Ghosts, Snipes and Laughter

by Dinledhwen

The inky blackness of the cold night had descended over the forest. It seemed to crowd in around Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin as they sat close to their little campfire listening intently for any sound of approaching danger. However, all they heard was the crackling of the wood burning over the sound of their own hearts pounding with fear within their ears.

“Do you think there are ghosts out here Mr. Frodo?” Sam suddenly whispered although his voice still seemed loud in the inky silence.

“No Sam there aren’t,” Frodo replied while trying to sound convincing when he himself had been thinking the same thing.

“We would not be in this predicament Pippin if we had not followed another one of YOUR wild ideas,” Merry grumbled angrily as he glanced at Pippin.

As for Pippin, he said nothing but the expression on his face showed that he was feeling miserable about it.

“Merry it’s not fair to blame Pippin. After all you were just as keen as he was to do this in the beginning,” Frodo said while smiling at the younger Hobbit who quickly returned it with one of his own.

Suddenly Sam leaped to his feet and with a trembling finger pointed behind Merry. However, no word escaped from the scared hobbit his face now white as sheet.

“Sam what is it?” Frodo demanded while getting to his feet and looking in the direction his friend was still pointing to.

“I…I….just seen….a ghost Mr. Frodo,” was all Sam could stammer out.

By now, Merry and Pippin were standing too and staring in that direction but all they saw was the same inky blackness Frodo and Sam were looking at.

“My dear Sam please sit back down. No doubt it was just your imagination playing tricks on you,” Frodo said while gently taking a hold of Sam’s arm for he was still pointing so he could pull him back down to his place by the fire.

“I’m sorry Mr. Frodo. It is just that Rivendell is so spooky in the dark. It wasn’t like this at all in the daylight,” Sam muttered as he sat down.

“You have nothing to be sorry for Sam,” Frodo said gently while he sat down next to his friend. “And I agree it’s spooky here.”

Suddenly Merry who was still standing with Pippin pointed to the tree behind Frodo. “There IS a ghost out here and it’s behind that tree! I saw it!” he exclaimed his voice raising several octaves from fear.

“Well don’t keep us in suspense Merry! Tell us what you saw!” Pippin demanded as he cautiously peered out from behind his friend while Frodo and Sam looked in the same direction.

“All I saw was this…floating… head covered in long slightly gray hair since it hung down around where it the missing shoulders and chest would be,” he said excitedly. “Then it went behind that tree.”

“I’m sorry I got all of you into this mess!” Pippin whimpered as the four hobbits closed ranks and huddled next to the fire their wide eyes glued to the tree where the ghostly head had gone. “I never have been on a snipe hunt before. Aragorn made it sound like so much fun. How was I to know that we would get lost while we were doing it?”

Suddenly they heard a familiar elvish voice laughing at them from behind the tree. Then that which Merry had seen earlier appeared out from behind the tree and floated towards them until it stopped within the campfire’s circle of light.

After that, everyone was relieved to see the head belonged to Legolas and when the golden light of the fire illuminated his blonde hair and fair face, it momentarily enhanced the glow of the Eldar Frodo occasionally noticed surrounding the archer. It also revealed the elf still had his body, which had gone undetected in the inky blackness due to the forest greens and browns of its attire.

“Aragorn and his snipe hunts. I though he had out grown that childhood prank a long time ago,” Legolas said while he gave the hobbits a look of sympathy. “Nor are you lost Master Hobbit. If all of you four had continued but a little, further you would have been able to see the Last Homely house quite plainly.”

“You mean there ARE no such things as snipes?” a clearly disappointed Pippin asked.

“Nor are there elvish ghosts here in Rivendell’s forest.”

“Legolas what are YOU doing out here?” Frodo suddenly wanted to know.

“He’s out here spoiling my fun that is what he is doing!” an irritated Aragorn suddenly said as he approached the elf from behind.

“I think it’s time we catch ourselves a snipe happy Ranger!” Merry eagerly suggested and soon all four hobbits armed with their snipe ropes, rushed toward the frantically back pedaling man.

“No! Wait! It was just a joke!” was all he had time to say before he was gang tackled around the waist and legs which quickly topped him over to the leaf littered ground.

After that, Legolas laughed merrily while he watched as the hobbits deftly used their hands and ropes to tie up the Ranger their combined weight keeping him from wiggling out of their grasp.

“Don’t just stand there laughing! Help me!” he pleaded to the elf just as Sam tightened the last knot on the rope around his ankles his wrists already secured behind his back.

“I think not! I don’t want to be accused of spoiling your fun again!” Legolas replied gleefully. Then he bent over and whispered something into Frodo’s ear, which caused the hobbit to grin mischievously. After that, the elf gave the tied man a similar smile before he stepped back out of the campfire’s circle of light until he was nothing more than a ghostly floating head once more.

Now all of this coupled with the way the hobbits were huddling together while they conspired made Aragorn very nervous.

“Honestly! I only meant this snipe hunt to be a harmless joke!” he then blurted up at the mischievously grinning hobbits after they had broken their huddle and had surrounded him.

“Don’t worry snipe happy Ranger! Your punishment will be just as harmless!” Frodo said gleefully before he and the other hobbits set about to tickling the man on his ribs.

Instantly this had the helpless man laughing loudly and wiggling about in vain, as he tried to avoid this ticklish torture.

“Legolas…you told…not fair…” was all he could gasp out amongst peals of laughter.

“Oh it’s very much fair! Besides you yourself just got done saying the snipe hunt was a joke. Therefore, there is no better way to end it but with laughter!” the elf replied his own merry laughing now mixing in with the man’s and the hobbits since they had by this time started to laugh too.

Now all of their laughing left the man and hobbits breathless, teary eyed, and with an unspoken understanding that there would be no more snipe hunts.

As for Legolas, he had recovered quicker and now smiled in satisfaction when he sensed the latter. Then he turned and headed for the Last Homely house confident in the knowledge that his friends would eventually follow him there.