Bergil & Pippin - a couplet version

The boy looked up and saw him there
This halfling watching them by the stair.
"You're a stranger," he said, as up he ran.

"I was, now they say I am Gondor's man."

"Then we should all be reckoned as men!
How old are you? I'm nearly ten -
Who are you, and who's your father?
Mine's of the Guard, and I am taller."

"Which question shall I answer first?
Your queries come all in one burst!
My father carries no duty dire -
He farms the land in Tuckborough, Shire.
I am nearly twenty-nine, so I pass you there;
But not likely to grow, save sideways, I fear."

"Twenty-nine! Why, you're quite old!
As old as my uncle, if I may be so bold.
Still, I bet I could stand you on your head,
Or lay you on your back, instead!"

"Maybe, if I let you," Pippin laughed,
"But I'd do the same to you, again by half,
For we have wrestling tricks in my country small,
Where I am considered quite strong and tall.
I have never allowed either friend or foe
To stand me on my head, and so,
If it came to a trial and nothing else would serve
I might have to give you the death you deserve -
For I'm not soft prey, nor a stranger lad -
I'm a halfling: bold, wicked and bad!"

The boy fell back at Pippin's cry,
But returned with battle's light in his eye.

"No," laughed Pippin, "Don't believe a stranger's tongue,
You will learn that lesson, when you are not so young
Do not trust so quick, for I am not a fighter -
But if you would tell me who you are, 'twould be politer."

"I am named Bergil, the only son
Of Beregond, Tower Guards-man."

"You're as like to your father as a Took to a Took,
And it was for you he sent me to look.
He says if you prefer it to standing me on my head,
You might show me round the City a bit instead.
For I am lonely, and in need of cheer,
And yours is the only friendly face here."

"Then all is well! This I'll gladly do."
Thus began a friendship long and true,
For Bergil, Pippin could see that day,
Knew when to set aside child's play -
And the more like Beregond he grew,
The more a man he'd be, fearless and true.

- Primula