by Jacquelyn Fisher
"And so ended the time of hardship. Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took both received the title of Captain and Samwise Gamgee became Mayor for many long years. Master Took married Diamond of Long Cleeve and had one son that they named Faramir Took after the Steward of Gonder. Master Brandybuck also married and sired many young hobbits of his own. The entire Brandybuck brood were frequent visitors of the Took household, and vise versa. The three hero hobbits lived long, happy lives in the Shire and often traveled to Gonder to visit King Elessar and Queen Arwen."
"Is the story true, Grandpa Took?" sandy-haired Aran Took demanded with wide eyes. He was seated among the young hobbits at the storyteller’s feet, mesmerized by the story.
Grandpa Took laughed softly and nodded his head, causing his white curly hair to bob. "Yes, young Aran, the story is quite true. It is recorded thus in the original Red Book located in Hobbiton. Now, you youngins should go off and play while us grown ups talk of dull things, like family lineages, and smoke pipe weed."
The young hobbits groaned and hurried to their feet. Almost immediately, Aran and his best friend, Elanador Brandybuck, began to organize the other hobbits into groups. Aran volunteered to play the part of Peregrin Took and Elanador took Meriadoc’s part without hesitation. The rest of the children divided up the parts of Strider, Legolas, Gimili, Boromir, Gandalf, and the rest of the Fellowship. Aran and Elanador led the group down the hill towards the river to play their game of the One Ring. Grandpa Took shook his head and grinned solemnly to himself. He gripped his walking stick in his hand and slowly stood. It was then that he noticed one of the hobbit children had not joined the others.
"Young Fern, why do you hang behind?" He asked the hobbit maiden. She was a few years older than her brother, Aran, and she had pale, almost silvery hair and intelligent eyes. Her large emerald eyes gazed up soberly at Grandpa Took.
"I have a question," she said in a low voice. "Why do the Shire-tales not speak as fondly of the ring-bearer, Frodo Baggins, as they do his companions? Wasn’t his fate more terrible and important?"
"Lets take a walk, Fern." Grandpa Took looked fondly at his granddaughter and laid a heavy hand on her shoulder. The two walked quietly away from loud celebration on the hill just outside of Tookbank.
In a low voice he finally spoke: "Yes, dearest. Frodo had the hardest quest of all, and it left a horrible scar on his very soul. Even though he aided in the liberation of the Shire in 1420, he never found happiness here."
"What happened to him?"
Grandpa Took sighed and looked off into the west with a sad, far-off look on his face. For the briefest moment, Fern swore that the lines of his face had vanished and he glowed with a regal, princely light. The glimpse passed in an instant and once more Grandpa Took leaned heavily on his walking stick.
"Frodo left Middle Earth and passed into the West with the Elves and Gandalf the White. They were never seen again, but their memories live on. Out of the companions, Frodo is the most highly praised in Gonder, Rohan, and other kingdoms of Men. The Shire folk honor Frodo in their own, private way."
"I just think it is a shame that all of the stories told honor the other three hobbit-heros more so than Frodo Baggins," Fern stated sadly. Grandpa Took rested a hand on her shoulder and smiled sadly.
"So do I, Fern. So do I."
"Master Took! Master Took!"
The call came from a hobbit scurrying down the hill towards them. His stomach was more round than perhaps it should be, but roundness was considered highly important in the Gamgee family. Grandpa Took laughed and shook his head as Petral Gamgee came up out of breath.
"Master Took! I have been looking for you!" Petral huffed. He paused to catch his breath before continuing. "Master Faramir has asked for your presence. He said that everyone is waiting for you, and they refuse to begin the smoking pipeweed until you are present. Master Brandybuck and Uncle Gamgee are already there."
Grandpa Took gazed down at Fern and smiled. "You run along now, young Fern. There is a gathering of old friends I must go to."
Fern recognized the look on her grandfather’s face and patted his hand lovingly. "It is a shame that all of the companions cannot attend, isn’t it, Grandpa Pippin?"
"Yes, Fern," Pippigrin Took replied grimly. He rubbed her head tenderly, ruffling her long, curly hair. Then, leaning heavily on his walking stick, Grandpa Took hobbled his way up the hill behind young Gamgee.
Fern watched him go before turning and walking slowly down the path towards the west. She could hear the voices of the other children as they re-enacted the War of the One Ring and the Travels of the Fellowship. Her brother, as usual, did a good job portraying Grandpa Took, though he somehow managed to always rearrange the story so that Peregrin Took became the main hero. Fern shook her head, knowing that in a few years Aran would grow out of his boyish stage and realize the true hero of the War of the Ring was Frodo.
One day, Fern thought to herself, she would retrace the steps of the four hobbit companions. She would visit Rivendale, Moria, Lothlorien, Isengard, Fangorn, Gonder, and what was left of Mordor. Then, Fern promised to herself, she would visit the sea in the west and walk the sandy beaches.
It could be just a the wishful thinking of a young maiden hobbit, but Fern had a strong desire to walk in Grandpa Took’s footsteps and see the world through the eyes of a traveling hobbit. Perhaps she would even have an adventure of her own.
© 2002 by Jacquelyn Fisher
This story appears on her website and can also be found at FanFiction.Net, February 5, 2007.
Reprinted with permission.
Note: All characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy are the property of the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and are references without permission. The characters Fern Took, Aran Took, Elanador Merrybuck, and Petral Gamgee were created by Jacquelyn Fisher.
Jacquelyn Fisher is just your average college student who loves writing, sketching, webdesign, and singing with her younger sister. An avid reader who likes everything from childrens' books to classics. She also has three Associate Degrees in history, political science, and foreign language. Read more from her at JacquelynFisher.com.
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