Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

by Lady Lindiriel
Goldilocks and the Three Trolls

"…Since from the tending I've gained bountifully, I'll stay a Gardner all eternity." Sam finished. Eight hobbit children shifted positions and Elanor, Rose, and Daisy all gave their beloved father a hug. Rosie smiled contentedly off to the corner, rocking baby Primrose despite her swelling belly's attempts to make rocking the baby impossible. Goldilocks sat with a dour expression on her face.

"Goldi-lass, what's the matter? You look like you've swallowed a bee, if you take my meaning!" Sam said teasingly.

Goldilocks pouted for a few moments, but Sam and all the rest of the family waited patiently for her to answer. Eventually, the hobbit-lass could hold it in no longer. "It's not fair Dad! I'm not a flower like the other girls so your poem's no good for me! Why can't you ever write something for me?" Goldilocks whined.

Frodo-lad retorted, "Dad's always writing you little songs and stuff. You got no reason to complain!" Chaos ensued.

Sam looked over at Rosie for help, but she just shrugged as if to say he had gotten himself into this and could get himself back out again. He loudly cleared his throat a few times to gain his young civil war's attention. "How about a story then? We'll put Goldilock's name to it since she asked first this time, though it's a very old story. This is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Trolls. Once upon a time..."

"Wait, Dad! Did it really happen? Is this like old Mr. Bilbo's story you tell us sometimes?" Merry interrupted.

"Oh, it's different from old Mr. Bilbo's story and that's a fact! But whether it's true or not, I'll let you decide. You're smart enough young hobbits. A far piece more than your old Dad, I'm thinking. Comes from your Mum, it does! But ninnyhammers! I've gotten off on a coney trail. Where was I?"

"Once upon a time..." sighed Elanor as she rolled her eyes at Merry with characteristic tween-ness. She was getting her practice early.

"Right! Thank you lass! So. There was once a young hobbit-lass with most unusual golden curls that explained her name. This child was most curious and that sometimes got her in a bit of trouble.

"Like all good, healthy hobbit-children Goldilocks liked to eat. If she ever missed one of her six meals, her mum began to fret for her. But also like all good, healthy hobbit-children Goldilocks liked to be outside in the fields and woods a lot. Her mum didn't like her to go too far though and this made Goldilocks mad as a hornet!

"So one day, after first breakfast, she sneaked out of her home and decided to walk as far as it pleased her. Of course she took some apples with her for second breakfast. Ten, if you want to know."

"Don't be silly, Dad! You know a hobbit-lass can only carry six or so apples at a time, an' I've seen 'em try more too!" said young Pippin very matter-o-fact.

"That's so, my boy, if all they use is their own hands. But Goldilocks had taken her mum's egg basket to carry more apples in. And baskets, as you well know, can carry a lot of apples!" Sam replied.

"So anyway, here she was eating apples and dropping the cores as she went, traipsing about her merry way with no thought about how far she had gone. Now mind you, this little Goldilocks lived away in Buckland. Without realizing it, she had wandered into the Old Forest!"

Eight young hobbits gasped with fear and anticipation.

"Goldilocks was a bit worried, mind you, but she kept on. She knew she would catch it hard when her mum and dad found her out so she was determined to enjoy herself full well if she could. I'm sure none of you know what I'm talking about, now do you?" Sam paused.

Silence truly can be deafening.

"Well, whether you do or not, that's how Goldilocks felt. She really wasn't a bad hobbit-child, she was just extra curious, that's all. She kept walking and the trees got thicker and the ground got swampier, and suddenly, what do you think she saw? A little rough-made stone cottage in the woods. 'Well,' says she, 'It's too late for elevensies or even luncheon. I'll just have to invite myself for tea!' Now can you believe that?

"Goldilocks goes right up and knocks on the door. No one answers but the wind. She knocks harder this time. The door creaks open on its rusty hinges to show….!" Sam paused again, this time for effect.

"What, Dad?" Goldilocks asked worriedly.

"She saw… nothing! The house was empty. Goldilocks stepped inside, but she was a sight more careful stepping in than she had been with knocking. She took a peep around the room. In front of her stood a huge table! And what do you think was on the table? It was porridge, and in three big bowls.

"Goldilocks was starving by now, if you take my meaning, and she wanted to help herself to the food, no matter if she was used to having porridge for her breakfasts instead of tea. She climbed up onto the table and dipped her finger into the first bowl. Ouch!" shouted Sam, and all of his children started noticeably.

"That bowl was piping hot as if it had just come from the kettle, and indeed it had! She crawled over to the second bowl and braced herself in case it was hot too. …Oi!" Sam shouted this time. "It was cold as ice!" Primrose woke up suddenly and began wailing.

"Here, let me have her a minute, Rosie. You take a rest," Sam offered guiltily.

"Lands, no! I know you mean well, if you take my meaning, but sweetheart, you've only told two of the three bowls, and I doubt your bellowing would help calm hers any! No, you go on. I'll be back in a while." She turned to go down the passage to the baby's room, but stopped and looked behind her. "Thank you though for offering, dear!" Rosie smiled at Sam and continued on her way.

"So what was in the third bowl, Dad?" Elanor asked eagerly (though trying not to show it).

