Out of the Frying Pan: a Hobbit Yule
by Orangeblossom Took
How Frodo managed to hide it from Sam would remain a mystery to the
faithful Hobbit but he knew enough of Elves to suspect Master Elrond
had something to do with it. Sam was speechless and gazed on the
precious object with wonder as it gleamed in the copious candlelight
spilling from windows of Bag End to join the moonlight in shining on
the fresh snow blanketing the garden.
It was winter in the Shire, the darkest day of the year, in fact,
as the Shire-folk were accustomed to bringing in boughs of evergreen
and red berries to brighten their houses during darkest days. They lit
their homes without regard to economies of wax, exchanged gifts, and
made themselves merry with food, drink, and good company. If the Mayor
had considered the matter thoroughly, he would have been suspicious of
receiving such a gift more than a year after they had left Rivendell
for the last time but Frodo’s leaving was such a horrible thought to
him that he never questioned why the frail Hobbit seemed intent upon
divesting himself of any of his worldly goods that might prove useful
to his kith and kin. Anyway, it was Yule and not time to dwell on
Frodo, for his part, had an amused smile on his face and looked
very much as Rosie’s large, brown tabby-cat did when it caught a
particularly juicy mouse. He remember how, the autumn before last, he
had been resting and reading amide the gold and russet of Elrond’s
garden when, in a rustle of silken robes, the Elf Lord sat next to him
on the ornate stone bench and asked him what prized object he might
Frodo could think of nothing for himself save for healing and he
had been given as much of that as he could get on this side of the
sundering sea. However, he informed the Half-Elven, Sam needed
something. Elrond quirked an elegant black eyebrow and leaned toward
Frodo to hear the Hobbit’s whispered request.
When he heard Frodo’s wish, Elrond’s laugh rang merrily in the crisp
air and he laughed again at the bemused expression on his smith’s face
when he gave him the order.
“That is a kingly gift, my lord,” he said, “But, although it is
much less than the Bearer of the Ring deserves, I confess my heart
quails at the thought of using such a precious metal to make such a
There was some severity in Elrond’s voice when he replied, “It is
what he desires, Master Smith. It is not our place to question. There
have been baser objects made of Mithril, to be sure, and, if the item
is homely, it will be nobly used. Anyway, what use will precious metal
be to us across the sea?”
The smith hung his head and assented that Elrond had the right of
it. He took much care in making what Frodo asked for because of the
esteem in which all Elves held the Ring-bearer. When it was presented
to Frodo, the Hobbit smiled to think of Sam’s reaction when he saw it
and secreted it away for a special occasion.
That occasion came amid the festivities of Frodo’s final Yule in
the Shire and he had begun to realize that his time was, in fact short.
For the minute, however, he would enjoy his cousins, the goose, the
potatoes, pie, hot cider, and the last of Bilbo’s old Winyards. The
smell of fresh, vanilla-scented beeswax from the multitude of burning
candles mingles with the scent of pine and the rosy glow from the
fireplace melted the trouble from his bones. When Sam finally found his
voice, it brought Frodo back to the present.
The Mayor of Hobbiton held up a gleaming pan which mirrored the
candlelight and his and Frodo’s faces.
“You shouldn’t have, my dear Frodo,” said Sam, “Isn’t there something
you could’ve asked for yourself?”
“No, Sam” he said, “What I need, that couldn’t give me. We could not
have survived without your pans in any case and I know you grieved over
them. I daren’t have asked for a full set of such precious stuff but I
daresay you could fry up a nice batch of potatoes or eggs and bacon in
The eyes of both Hobbits became moist as they shared certain memories
and they tearfully embraced.
Then the smell of mulling spices and a knock on the door brought
them back to the present and Pippin, looking more rosy-cheeked and
cheerful than either of the older Hobbits had seen him in a great
while, arrived with a pretty, golden-eyed lass who he introduced as
Diamond of Long-Cleeve. This was especially gratifying to Frodo, who
felt it like a cold dagger searching for his heart when he thought of
the tender age at which his cousin had endured great danger because of
Then Rosie came in and everyone admired little Elanor and said there
never was a prettier little lass. Frodo noticed Rosie’s swelling
abdomen and gave Sam a look that made him blush and admit they were
They all toasted, Rosie with the cider and the rest of the party with
the last of the Winyards. Merry arrived with the lass he was courting,
Estella, and they made merry until the fire died down and the stars
were fading into a pink and lavender dawn.
If the fragile Frodo felt weary, you wouldn’t have known it from the
way his face shone with wine and laughter and, although many gifts were
exchanged that night, none was exclaimed over and admired as much as
Sam’s mithril frying pan.