„ Nice crispy bacon, I’d give anything for that now...” Sam
was really grumpy. Three days had passed since the Fellowship had left The Last
Homely House. Three cold nights they had been walking through a rough barren
country, chilled to the bones by the cruel east wind. The young Hobbit was not
used to continuing physical exertion. Of course gardening was sometimes hard
work too. Those dandelion roots were mighty hard to get out of firm soil and
among his chores was also to chop the firewood. But incessant walking was a
downright different matter. Even the journey to Rivendell had been not as bad as
this was. Or maybe he only felt it had been different. Everything seemed
different then. He thought they’d go back home once Mr. Frodo had recovered. But
then his master had accepted to take the ring to the land they called Mordor. It
had been clear as daylight that he’d follow Frodo everywhere. But to be true,
Sam hadn’t given much thought on what that would imply for him. Moreover it
seemed a long way off yet, since they were sending out messengers first. The
past two months at Rivendell had passed away in peace and bliss and no thought
of what was going to happen marred that joy yet.
But here he was, cold, hungry and sore. Bill the pony whinnied and prodded his
“I know, my lad, I know. But I don’t have a goodie for you in my pocket right
now, they’re in the bags on your back and we can’t stop now. Strider says we
mustn’t.” Sam sighed.
“Aragorn, please stop, I seem to have lost my knife !” Sam turned around and
looked at Legolas who went right behind him. What was that ? He wasn’t sure if
his eyes cheated him, it was quite dark, but it seemed as if the elf winked at
him before he bent to the ground as if he was looking for something. “ Legolas,
we can’t stop for long, please hurry. If you don’t find it soon we have to move
on” cried Aragorn. Sam jumped at the opportunity and went to retrieve a goodie
for Bill from the saddle bag. He offered it to Bill on his outstretched hand.
The pony thanked him with a soft snort. “Don’t thank me. I guess you have to
thank the elf for giving us that break”. “ Ah, here it is, I’ve found it, we can
go on !” shouted Legolas that same moment. Sam looked into his face. Now there
was no mistake : the elf smiled at him.
Sam had seen many elves at Rivendell, more than he’d ever thought he would see
in his entire life. But somehow he had stopped thinking about them while he was
there. The time he and his friends had passed at Lord Elrond’s home seemed kind
of unreal. Like a dream that did not fade away when you woke up. Besides he was
just a visitor there and he had spent his time rather with Mr. Frodo, Pippin and
Merry and old Mr. Bilbo of course than with the elves. The thought to associate
with elves seemed completely ridiculous to him. They were Big Folk. Magical Big
Folk at that. But now here he was, a member of the Company who set out to change
things for the better and other than his friends, Strider, another man and a
dwarf there was an elf. He hadn’t thought much about that before, but he did now.
Legolas seemed to be rather young, but Sam knew that “young” was relative when
it came to the age of elves. He could well be several hundreds or even thousands
of years old without looking it. The idea made Sam dizzy. In a way this Legolas
was different than most of the other elves Sam had met so far. He was.....what
was it ? Less lofty ? Yes, maybe. He seemed to be more of a fellow to actually
tackle things than the elves of Elrond’s household.
But still Sam was in awe with Legolas. He admired the grace of his movements.
Hobbits could walk without being heard but that elf didn’t even seem to touch
the ground with his feet at all. Had elves learn to move that way or were they
born with that grace ? Sam tried to imitate Legolas’ way of walking. Step out
wide, tiptoe down first, no, again, less heavy.
“What are you doing, Sam ? Is there something wrong with your legs ?” Sam had
been trying elven walking so hard, he didn’t notice Merry was watching him. “
I’m allright…” he blushed a deep purple red and scolded himself silently for
being such a fool. Hopefully Legolas hasn’t noticed too what he was doing ! He
glanced back over his shoulder but obviously the elf was looking elsewhere.
“They have keener eyes than everybody else” Sam went on thinking about Legolas,
“ very much like cats I suppose...”
Slowly a new day dawned and went on but there was no real light. It was grey and
cloudy like the days before. “Wonder if there’s a sun at all in that country or
naught but that icy wind” Sam moaned. As they reached a hollow Gandalf signaled
the Company to stop.
“ We will rest here for the remains of the day and move on by nightfall.” the
old grey wizard said. Merry and Pippin slumped down on the very spot they stood
on and Frodo looked so miserable it gave Sam a pang in his heart. He opened one
of the bags and provided what food he could find that was eatable without
getting boiled or roasted. Gandalf wouldn’t let them light a fire because he was
afraid of spies. Some dried meat and dried fruits and some of those sweet apples
the Hobbits had cherished so much at Rivendell. For a fleeting moment the image
of crispy bacon and eggs arose in Sam’s mind again but he erased it resolutely.
The Company sat down and ate silently. They were all too tired to talk. All that
could be heard was the sound of chewing and swallowing of men, dwarf, hobbits
and elf as well as from Bill who had his nose in a bag of hay. Usually Hobbits
never were silent when they were eating. To take a meal was a social event and
to consume food without giving it praise would have been considered very
ill-mannered among them. “ Master Samwise, will you give me another apple ? They
are the best apples I have ever tasted. Not even in my woodland realm do they
grow apples as sweet and juicy as those.” Sam looked at Legolas who was smiliing
at him – again. Was that elf able to read his mind ? Sam was so bemused he
completely forgot to give Legolas what he had asked for until the latter said :
“…or do you Halflings want to keep them all to yourselves ? You’ve been
pillaging the stocks in the cellars of Rivendell to a great deal already as far
as I’ve been told.” “ We left enough for your kin !” Pippin said somewhat
offended, “ we just had one, or two…well, maybe three a day.” “ Pip, you know
that’s not true; you had at least ten apples a day !“ Merry looked reproachfully
at his cousin. Roaring laughter met his remark. The Company had the first
cheerful meal since they set out.
Sam wondered how long their journey to that Fiery Mountain would take. He had no
sense of distance or direction and all the maps Frodo had been brooding over
with Gandalf meant nothing to him. But he thought that however long it would
take, he’d like to get a chance to learn more about his elvish companion and
maybe even become friends with him.