"I'm glad you asked! Little Goldilocks crawled over to the third bowl. She winced something awful before sticking her finger in this one, but she went ahead anyway. Ohhhh!!!! This one was perfect! She ate it up faster than you can say 'Tom Bombadil.'

"Then Goldilocks realized her feet were a bit tired and she wanted to put them up. On a couch or something, if you understand me. She wandered into the next room. There she found three different sized stools. The first one and the biggest was all full of splinters. She got off it right fast! The second medium sized one was polished so well that she slipped off of it twice! Then she sat on the smallest and littlest stool. It was a little rickety, but it had a cushion and it felt just right! So Goldilocks sat and sat and sat until SNAP! The stool broke all to pieces underneath her! Mind you, she had et a lot of apples that morning, and porridge too! All of this excitement had made Goldilocks very tired, so what do you think she did?"

"I know!" shouted Merry and Pippin at the same time. "She went over to the bedroom!"

Sam winked at them. "You would think so wouldn't you, and you'd be awfully close too. But she was in a house like what the big people live in, and she had to go up steps! Well, Goldilocks was oh, so tired by now and didn't care about her fear of heights to let it stop her. She would worry about coming down later, she decided.

"At the top of the stairs was a bedroom of course. And like everything else there were three beds. The first bed was as big as her whole bedroom! She jumped into it and jumped right back out again. It was stuck full of nettles!

"Then she carefully tried the middle bed. She sunk into it like she had sat in a vat of custard! That was certainly no good! Goldilocks was about to give up, but she remembered that the third ones around here usually turned out right.

"Goldilocks sat down on the third bed which was just the right size. For a big person, that is, but she didn't care by this point, if you take my meaning. It felt like goose-down from back home and was covered with a warm quilt and had a soft hide pillow, though she wasn't sure what animal's hide it was. In any case, she laid down and was soon fast asleep," Sam said.

"More, Dad?" asked little Daisy.

"There certainly is! While Goldilocks slept upstairs, the owners of the house came back. They were three day-troll brothers, and had been out on a day long raid. By day-trolls, I mean of course ones that don't turn to stone in the light, though they certainly aren't friends with the bright face in the sky!

"Now these trolls, they looked about their house with shock on their wrinkled and cracked faces. 'Someone's been eating my porridge!' bellowed the biggest troll. 'Well, someone's been eating my porridge too!' said the middle-biggest troll. 'Quit yer whining! Someone's been eating my porridge and et it all up!' said the smallest troll (which was still quite monstrous).

"They walked into the living room to sit sadly before the fire missing their porridge when they stopped dead in their tracks. 'Someone's been sitting on my stool!' shouted Big Burat. 'Someone's been sliding on my stool' cried Middling Will. 'But look at my stool! Someone's been sitting on it and broke it all to pieces!' said 'Tiny' Toma." Sam stopped here a moment to survey his children's worried expressions.

"Now I know you're not worried about Little Goldilocks, are you?" he asked.

"Of course I'm worried about me! I mean... her!" said Goldilocks. "What if they squash her and grind her bones to make their bread?!"

"Now what would give you such a gruesome idea as all that? Well, I suppose we'll just have to find out then. Of course the three trolls went upstairs. It was a bit dark now, so it was hard for them to see very far into the room. They could tell something was wrong though, and that's a fact! 'Someone's been sleeping in my bed!' whispered Big Burat. 'Someone's been sleeping in my bed!' growled Middling Will. 'Ungh! Someone's been sleeping in my bed and here she is!" howled 'Tiny' Toma.

"Goldilocks woke up in a fright and shrieked worse than a Barrow Wight ever did! She was so scared that she jumped out of the window, thankfully landing on a cushiony bush on her way out. She ran and ran and ran, never to see the trolls again. As she got closer to Buckland though, her legs got so tired she didn't think she could run anymore.

"Thankfully, a farmer was driving a cart full of hay on his way from Bree and saw the poor hobbit-lass. He took pity on Goldilocks and gave her a ride. They were almost to her home when a cat ran under the cart and Goldilocks couldn't resist leaning over the side to look just as they hit a bump in the road. The cart went toppling over! No one was hurt but that's where we get the old saying, 'curiosity keeled the cart!'

"Goldilocks got home and once her parents made sure she was safe, they were a bit angry, if you understand me, but they didn't have the heart to punish the poor hobbit-lass. After that, Goldilocks never ventured far from home again and lived to be a good sensible hobbit of a great old age! The end!"

All the hobbits, including Rosie who had returned at about the discovery of the stools, sat contentedly.

"All right. It's high time all young hobbits went outside so your mum and I can have time to cook for all your hungry bellies! Go and play, and don't wander too far, see!"

"We won't, Dad!" returned a small chorus of hobbit voices.

Sam and Rosie stood and watched them go; then Rosie snuggled up against Sam, laying her curly head against his chest. His arms came about her and one care-worn hand gently stroked her locks.

"I love you, Samwise Gamgee."

"And I love you, Rosie-sweet."

They lingered there for a moment, enjoying the brief respite, then silently clasped hands and walked together down the halls into the kitchen to continue the day's unending preparations.