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We Three Together  by Baylor

Goldilocks, age 11

It would not be so bad, being a lass, if I didnít have quite so many sisters. Or at least if more of them were not so, well, clean. When I am with my brothers and our friend Faramir Took, I never worry about dirtying my dress or tangling my curls, or what a lass should and should not do, but then one of my sisters will come along, and I donít bear up to the comparison.

It snowed at Yule, during the big party we had at Bag End, and how could I not want to go outside and play in it? Then Merry threw that snowball right at Hamfast and hit him smack in the face, so what could I do but tackle him and hold his face in the snow bank? Then Pippin grabbed me by the waist and dragged me back off of Merry, but I wasnít standing for that so I threw myself backwards as hard as I could and Pippin and I flipped right over into the other snow bank.

At any rate, I lost all but one of my pretty new velvet hair ribbons, and I tore a button off my cloak, and somehow that beautiful blue dress that Rose-lass looked so pretty in a few years ago got soaking wet and muddy and the hem ripped -- well, Mummie cleaned enough of it to make a little dress for baby Robin.

When I came inside, Daisyís hair ribbons were all perfectly in place, and Primroseís dress wasnít even wrinkled, and Rose-lass had all her buttons, and Elanor was the most beautiful lass in the room.

I wouldnít talk to any of them all night, the silly, prissy things, and turned my face to the wall when I got into bed. My Ruby came and cuddled up to me though -- she never looks horrified when I come into a room, and she never scolds (never you mind that she canít), and she isnít afraid of a little dirt or water or tussle, either. Some days, I would trade all the rest of them for a few more Roos.

The lads donít mind if Iím not tidy, though, and by now they sure know better than to tell me I canít do something because Iím a lass. I can run as fast as Merry, and throw as sure as Pippin, and climb as well as Faramir, and do just about anything better than Hamfast. I am not quite so good at conkers as Frodo, but he has been playing much longer than I, so he doesnít really count.

I havenít told anyone but Faramir yet, but when I am old enough, I am going to play roopie, you just see if I donít. I can throw and kick and run and dodge, and Dad says he canít believe he has a child who thinks so fast on her feet. If all that wonít make me a good roopie player, then I donít know what will. I am not so big for my age, but then neither is Faramir, and his father is already practicing with him a bit. Faramir thinks it is splendid that I will play roopie, and has promised to show me what his father teaches him, so that I will not be behind when we are old enough to play. I would ask Merry or Pippin to help me learn, but they are not always entirely trustworthy. Frodo is, but he also does not like to do anything behind Dadís back, and I donít quite dare bring it up to Dad and Mummie yet.

I donít think they mind so much, though, Dad and Mum, that I am not so proper all the time. When Dad travels to Buckland or Tookland, he most always takes me, and not one of the other lasses. Iíve been on walking trips, too, and Dad taught me how to start a fire, and catch a fish, and set a snare. And when that oaf Dory Sandyman hit Hamfast in the head with a fishing pail and I grabbed it away and then hit him right in his ugly face with it, Dad did make me stay home from the Fair, even though I was supposed to go, but then he said, ďHitting isnít the best way to solve something, but you donít let no one hurt the ones you love, Goldilocks. Youíre right about that.Ē

I donít know how Hamfast would make it through the world without me around, honestly. He almost fell off the back of the cart on the way to market when he was just little but I grabbed hold of his shirt and pulled him back up (though he was almost as big as me, even back then) and let him blather all over me. Least, thatís the way Elanor tells it. He is such a crybaby sometimes that it makes me angry, and I stamp my foot and say weíll leave him behind if he doesnít stop it, but Iíd never really leave Hamfast behind. Heís scared to be by himself, and anyway, itís a wonder he doesnít get lost in Bag End, his sense of direction is so poor. Weíd never see him again if I didnít keep track of him.

Mummie likes that I look out for Hamfast, and mostly I think she doesnít mind if I run wild (which is what Rose-lass calls it), but sometimes she covers her face with her hands when I come inside, or when she hears what Iíve done. ďGoldilocks, love,Ē sheíll say, ďI donít know if youíll be the death or the best of us all. Now get in the bath!Ē

Faramirís father doesnít mind one bit when I tear my dress or get dirty, and he gave me a slingshot as a birthday present several years ago and taught me to shoot it. I told him once that I want a real sword someday, and he said the Valar should save the lads of the Shire, but I promised him that I would only use it on monsters and other unnatural creatures, so he said that was all right, then. Someone has to protect us all.

Mr. Pippin says it is in the Gamgee blood, protecting other living things, whether they are trees and vegetables and flowers or other hobbits. I just want to make sure Iím ready.

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