need of help,  after them as had been forced into them ugly houses the ruffians had put up.  Jolly and Nick was off to deliver some stuff to Master Freddie and his little band of rebles, so Old Tom and Nibs set out to work the field that wasn't growing much. It was for show only, as they'd sowed naught but weeds, and the Men as went by would laugh to see the hobbits hoe away at them.

Rose dutifully followed her mother off to the laundry. The steam and sweat in the laundry shed hid her tears, and she could weep for Sam, her Sam she'd never see again, who'd been driven into the Old Forest and killed by the Men, riding on big black horses as the gossip said.  'T was all Mr. Lotho's fault, bringing in those evil creatures as they was.

Her Sam, and Mr. Frodo, so kind, and Mr. Merry so full of jokes, and young Master Pippin the only heir to the Thain…she wept for them all.

Her mother ran the last of the clean clothes through the mangle, and each of them took a basket filled with the clean wet laundry.  She'd start at one end of the clothesline and Ma at the other, to hang them up quickly. 

The sky was still low, and dark and heavy, but not like they was full of rain.  There was no feel of rain.  

Rosie's basket was full of the menfolks' shirts, and her thoughts were as gloomy as ever they'd been, but she dutifully pegged them to the line…

Suddenly came a brisk wind from the North. The clouds just broke open and poof! vanished all of at once.

Her heart lifted to see blue sky once more, and suddenly she just knew, knew deep in her heart: Sam was coming back to her.  It might take a while, so long they'd been gone, but Sam was coming home to her and the Shire! She dropped the basket and Nib's shirt and twirled around with her arms in the air, and burst into song, an old gardening song Sam and the Gaffer were fond of.

The West, as a father, all goodness doth bring,
The East, a forbearer, no manner of thing :
The South, as unkind, draweth sickness too near,
The North, as a friend, maketh all again clear.
The North, as a friend, 
The North, as a friend,  
The North, as a friend, maketh all again clear…*

She stopped abruptly as her mother grabbed her arm.

"Quiet, lass! There's ruffians about." Lily looked around fearfully, but saw no sign of the hulking Men.  Still, no need to court trouble. 

"Let them come! Their time will soon be over. Sam's coming back." 

Lily gave her an alarmed look, but Rosie laughed softly. "I'm not moonstruck nor crack, Ma. I feel it, right here." She placed a fist upon her heart.  "Whatever it is that's made the world go all wrong, it's all over now and Sam will be back, though no doubt 't will take him a while.

Lily nodded, and drew her daughter in close. A feeling in the heart was almost as good as knowing, and she chuckled. "Well, child, whatever it is, 't is true the North wind's blown them nasty clouds away and the Sun has shown her face once more. But She won't dry wet clothes still in the basket.

Rose laughed again, and the two went back to their task with lighter hearts, as she continued to peg up her brother's shirts.  All would be well.   She began to hum the song again. Her mother was right about them Men being around.  But she couldn't find proper fear today. Not today, nor ever again, for Sam would be back as he had promised.

But she'd give him a hard time when he got here, just a little, for being away so long…



The song is adapted from Lost Country Lives by Dorothy Hartley, a non-fiction book about rural life in early England and previously featured in my story "Good husbandmen must moile & toile" in my "The Purple Path" anthology here. 

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