New Adventures and Old Memories

"Come now with your friends and join our company ! You had best walk in the middle so that you may not stray. You may be weary before we halt. ” “Why? Where are you going? “ asked Frodo. “For tonight we go to the woods on the hills above Woodhall. It is some miles, but you shall have rest at the end of it, and it will shorten your journey tomorrow. “
They now marched on again in silence, and passed like shadows and faint lights….Sam walked along at Frodo’s side, as if in a dream, with an expression on his face half of fear and half of astonished joy.

For quite some time Sam was sure he would wake up any moment. This could not be true, it had to be a dream. But then that sense of unreality had been with him ever since he left Hobbiton yesterday. As a boy he had listened eagerly to Mr. Bilbo’s stories about elves and dwarves and dragons, much to his old Gaffer’s distress. “ You shoulda be diggin’ those ‘taters ‘nstead of stuffing your head with that nonsense, lad “ he used to say, “ ‘tis none of your business ”. But Mr. Frodo had encouraged him to join him on Mr. Bilbo’s story Sterdays. Marigold always suspected him to be going because of Mr. Bilbo’s seedcakes that had the reputation to be the best in the entire Westfarthing, but in fact it had been the spiritual food more than the actual one what made him go ( the seedcakes were mighty good though). The stories about the elves especially had always inspired him. “Unhealthy” his Gaffer had called his passion and in fact his vivid imagination once had led to a severe illness.
One late October afternoon he was out in the wood gathering twigs and fir cones for the fire. His brothers and sisters all had other chores to fulfill at home and he was glad to get out of the smial to rove about in the wood and indulge in daydreams. He had almost finished gathering and was about to return to his home when suddenly he saw a white shimmer in the underwoods. At first he thought it must have been a ray of sunlight that found its way through the closely interwoven roof of branches, when he heard a rippling laughter like the tinkling of silver bells. He had never heard a similar sound before. The bunch of twigs slipped from the young hobbit’s hands and dazedly he headed for the source of the sound. The trees stood closely in that part of the wood and soon he had to crawl on all fours. Low sprigs and thorny bracken tore on the lad’s clothes and grazed his face, but he didn’t mind. Where did that sound come from ? Over there ? No – he listened intently but all he heard was the soft soughing sound of the wind in the tree tops high above him, birds singing, the steady rustle of small animals and his own breath coming fast from the exertion. But the silver bells were gone. Also the white shimmer was nowhere to be seen. Disappointed and with the sense of having lost something very precious Sam decided to go back. He crept back on the way he thought he had come in, but after a while he realized he should have long since been out of the dense patch of wood. He must have turned into the wrong direction ! He choose another way, but the trees stood even closer now. For what seemed to him an eternity he tried to find his way out of the trees but wherever he went, he seemed to just get deeper into the wood. Finally he leaned on a tree and sobbed: “’Tis wrong, ‘tis all wrong “. The soughing above him grew louder. Sam’s face was wet with tears, but then his head got wet too. It had started raining and moreover it was getting dark fast. Sam thought about his family and wondered if they had started searching for him already and if they would possibly find him here. He cried “ Hullo! Hullo, I’m here ! “ until he got hoarse and his voice was no more than a whisper. Fortunately the thick roof of branches kept off most of the rain but Sam was getting colder by the minute nonetheless. For some time he shivered so hard he was certain he would fall apart. After a while though he felt warmer and very, very tired. Nothing mattered anymore ...
When Sam woke up again he was lying in his bed and a very relieved mum was smiling at him. He had been sick with a high fever for many days and the healer had been looking more grave each day when he left the Gamgee home, but then the crisis was overcome and it was certain he would live. Sam never told anybody why he really went into the underwoods, he made up something about chasing a rabbit and got away with that lie because everyone was relieved he was still alive. But up to the present day he still remembered the dream he had had in his feverish slumber : he was following a group of elves ...

