Inkling Challenge: Take the Fellowship to Work/School

by Nuroreiel

Merry and Pippin Go To Camp

I wrote this in honor of my daughter, who spends her summers at Girl Scout day camp. Hope you enjoy it.

A Day At Camp:

Meghan had just finished breakfast when Merry and Pippin strolled in, munching on apples.

“I can’t hang out with you today,” Meghan told them. “I have to hurry or I’ll miss the bus.”

“Great! Where are we going?” asked Pippin.

“I’m going to camp,” she said. “But I don’t think you can come.”

“You’d have to tie us up in a sack to leave us behind!” Merry declared.

Meghan sighed and gave in. “But let me do the talking!” she warned.

There was a little trouble when the head counselor, Joan, didn’t want to let Merry and Pippin in because they weren’t pre-registered. Meghan quickly explained that they were visiting from out of town and would only be there for the day.

“But they can’t go barefoot!” Joan protested.

“Oh, umm - those are just some new, uh, sneakers,” Meghan improvised. “Yeah, everybody wears this where they come from.”

The counselor looked skeptical, but the innocent smiles on the Hobbits’ faces convinced her. “Names?” she asked, pen poised above her clipboard.

“Merry and Pippin,” Meghan told her.

“Oh, how nice - my sister’s name is Mary!” she exclaimed. “Well, dears, I hope you have a good day with us!”

Merry opened his mouth, but Meghan hurried them away before he could comment. She was just glad that Joan was rather near-sighted and hadn’t looked too closely at the boys.

As they went to Meghan’s unit, Merry and Pippin looked around. “They’re all girls!” Merry whispered to Pippin.

“It’s a Girl Scout camp,” said Meghan. “You’re just going to have to try to fit in for the day.”

“Forget about that,” Pippin cried excitedly. He pointed into the trees. “Look! Mushrooms!” Before Meghan could stop them, the two Hobbits dashed off to examine a patch of mushrooms. She was trying to get their attention when her unit counselor, Sue, came up.

“I understand we have two visitors today,” she said, eying them curiously. “What are they doing?”

“They’re, well, they study mushrooms,” Meghan said, beginning to get a little tired of finding explanations for her odd friends.

“Oh, wonderful!” Sue said enthusiastically. “Maybe they’d give a talk to the other girls about which mushrooms are safe to eat and which to avoid.”

That got Pippin’s attention. “Eat?” he asked. “Good - time for second breakfast! We can fry up some of these mushrooms and I think I have some carrots with me…” He and Merry began to go through their pockets, emptying out an assortment of food.

“Actually, we have waterfront before lunch,” Sue replied, looking at her watch. “We’d better get over there or we’ll be late.”

Meghan was frantically stuffing things back into their pockets. “We’ll be right there!” she said, waving Sue towards the beach. Everything finally got picked up and they hurried down to the waterfront, Merry and Pippin each eating a lembas on the way to hold them over until lunch.

Meghan explained to Maggie, the lakefront counselor, that her visitors had no bathing suits, so they were assigned to the rowing group. After exchanging their coats for life vests (“funny kind of armor,” commented Pippin), Merry and Pippin climbed cautiously into the canoe and looked expectantly at Meghan.

“Oh, no,” she said firmly. “You wanted to come today, so you have to help row!”

“Boromir never made us row,” Merry said under his breath.

“Never let us row, you mean,” corrected Pippin. “I didn’t think it looked that hard. C’mon! It’ll be fun!”

Meghan had barely seated herself when they each grabbed an oar and began pulling enthusiastically. The result was rather alarming - the canoe shot out into the lake, but since they weren’t rowing evenly it veered madly from side to side. Meghan was yelling, Maggie was yelling from the shore, and other boaters were yelling and trying to get out of the way. It looked more like a watery version of bumper cars than rowing lessons.

“I think we’ve got it now!” called Merry - so of course about one second later all three of them were in the water. Meghan swam over to the two sputtering Hobbits, grabbed their life vests and towed them into shore. Then she and another girl swam back to the canoe, managed to right it and pulled it back to shore as well. By then the irrepressible pair had recovered and were watching the procedure with great interest.

“You did that very well,” they told Meghan, who just shook her head.

“You fool Hobbits!” she said, but it was hard to stay mad at them.

The rest of the day went a little more smoothly. Merry and Pippin were a big hit at lunch time, showing the girls how to start a good fire and how to cook vegetables over it. “It’d be better with some nice crispy bacon and sausages,” said Pippin, “but we have tomatoes and potatoes and mushrooms and carrots, so it’ll do for a snack.”

Craft time was decorating containers and planting seeds in them. Merry and Pippin’s drawings looked suspiciously like the flags of Rohan and Gondor, but the counselor didn’t seem to realize that and complimented them on their artwork.

Of course, being Hobbits, they enjoyed the planting part (especially since the seeds would grow into herbs), but - - “Sam should be here,” Merry said a little wistfully, carefully covering his seeds. Pippin merely nodded. Meghan could tell they were starting to miss their friends.

“Cheer up!” she said. “We’ll see everyone at supper tonight and you can tell them all about your day!” They both smiled again, although she wasn’t sure if it was at the thought of their friends or more food…

Before leaving for home, it was the camp custom to gather around the main camp-fire to toast marshmallows and sing songs. Everything was fine until Joan asked the two visitors if they could sing a song. Merry and Pippin started into an enthusiastic rendition of “Hey, ho to the bottle I go!”. Meghan choked on her cider, dropped her stick into the fire and jumped up to stop them.

“Uh, guys,” she said. “Not that one. How about The Road Goes Ever On?”

They looked a little surprised, then shrugged and began to sing Bilbo’s traveling song. Meghan joined in, and they taught the other girls the first verse before the buses came and it was time to leave.

“Well, I hope your friends had a good time today,” said Joan as they boarded the bus. “It was certainly -- interesting -- having them here.”

“That was fun” announced Merry as they headed homeward. “Can we come again tomorrow?”

“Aaarrrggghhh!” cried Meghan.