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B2MeM Prompt and Path: The Purple Path, prompts Full Moon and Bronte quote. [Squares one and two]
Once, during the time before Roverandom had been reunited with Little Boy Two and his family, he had been taken away by Mews the Seagull to the Moon and many an adventure he had there, too! He met the Man-in-the-Moon and his little dog who was also called Rover (and that was how Roverandom got his name, as of course there could not be two little dogs with the name in the same place. It might have confused the Man-in-the-Moon. Or perhaps not, as he was very wise), so enchanted Rover became Roverandom, and the moon dog became known as Moon-Rover.
The Moon was a marvelous place, all white and black and shades of grey, and filled with things Roverandom had never encountered before. The Man-in-the-Moon gave both Roverandom and Moon-Rover wings, and sent them off from his high white tower on the white side of the Moon to go play. When the two little dogs became hungry they would fly back to the window kept open for them, and there would find bowls of delicious food and clean water. Sometimes the Man-in-the-Moon was there, sometimes he was not.
Once they came back to the tower and discovered that Mews the Seagull (who carried all the post from the various Earths to the Moon) was there, having just brought the post. The Man-in-the-Moon was sitting at a table set for tea, and had just opened a letter.
"My dear Tilion." he read. "That's one of the names I am called, especially by my oldest friends," he said before continuing. "It has been a good long while since I have seen you. I've been watching you wax and wane for many a year from down here, and thought perhaps it might be nice to get together for a good long talk to catch up on the news. Things here are changeable and hectic, and of course, I've found myself tasked with meddling in affairs that have not before been any of my business."
The Man-in-the-Moon chuckled. "He just says that. He's always liked to meddle, so that's probably why he was given the job in the first place." He poured himself a steaming cup of tea, and cut himself some bread and cheese that was set on the table before him. (He also cut two little chunks of cheese for the two dogs, who each caught one mid-air.) "I wonder, old friend, if you would not care to join me for an evening. I am currently journeying in a charming little land called Bree, and staying in an inn called The Prancing Pony. It's well known for the fineness of the food and the brownness of its beer. I shall be staying here for three nights running if you care to join me for supper while I am here.
If you should come, be sure to ask for me by the name of 'Gandalf' as I am known in these parts. I seem to have picked up any number of strange names as I wander around among the mortals who dwell here.
"Well, well," said the Man-in-the-Moon. "As folks say 'There's another country heard from'. I haven't seen him in ages, and I've been cooped up in my Tower until I am ready for a short change. I think I shall take him up on his invitation." He looked down at the two little dogs sitting at his feet, and said "You fellows can get on without me for a while, can't you?"
"Of course I can," boasted Moon Rover. "I can take care of everything while you are gone!" He jumped up and put his paws on the Man-in-the-Moon's knee and gave a confident bark.
Roverandom was not quite so bold. He was still wary of wizards after old Artaxerxes had put the spell on him that had turned him into a tiny toy dog. But he nodded his agreement. "We will get on just as well as we can," he said. "But we will miss you!"
The Man-in-the-Moon laughed. "Of course you will!" He patted them both on top of the head, and then said, "Well, then, I must get ready and be off!"
Roverandom and Moon-Rover trotted about behind him as he called for his coachman, a lanky thin fellow who never seemed to have a word to say, to hitch up the four beautiful white horses to his great round coach. As the coach took off into the sky to follow the moonpath down to the green and blue world below, the two little dogs flew around it, barking a cheerful farewell. Then as the coach became too tiny to see, the two of them flew off to play in the fields and woods of the white side, among the musical flowers and silvery grasses and the tall black-trunked trees.
Time passed, and Roverandom reckoned that on the world below a whole night and another day had passed. He and Moon-Dog flew high in hopes of seeing the Man-in-the-Moon return. Sure enough, just as the birds of the woods were settling in to roost, they could see the dot of the coach growing larger.
