Who'll Chain the Ring?
Samwise hardly moved as he sat by Frodo’s bed. He was almost as immobile
as the prone figure upon it. On occasion he patted Frodo’s hand and
said something he thought might be comforting, assuming Frodo could hear
it. And he rubbed Frodo’s left hand, which remained cold to the touch.
It didn’t seem natural, so he rubbed it trying to bring some life back to
it. Master Elrond and Gandalf said Frodo was now out of danger, but
Sam worried still. He noticed the two elves at the door and was a little
startled because he had no idea how long they’d been standing there.
Quieter than hobbits, they were, he thought. One was Master Elrond,
and just behind him the other elf. This one wavered between staying
and going but at a word from Elrond, he stayed.
“Beggin’ your pardon, sirs,” said Sam. “Can I help
you with somethin’?”
Elrond smiled kindly. “We’ve only come to secure
the ring so that it will not be lost again.”
The other elf, who carried a fine silver chain necklace
in one hand, approached the small pile of Frodo’s clothing at the foot of
the bed where Elrond and Gandalf had tossed them in their efforts to save
Frodo’s life. He reached a hand toward the pocket containing the ring.
Suddenly the elf gasped, jerked his hand away and leaped backward.
He stood there trembling, wide eyed, looking as if he would flee the room
at any moment. Elrond put a hand on his shoulder and his trembling
ceased. He turned to Elrond and asked “did you not hear?”
Elrond nodded. “I heard. The ring is seeking
a greater master. We must be cautious. It troubles me that the
other smiths sent you, but it must be done.”
“They did not send me. We would still be standing
about discussing who should answer your summons. I came only because
the others wished not to, and, as you said, it must be done.”
Both elves stood in thought a long moment, considering
what to do. Presently Elrond spoke again. “I dare not touch it
but someone must. I know this will be hard for you...”
The other elf nodded, took a deep, shaky breath and stepped
forward again. Gingerly, as if it were something repulsive, he pulled
the ring from Frodo’s pocket by the chain which attached it to the belt.
Then he knelt by the bed and looked at it a long time. Suddenly he
shook himself, coiled one end of the necklace into the center of the ring,
lifted it by its own chain so the necklace ran through the center, then dropped
them together, stood and backed away again. “Forgive me, Elrond,” he
said. “I can do no more than that.”
“If you’ll pardon me, sirs,” said Sam, “but I’m thinkin’
I know what you’re about. “ He unclasped the ring from its chain and
picked up the necklace. Then he fastened it around Frodo’s neck.
The other elf nodded his gratitude and departed quickly.
“Excuse me for sayin’ so but, the ring has a bad effect
on some people, don’t it,” observed Sam, noting the other elf’s hasty retreat.
“It does,” agreed Elrond. “And Morfindel is affected
by it the same as any other. But he knows more about it than most.
He was a smith in Eregion before that land was overrun by Sauron and has
himself made a few rings, though he refuses to wear any. The One Ring
contains the sum of all his fears.”
“I never thought an elf could be afraid...”
“Fear is not limited to Hobbits, master Samwise.
Those without fear are also without experience. And Morfindel has experienced
much. He should have departed from the Havens long ago, yet remains
to continue the fight he knows he can not win on his own. That perhaps
none of us can win.”
Sam nodded and Elrond departed. The hobbit turned
again to watch Frodo as he slept, patted his master’s hand once more and
said “There, Mr. Frodo. That’s a fine chain necklace the elf smiths
made for you. The ring’ll be safe now.”