Hobbit's Hallowe'en, with Frodo, Merry, and Pergrin
There was an ample stack of firewood at hand, but Frodo let the
campfire burn low. There were only the bed of glowing coals left from
their cookfire, like winking eyes of yellow and red with a few bluish
flames dancing like sprites across the rippling surface. The glow
underlit his face as he leaned forward, giving him a solemn and
mysterious look. Pippin held his breath; Frodo could tell the most
He paused for a moment, then continued his tale. "The hedge was high,
but the trees leaned over it. They reached out with their long,
branching fingers, to grab any hobbit fry who dared leave his bed after
nightfall!" Frodo spoke slowly and as he did, he reached his hands out,
looking up as if to catch a movement in the trees around them.
Pippin was sitting across the campfire, leaning close to Merry as they
listened to Frodo speaking. He was shivering with delighted terror, but
he was not truely afraid. He knew that he'd never come to harm in Merry
and Frodo's company, so he could really enjoy the thrill of the
darkness and the spooky fire.
He clutched Merry's arm as the firelight faded preceptably, so that all
around them the shadows of the trees seemed to reach over them. "The
trees?" he squeaked, burying his face in Merry's sleeve.
Merry laughed and put an arm around Pippin. "Ease off, Frodo! You're
scaring him out of a year's growth, and he's already so short his feet
barely reach the ground!"
"Very well!" Frodo relented. He reached behind him and laid a largish
log of wood on the coals. The flames licked it eagerly and the light
climbed up and made the trees shrink back to their former,
non-threatening shapes. "It is just a story, Pippin. There is no danger
"That's right!" agreed Merry. "Now, if you're ever in Buckland, it is
better to stay indoors at night, and don't wander near the High Hay nor
beyond. There the trees really are unfriendly. Not like here in
"The trees in the Green Hills are all friendly?" Pippin asked, searching his cousins's faces. "Promise?"
Frodo hastened to assure his little cousin that he was perfectly safe
with him and Merry, but he did add another log to the fire. He took
comfort in the bright blaze, too, and after Pippin had dropped off to
sleep after a last midnight snack, and he believed that Merry had
drifted off, too, Frodo sat up and kept the fire fed, his eyes scanning
the skies and the treetops, remembering...
There had been that night he had wandered into the Old Forest, when he
was still a lad in Buckland, chasing a light that he thought was Elves
walking between the trees. That had been the first night that he had
met Gandalf, though he did not learn his name at that time. Many years
after that, he had been walking in the Woody End, down further east
toward the Waymeet roads, when he had an ill adventure in the trees. He
had not told anyone about that day, except for Gandalf; the wizard had
rescued him that day, too.
With a wry smile, Frodo realized that Gandalf, in his quiet and
unimposing way, had in fact saved his life more times than he had
considered. I really ought to do something for him, Frodo thought,
poking the fire with a long stick to keep the cinders from leaping out
of the circle of stones. But what can I do for a Wizard? Surely, if he
had any need, he could take care of it himself...
"Frodo?" Merry lifted his head and nodded at him. "What are you doing still awake?"
Frodo made a shh! gesture, pointing toward the smaller bundle of
blankets next to Merry. Merry carefully slipped away from Pippin and
joined Frodo on his side of the fire. "I was just thinking. A sky full
of stars and a bright fire are good for thinking," Frodo said softly.
"You're worried about something," Merry stated. Frodo glanced at him
sharply, but Merry did not blink or back down. "I know you," he said
simply, stretching his hands out to the warm caress of the flames. Out
of his blanket, the night had grown cold. He wondered that Frodo did
not seem to feel it. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Frodo shrugged uncomfortably as Merry continued to stare at
him. He never really could lie very convincingly to Merry, or to anyone
he considered a friend. "Well, really, I was just thinking about...
well, about Gandalf," Frodo finally admitted. "I was thinking it would
be nice to do something for him for a change. He has done so much for
me and for Bilbo, when he was still here in the Shire..." Frodo's face
grew wistful; so he often appeared when he spoke about his uncle. Merry
looked away, telling himself that it was so Frodo wouldn't be
embarassed. He had a lump in his own throat to try to swallow before he
"He comes and goes without a note or notion, these days," Merry managed
finally to say. "It would be hard to anticipate him, but you might make
him a gift and keep it at hand, for when he does appear. Would he like
"How can one repay a life with a gift? Oh, I am sure he would be
grateful, whatever I tried to do; but what does a wizard need? When he
does comes by... on these more and more infrequent and shortened
visits... he seems only to want to know about me, what I've been
doing,and my heath and such. He promised Bilbo that he'd look after me,
I guess. I wonder if he'd even come by, if my uncle had not asked this
of him." Frodo sounded very small as he said this, almost bitterly sad.
Merry stared at Frodo incredulously. "That's rubbish!" he said loudly.
Pippin started and stirred, and they both remained silent until the
little Took fell back to sleep. "Sorry!" Merry said, genuinely
contrite. "Sorry, but I just don't believe that! If Gandalf is a
wizard, as Bilbo has always said, then surely he has ways of knowing
things without even having to appear and see them. Wizards talk to
trees and birds and things, am I right?"
Frodo searched his memory. "I don't recall Gandalf ever talking to a tree or a bird, but I guess you might be right..."
"If Bilbo could talk to a thrush, then I am sure Gandalf can talk to
birds, too. He talked to that giant Eagle in Bilbo's story!"
Frodo smiled at his cousin. "Gwaihir could speak in Man's tongue, Merry."
"Whatever. Still! Gandalf needn't step foot in the Shire to learn of
your doings, I am sure. He comes to visit you because he likes you, and
because Bag End is a comfortable and pleasant place to rest. I think he
gets tired from all his wandering. I'll bet he enjoys coming to visit
you, more than you know."
Merry wasn't sure why he felt the need to reassure Frodo, but he felt
very much in earnest all that he said. "I'll bet that just knowing that
he is welcome to come and sit at the garden window with a cup of tea
and a chat with you is the best thing he can think of; his very
Frodo laughed, a little louder than he had ment to. Pippin rolled over
and peered at them sitting together, whispering and chortling. "Wha's
so funny?" Pippin knuckled his eyes. "It's the middle of the night!
What are you two doing? What's wrong?"
"We were just coming to bed, Pip," Frodo said, cuffing Merry lightly on
the arm. "There is nothing wrong at all, my lad. All's well." He took
his blanket and settled down to one side of his youngest cousin, while
Merry lay on the other. Still chuckling, they both drifted to sleep at