Off they flew to the tower, and arrived at very nearly the same time the coach did. What a surprise to see a strange old man alight from the coach. The coachman climbed down from his high seat and went to the door of the coach. Then he and the stranger (who looked much like The Man-in-the-Moon, though perhaps shabbier) reached in and pulled out The-Man-in-the-Moon, who was snoring loudly. They each put one of his arms about their necks and began carrying him up to the tower, and then up the many stairs to the rooms at the top.
"What is the matter with my Man?" asked Moon Rover, as he hovered about the stranger.
"Yes!" said Roverandom. "Why won't he wake up? And why does he smell so unpleasantly?"
The silent coachman rolled his eyes, but Olórin chuckled. "It's been many a year since my old friend had the chance to eat and drink his fill, or to make merry the whole night through! He danced and sang, and quaffed brown beer 'til the Sun came up. It was all we could do get him back into his coach. Since it seems to be my fault, I decided to help see him home and nurse his sore head."
And so he did, settling The Man-in-the-Moon into his bed, and giving him a tea to settle his headache and his stomach, and putting a cold cloth across his eyes. Then he tip-toed out. Moon Rover stayed and curled up on the bed beside his master's feet, but Rover followed the other wizard out.
Olórin went into the kitchen and made himself some tea and toast, easily finding where things were; he didn't even need to ask where the toasting fork was, nor the tea caddy.
"Would you please tell me what happened, Sir?" Roverandom asked politely (and so you can see he truly had learned his lesson about being courteous to wizards), for he was always a curious little dog.
The wizard smiled. "It really was my fault, for I had forgotten how long it had been since Tilion spent time in the world below. The Prancing Pony brews very fine brown beer, and its food is quite delicious. When he arrived, we went in to supper, where a fine meat pie, breads, cheeses and pickles, fruits and cakes, were all set before us, for the innkeeper was quite proud to host so famous a guest as The Man-in-the-Moon! There was also a pitcher of beer, and the serving maids had been instructed to keep it filled. We ate and drank, and there was a fine fiddler there. There was also a little dog, a terrier, I believe his name was Brownie. I think you might have liked him, for he was a jolly fellow. A tabby cat also called the tap room home; she prowled across the shelves where the dishes sat and the spoons hung, keeping her eye on everything in the room below.
There was much singing and dancing as the night went on, and my old friend joined in with a will. The jollier he became, the more worried I became, for I was not sure I would be able to get him home! Still, we finally did manage to get him back in the carriage and on the way back here."
"How did you come to know our Man-in-the-Moon?" The little dog was resolved to ask questions so long as this wizard was willing to answer, which shows he might have got along famously with another of the wizard's small acquaintances.
"Once, long ages ago before the Sun and Moon, we both spent some time in the gardens of the Dream Master, Irmo, who was also called Lorien, after those same gardens. He taught us of the ways of dreams, and how to walk their paths, and how to use those dreams to teach, to soothe or to trouble, the peoples of the world. When our time with Irmo was finished, I was sent on to other masters and other tasks. Tilion remained there for a while, and then he too went on to another master, the Huntsman. Later on, he was set to be the steward of this Moon, and from here he guides the nightly dreams of children. Still, we kept in touch in the fashion of wizards, and so I was glad to get this chance to see him. I do think that next time, I will find another place for us to meet than at a tavern!"
Olórin stayed a while longer on the Moon, going with The Man-in-the-Moon to the dark side where the dreamers gathered a few times. But finally he said "This has been a lovely visit, but it is time that I return to my duties on the world below. I hope that someday, I shall see you all again. Good-bye, Tilion! Good-bye, little Moon-Dog, you are of much comfort to your master! And Good-bye to you, curious little Roverandom; one day you shall find what you are looking for!" He clambered into the coach, for The Man-in-the-Moon had lent it to him for the return journey.
They waved at him, and watched him until he became a small speck, and then they turned away.
"I will miss him," said Roverandom. "He was a very kind wizard."
"So will I," said Moon-Rover, "He told very good stories."
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