And Back Again

by Onómir (aka Onóno Laivindur)

(Dedicated to my sister Donna at her turning 50, a Proper age for a Hobbit)

Passed midsummers eve it was, in that golden time of summer, before the harvesting began. The warm lazy days, and nights, in the Shire when family and friends could vacation and visit, or do nothing at all.

The Green Dragon was full every evening until late.

The children had begged Samwise to build a platform in the Mallorn tree just like the wood elves had. And so he did.

With the elvish rope knotted for climbing Samwise showed them all how to climb and the children dared each other to be first and giggled and laughed nervously as each made the way up to the platform. The smallest ones hung about Gamgee’s neck and he brought all that wanted to up to the platform midway up the branches of the golden tree.

The children were amazed at far they could see, further than any would dare venture from the Shire indeed, “Until we grow older.” Boasted the eldest of them.

The smallest girl tugged on Samwises’ shirt tail and pointed at him where she could see small scars in a row on his neck and shoulder and asked. “Uncle Gamgee what are those marks? Did a wolf or a bear bite you?”

“No little one, not a wolf or a bear, nor any animal at all. It was Gollum!” Samwise raised his voice at that, and every child clung to the other, wide eyed.

“What’s a Gollum uncle?” The little red headed girl asked shyly.

“Sit about in a circle and I’ll tell you.” Samwise whispered and gestured them to gather about him.

“It is always best to start any journey at the beginning, so my old Gaffer would say, and this tale begins with Bilbo Baggins who found a special ring that used to belong to Gollum.” Samwise began, and told much of the story until the sun dipped beyond the furthest hills and parents called and came to gather the little ones by ones and twos and sixes.

“Until tomorrow then.” Samwise called down “And bring a lunch.”

Rose Gamgee came by after dark and called up to her Sam. “Coming home dear? The children are waiting to be tucked in.” She added.

“Not tonight Rose. I think I need to be alone tonight, if that’s ok?” He asked humbly, hoping she would understand.

“ I love you Samwise Gamgee. Sleep well.” Rose smiled.

“Thanks Rosie, you too.” Sam leaned over the edge and blew her a kiss goodnight. “I love you too.”

Rose looked up and caught his kiss.

“Galadriel!” She called back to him and the rope slipped loose its knot and fell in a looped pile at her feet.

“Rose!” Sam shouted.

“Good night my love.” Rose called over her shoulder as she headed back to Bag Shot Row.

“Good night my love.” Sam whispered and laid back with his hands tucked beneath his head looking at the stars twinkle between the branches and leaves of the tree gifted to him by Galadriel.

“I’m back.”