by Froda Baggins

Frodo lay comfortably up in the crook of a tree, smoking his pipe, as Sam made supper on the ground below him. A pleasant aroma of frying sausages and bacon floated up to him, and he smiled. ‘Good old Sam,’ he thought. ‘I’m glad that Gandalf sent him with me....it would be lonely otherwise—and the food wouldn’t be nearly as good, I’m sure!’

Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by a sound. He lifted his head, listening intently. A song, slow and beautiful, but tinged with a note of sadness, echoed faintly through the woods. “Listen, Sam!” he said softly. “Wood-elves!”

Sam glanced up quickly with a look of eagerness on his face. Frodo jumped lightly down from the tree and motioned to him. Going quietly as only hobbits can, they ran up a small incline towards the sound of the Elven voices. Coming to the top, they flattened themselves down and peered out through the trees.

A beautiful sight met their eyes. Surrounded by a soft, glowing light, a long procession of white- and grey-clad Elves walked slowly through the woods, singing in Elvish. Some of them rode white horses, others carrying flowing banners or small, intricately crafted lanterns. Golden hair flowed over their shoulders, and many wore delicate, beautifully made circlets of silver. The sound of their song filled the listening hobbits’ ears, the Elven words flowing over them like a gentle stream flowing over mossy stones. Frodo tried to catch some of the song’s words, but only heard a few. Among the phrases he caught “A Elbereth Gilthoniel”, and for some reason those words stayed with him for a long time.

“They’re going to the Grey Havens, beyond the sea,” he said in a low voice.

“They’re leavin’ Middle-earth,” Sam said.

“Never to return,” added Frodo softly.

“I don’t know why, but somehow, it makes me sad,” said Sam, looking more thoughtful than usual.

Quietly they stole away and ate supper in silence, each thinking about what the twilight had shown them. Frodo helped Sam wash and put away, despite mild protests, and they settled down to sleep, rolled up in their cloaks.

“This isn’t working,” said Sam after a while. “Anywhere I lie, I’ve got a dirty great tree-root in my back.”

Frodo smiled to himself. “Just close your eyes and pretend you’re back in your own soft bed at home, with a nice, down pillow and a warm comforter.”

Sam was silent for a while. Then he spoke again. “It doesn’t help. I’m not going to get any sleep tonight.”

Frodo smiled again. “Me neither, Sam.”