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Faramir, age 8 The journey through the Wild had been long and difficult, but now at last we neared the ancient home of Elrond Half-Elven. I gripped my weapon tightly, hoping we could find the secret path before we encountered any trolls.
“Faramir, wait!” Goldilocks whispered in my ear. “I hear something coming!”
“I hear it too!” Hamfast squeaked, and promptly dropped his weapon. “It’s big!” He clung to Goldilocks’ skirt.
Now I could hear it, something large and terrifying creeping through the fallen leaves. “Don’t worry, Hammie,” I assured him, “we’ll protect you.” My heart pounding, I stepped forward, weapon in front of me. “Who goes there?” I yelled into the forest.
“Grrrh-wahhh!” An enormous figure sprang from the brush and rushed toward us. I sliced at it with my sword, but that just seemed to make it more angry, and the next thing I knew, it had picked Goldilocks up and was swinging her around!
“You put her down!” I yelled, and whacked its legs with my sword again, but it was already too late for poor Goldilocks.
“No, no, no, Mr. Merry, please!” she shrieked. “No more tickling, please!” And then she was laughing too hard to speak.
“No more tickling?” Cousin Merry teased. “But I thought you were looking for danger and adventure.” But he set her down gently, and then yanked my stick out of my hands, a bit less gently.
“Faramir,” he said quite sternly, “what have you been told about hitting people, even with pretend swords?”
“You’ve scared Hamfast,” I said to him, though I knew it was backtalk. But I was right, and I pointed at Hammie to prove it. He was hiding behind a tree with his hands over his eyes.
“I’m not scared!” Hamfast said shrilly, but he stayed hiding.
“Oh, Hammie-lad,” Cousin Merry said sympathetically, and picked him up in a big hug. “I’m sorry. Come on, it’s time for you children to go in anyway. We’ll have you tucked safe in your bed in no time, Hamfast.”
Goldilocks and I groaned. “It can’t be bedtime!” she declared.
“Well, you may not think so, but your mother says it is. Come on,” and he began leading us from the grove of trees behind Bag End back to the smial, carrying Hamfast, “Periadoc and Éowyn are already in bed.”
“Periadoc and Éowyn are babies,” I pointed out, but I followed him anyway. As we came up the Hill, I saw Father sitting atop, smoking his pipe. “I want to talk to Father, please,” I announced, and looked hopefully at Cousin Merry.
“All right,” he said with a sigh. I could tell Goldilocks wanted to come with me, and so could Cousin Merry, because he said, “Oh, no, not you, my lass. Rose-Mum said bed.”
I waved at them as they went to the kitchen door and then I ran up the Hill and tossed myself into the grass by Father. “Back from Rivendell already?” he asked.
“The Tickle Troll made us come back, for Mrs. Gamgee said it’s bedtime,” I answered, then laid my head on his outstretched legs and asked, “But can I stay out here with you for a bit?”
“Hmm,” Father said, but I could tell he was too comfortable and full and content to argue about it. “For a bit,” he answered, and reached down to smooth my curls.
It was Cousin Frodo and Cousin Bilbo’s birthday, and we had had a glorious party at Bag End earlier. The Gamgees always throw a party on this day, and it is just for them and some of us Tooks and Cousins Merry and Estella and sometimes Cousins Fredegar and Maisie. The cake had been very good, and even though it was not his own birthday, Mayor Gamgee had little gifts for us children, which he said he was giving to us since Cousin Frodo was away.
My gift was several nice new marbles, and they had been Cousin Frodo’s when he was a lad. I pulled one out of my pocket and held it up to look at it. It blocked out the stars that were beginning to appear when I squinted at it. I put it away and turned so I could look the same way Father was looking.
“Which one is Eärendil, Father?” I asked.
“Which one do you think it is?” he answered, and I pointed. “That’s right,” Father said.
“I do not understand how a Man can sail a ship in the sky, even if he is Lord Elrond’s father,” I said, and Father chuckled.
“Maybe we are not meant to understand all things,” he said.
“I don’t see why not,” I grumbled. “I should like to.” I pulled another marble out and held it up and squinted so that Eärendil twinkled against its smooth surface. “It is nice of Mayor Gamgee to give presents out for Cousin Frodo,” I said. “I imagine Cousin Frodo gave splendid gifts, didn’t he, Father?”
“He did, indeed,” Father said softly.
“Do you think he has birthday parties over the Sea?” I asked. I hoped so. I wouldn’t want to live any place that didn’t have birthday parties.
“Oh, certainly,” Father said. “Gandalf is there too, remember, and he will make certain of it. He loved a good birthday party.”
“With fireworks!” I said. “The most glorious anyone has ever seen!”
“Wouldn’t be a proper party without them,” Father said. “And you know that the Elves bake the most delicious cakes.”
“And singing and dancing,” I said. “They’d had lots of that, the Elves would. I should think it was a very good birthday.”
“I’m certain it was,” Father said, and stroked my hair again.
I yawned and curled up a little against his legs. “I should like to see the Sea someday. Tell me again what it’s like,” I requested.
“Oh,” Father sighed, “it’s like nothing else. I had always thought it would be like a big lake, but it wasn’t. It’s the smell of it -- you know right off that it’s alive and moving and changing and ancient. It’s beautiful, but there is something sad about it.”
“The Yellowskin says Isengar went off to sea,” I said. “I wonder what happened to him. Do you suppose he found someplace else to live?”
“Maybe he did,” Father said. “I used to think that he became a pirate on a ship of Men, and became very wealthy, and always drank the best of ales and had grand adventures.”
I yawned again, and let my eyes shut. “That would be splendid, but I don’t think being a pirate is so glorious as being a knight, Father,” I said, and he laughed.
“I should hope not!” he answered, but I was drifting off, dreaming of a sea of stars.
(NOTE: This is the end of Part I. I don’t know when Part II will be posted, but it is in the works!)
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