The Patch of Clover

by Harthad

Young Frodo, in the Shire. . . .

"Uncle Bilbo! Look what I found!" Frodo called as he raced toward Bag End, accidentally trampling the shamrocks Sam was planting.

"Yes my dear boy, what is it?" Bilbo hobbled out the front door to meet Frodo.

"A four-leaf clover, Uncle! I'll have good luck for the rest of the year!"

"That's wonderful, Frodo. Now where did you find this clover?"

"Near Sandyman's mill, Uncle. He has a whole patch of clovers growing near the riverside!"

"Huh. I bet they're not as good as my shamrocks, Mr. Frodo, pardon me saying."

"No, Sam, your shamrocks are probably the finest in the whole Shire."

Sam blushed at the compliment.

"Sam, Frodo, would you like to know how those clovers came to be by the Mill? The tale is very interesting, if I do say so myself."

Frodo knew that if his Uncle, who had traveled far and wide, came to regard one of the Shire's own stories as interesting, it was probably very good.

Sam just wondered if this tale, like so many others of Bilbo's, had elves in it.

*********

Pippin quickly ran over the hills to get to Bag End. He had to deliver a very important message to Bilbo, Sam and Frodo before the end of the day.

Whump!

A body with dirty blond curls crashed into Pippin, sending him tumbling down the hill on which he was climbing up.

"Merry! Did you have to do that?!"

"Sorry, Pip. Just was going too fast, I didn't see you."

"Oh. Well, that's alright then. See you!"

Pippin jogged down the hill a little ways before Merry called,

"Pippin! Where you off to?"

He turned around to face Merry.

"Bag End! I have to deliver a very important message!"

Merry raced down the hill to reach Pippin.

"What kind of a message?"

Pippin giggled and whispered conspiratorially into Merry's ear. A look of understanding came across his face, followed by a smile.

"Okay. We can't be late. C'mon!"

They ran down the hill to Bag End only to find Bilbo starting a story. Frodo beckoned them to sit by him.

"We have a secret message, Frodo." Pippin whispered into his ear.

"Tell it after the story is done." Frodo whispered back.

"Once, when there were no hobbits living here, a very long time ago, elves visited these lands. They cultivated them and made them into the green fields you see today. But one elf, whose name was Clover, would only sing. He sang and sang while the other elves planted and planted.

"Why do you sing, when the plants need us?" the elves inquired of him.

"I sing because the plants do not need my help, they are doing beautifully without me." Clover answered them.

"That is because we work day and night to help them!" The others said angrily.

The elves got very mad at Clover for not tending to the plants as he should have been, so they cast him out into the wild.

As Clover left the elves, he sang a final song to them.

"Home is behind
the world ahead.
And there are many paths to tread.
Through shadow,
To the edge of night.
Until the stars are all alight.
Mist and Shadow,
Cloud and Shade.
All shall fade,
All shall fade."


And as he sang that song to them, a patch of clover sprouted up near the riverbank, where he was standing. And, to this day. . . . "

"And to this day, that patch of clover sprouts every spring." finished Sam, surrounded by Elanor and Little Frodo in Bag End.

" But Da, what was the secret message that Uncle Merry and Uncle Pippin had?"

"An' what did Uncle Fwodo do wit the cwover, Da?"

Sam smiled.

"Well, Frodo, Uncle Frodo gave the lucky clover to me. Would you like to see it?"

"Yes, please!" they chorused.

Sam got up from his chair and strode over to a shelf on which a tiny box was resting. He took it down and opened, revealing a layer of blue fabric where a preserved four-leaf clover lay.

Elanor and Little Frodo hobbled over to where the box was in Sam's hand. He held it lower so they could gaze upon the little clover.

Elanor looked up at Sam and asked,

"But what was the secret message, Da?"

"Oh, the secret message, Eli? It wasn't really secret at all, if you knew what the day was."

"But what was it?"

"You haven't guessed yet? Oh, alright, I'll tell you. It was,

"Happy Spring!"