Samwise Gamgee was a hobbit of loyalty, of dedication, of (though he knew not the word) principle.
And so, though he cared greatly for Mr. Frodo (or perhaps because
he cared greatly for him), he could not, would not, step aside and
knowingly leave his master to make the greatest error of his life.
It might be the ending of him, it might, for he knew well Frodo's
single-minded determination in regards to the disposition of that which
he had come to regard, over a quite short course of time, as his own.
Still, if they both won through, somehow, his master would think kindly
of him, would know, as Frodo seemed to know everything, why Sam had
done as he had.
He was not granted a moment to think further. A dark shadow
pressed close by Frodo's head, a harsh cry rent the air. Frodo's
hand, shaking a bit, reached upwards, almost, it seemed to Sam, in
The weight of a decided hobbit struck Frodo, bore him and his burden to the ground.
Steel sang, sweet as life, final as death, as Frodo rolled over, stilled, with his hand upon Sam's collar…..
Frodo knew him. Sam
breathed out in relief, watched as the horrible desire that had
shadowed his poor master's eyes mere moments ago, vanished.
Frodo's hand shook still, as he passed it over his face.
"Sam." It seemed all that he was able to say, at least for the moment, and Sam shook his head, silenced him with a look.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Frodo……begging your pardon, sir, that it's me as should be reminding you……"
A wheeze met his pause, followed shortly by his master's voice, muffled, seemingly by great emotion:
"Reminding me, Sam?"
"Bless you, sir, yes. Article Seven and Fifty of Miz Lobelia's Primer for Proper Hobbits:"
(Sam assumed his recitation stance, chest out, hands clasped behind his back, face innocent as any school-lad's):
"A gentle-hobbit should never undertake, on any given day, to ingest
more than his (or her) own weight in mushrooms, and should never, under
any circumstances, attempt speech while partaking of said fungus."
Frodo momentarily saw red, then realized he had cut his finger when Samwise had so inopportunely landed upon him.
He cleared his throat, which, since he had by now also cleared his mouth of the remnants of his greed, worked quite well.
"Is that quite all, Samwise?" he said, with a nice twist on the final syllable of Sam's name.
Sam, in his turn, cleared his throat.
"There might be just a bit more, sir."
Frodo glared, as only Frodo could. Really, he did look rather insane when he was thwarted.
"Beggin' your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but p'raps this part you'd best read for yourself."
And Sam was quick to dance away upon the path to Number Three, leaving
Frodo sitting alone before the pasty-seller's booth, a half-eaten
mushroom-and-onion example of the baker's finest work adorning his best
weskit, and his discarded pasty-dagger holding naught but a page open
in a book over-weighted with fussy faux-Elvish adornments.
If there was one thing Frodo desired with a wanting so fierce it shook
the very roots of the trees, it was mushrooms…..if there was another,
(and, truth to tell, this wanting was of a more serious sort: it
reached out and grabbed stars from their rightful places, nay, t'is
said Earendil himself was not safe from this dark desire), it was the
reading of any book, document or object that hinted at being Elvish.
And so it was that Frodo, though long he fought against it (the baker
counted off 3.2 minutes, for all interested parties), at last put hand
to garish manuscript and read what Sam (his dear Sam!) could not say.
Below the admonitions, the cautions, the dire threats and abject pleas
for discipline in matters concerning mushrooms was writ in letters both
Bold and Red:
'and this means YOU, Frodo Baggins!!!'
***with all thanks to my most favouritist children's book: The Poky Little Puppy