The Bedtime Story
by Orangeblossom Took
A youthful-looking Hobbit woke with a start, intelligent eyes snapping
open. It was such a soft sound that disturbed his slumber and it was
surprising that he even heard it from rooms away. He did seem to have a
deep connection with his young kinsman already and the grief in those
gentle sobs could, perhaps, carry further than less emotional sounds.
He was concerned about the lad, who had lost his parents so tragically,
and then gotten lost among all those wild Brandybucks. He wondered if
he ought to go see to his young cousin or if that would just be seen as
an intrusion. Well, he couldn’t just lay there and not do something to
help. He would just be mindful of Frodo’s dignity, for the fry was
rather decorous for one of his years.
He lit a candle and walked first to the kitchen, where he gathered some
oatmeal cookies and milk. When he reached Frodo’s door, he knocked and
said, “Lad, I couldn’t sleep and I noticed you were awake. Maybe a
snack and a story would help us both to get back to sleep?”
There was a moment of silence while the youngster steadied himself,
then he replied, “You do tell wonderful stories, Bilbo. I hope I didn’t
wake you. I had a nightmare.”
“No, not at all, lad,” he lied smoothly, “when you are as old as I am,
you don’t sleep as deeply.” In a quiet, solemn voice he asked, “Was it
about your parents?”
The fry just nodded and hugged his pillow close to his chest. He did
not want to take about the deaths of his parents tonight and Bilbo
wasn’t about to harass the boy about it. No stories involving water
then, he thought. He knew just the thing.
“Frodo-lad,” he asked, “did I ever tell you about the time Radgast the
Brown came to the aid of a boy who had been turned into a raven?”
Bilbo embellished the story when vivid descriptions of the raven-boy
flying in a blue sky with his strong wings outstretched and a good west
wind blowing off the sea and lifting him up to the sun.
Now, Frodo was normally a very attentive lad and duly appreciative of
the fact that Bilbo knew all kinds of stories that no one else in the
Shire knew; stories of people and places completely removed from the
sleepy, green land of the Hobbit but he drifted off to sleep and
dreamed of soaring through the clouds on glistening black wings.
Bilbo smiled and tucked the blankets around Frodo’s chin before making
his way back to his own bed. He liked having the lad around and thought
he had made a good choice of heir. Confound the Sacksville-Bagginses,
anyway. He nestled into his featherbed and signed with contentment to
think that, after his time ended, there would still be a Baggins under
the Hill and a very worthy one at that.