After many miles they finally stopped on a wide space of grass. Sam suddenly noticed how tired he was. Pippin lay already curled up on the ground, his cloak wrapped around him. Sam sat down and looked at the elves who were sitting a little away from the hobbits. He reflected on the fact that his master had talked to one of the elves who seemed to be their leader in the elven tongue. It sounded so beautiful. Sam had heard Mr. Bilbo teaching Frodo some elvish but that was something his mind could not tackle…..
“ No, no, no , no ! Samwise Gamgee. It’s Gilthoniel A Elbereth ! Not grillpony and alder breath. You’ll never learn it. “ Mr. Bilbo really looked angry this time. Frodo stood chuckling next to him. Sam was ashamed, his face flushed scarlet. He had tried but he just could not get those words right in his mouth. He could not conceive how something that sounded so different from his language could have a meaning and thus his brain tried to “translate” the foreign words into known ones. “ I’m sorry Mr. Bilbo. I guess my old Gaffer’s right. Cabbages and potatoes are better for me. I should be going now, I have to help the Cotton lads with sowing the barley.” As the big round green door shut close behind him he heard Frodo’s broad laughter and Bilbo’s deep voice reciting " A Elbereth Gilthoniel, a menel palan-diriel… “ Resolutely he swallowed the lump that was growing in his throat. “Fiddlesticks, “ he said to himself, “ this elvish is none of your business. It is allright for someone like young Mr. Frodo but not for a Gamgee. Mind your own business, Samwise, you’ll never need it anyway. Won’t see an elf in your whole life, less than talk to one.”...
All of a sudden Sam was startled as the elves around him burst into song and lights sprang up. One of the Elves, a tall dark haired one came up to them. “ That long hair of those elves is really confusing “ Sam thought by himself. All Elves wore long garments or flowing cloaks. When an Elf had turned his back on you, how did one know if it was a she- or a he-elf ?. To Sam they all looked equal. “Well, I guess they know once they have to....” he grinned sheepishly. The Elf, obviously a male one judging from his decidedly clear cut face, invited the hobbits to join them for some kind of feast or something. Sam wondered what would happen next ? After all they were out in the country at the middle of the night. And he had seen none of the Elves carrying loads of provisions. But he need not have worried - it was such a feast ! Almost as good as Mr. Bilbo’s memorable farewell party. Everything tasted somehow sweeter, spicier, fresher than all the food he ever had eaten before ( and the table in the Gamgee household was a good one, mind you !). But the apples were definitely best !
Frodo was sitting and talking to the Elves. Sam heard one of the Elves say “Here is a jewel among hobbits!” and when Sam heard that he almost burst with pride. “’Course he is, I’ve known that all my life, ever since the day young Mr. Frodo moved in with Mr. Bilbo.”
It had been only a few months after that event when Sam got acquainted with Frodo. He had been a small lad then whereas Mr. Frodo was a tweenager about the age of Sam’s brother Halfred. Sam had found a motherless squirrel the previous year and had fostered and tamed it. He called it Jumpy and the beast had grown so fond of its rescuer it still came running when Sam whistled in a certain way. Jumpy was a brown squirrel with a white breast and Sam was convinced he was the most beautiful and intelligent squirrel in all the Shire. One day he went to the grove where Jumpy lived. Sam sat down on a tree stump and whistled. Soon a rustling could be heard and only a few seconds later Jumpy hurled himself onto the ground, just a few steps away from Sam. Sam reached into his pocket and produced some hazelnuts. Jumpy grabbed them one by one with his tiny hands. But then he halted and tilted his head looking at some point behind Sam. Sam turned around to see what caught his friends’ attention and there he beheld Mr. Frodo standing right behind him. Sam’s jaw dropped; Jumpy was shy - he would have fled from anybody but Sam. Sam thought he should say something. It wouldn’t be polite not to greet Mr. Frodo, what would he think of him ? But Frodo smiled at Sam, put his finger to his lips and nodded. In that moment Sam’s heart opened a door and invited Frodo to dwell in it forever. Jumpy went on munching his nuts and the two hobbits soon sat side by side watching him.
When Pippin, who had fallen asleep got borne away, Sam moved close to Frodo and curled himself up at his feet. He was sleepy and closed his eyes, but he still was awake enough to be eavesdropping in the conversation of Mr. Frodo and the Elf named Gildor.
What was that ? Mr. Frodo had said something about a secret known only to Gandalf and
“my faithful Sam ”. Sam winced. He wasn’t faithful, not at all. He felt Mr.Frodo’s eyes on him – had he noticed anything ? Sam feigned to be fast asleep and snored gently. But in him there was no peace. He felt very bad. “ I’m sorry, Mr. Frodo, I’m sorry. It can’t be helped now, it’s all out. But I meant no harm. See, I trust Mr. Meriadoc and Mr. Peregrin. After all Mr. Meriadoc already knew about the Ring and he suspected you’d be leaving the Shire some time sooner or later.”
One fine spring evening Sam was weeding the flowerbeds at the garden of Bag End. It was very important to pull up those weeds early in the year lest they developed thick roots and were breeding. “Hullo !” said someone behind him. He turned around. There stood Merry Brandybuck in a vest as yellow as the daffodils around him and Pippin with the usual scarf tied around his neck ( though it was a mild day). “ Good evening. Mr. Meriadoc, sir and Mr. Peregrin ”, Sam replied. “ Samwise Gamgee, would you come and take a walk with us ? “ Merry asked him. “ Begging your pardon, sir, I don’t think I should, I’m not ready yet, ” he pointed at the flowerbed. “ Never mind, Sam. You can finish it tomorrow, it will soon be too dark to go on with your work anyway. Besides….” he added with a cunning expression, “ …you would help Frodo a lot more by coming along with us and listening what we have to say than with digging in the dirt.” Sam was a little frightened. Was something wrong with Mr. Frodo ? He put aside his gardening gear, wiped his hands clean and said : “ Allright, Mr. Meriadoc, if it’s for Mr. Frodo I’ll come with you.” The three hobbits walked down the garden path. For some time none of them said a word. Then Merry started : “Sam, did you notice something unusual about our cousin of late ? Any strange behaviour ? And why is the old wizard here ? “ Sam squirmed a little but then he felt it was a relief finally to be able to tell someone what had been bothering him for weeks now. And Mr. Meriadoc was Frodo’s cousin after all and a very good friend as well. So he had told Merry everything about what he had learned from Frodo’s and Gandalf’s conversation, about the Ring, the Dark Lord and that Frodo was going to leave the Shire. He noticed that Mr. Meriadoc didn’t look as surprised as he would have expected and neither did Mr. Peregrin. After Sam had gotten everything off his chest he half expected to be turned into a toad on the spot but as this was not the case he felt he had done the right thing. After all Gandalf had told Mr. Frodo not to go alone, but to take someone he could trust…
…do not go alone. Take such friends as are trusty and willing. Sam had not been following most of the conversation between Frodo and Gildor as he was thinking about his betrayal but those words spoken by the Elf found their way into his tired mind.
Suddenly he knew that he had done the right thing indeed. He would stay with Mr. Frodo, whatever paths they would choose, to whatever end. He’d never leave Mr. Frodo, he would be trustworthy. He felt that he had to do something before the end….

Home My Drabbles My Poetry My Stories Disclaimer