Glimpses through the Years

by MerryK

A series of Faramir tales inspired by the 23rd Psalm, set at some point in the Fourth Age

1. My Shepherd
(“The Lord is my shepherd...”)

Though the wind in his face thrilled him as the fields of Rohan sped past beneath the hooves of his horse, Faramir slowed his gallop to trot more carefully around a herd of sheep. The animals continued their rhythmic masticating of the tender green shoots, oblivious of anything beyond their slow world.

“Good day, lord Steward,” called the shepherd amiably, his face shaded beneath a floppy hat woven of straw.

“Good day,” responded Faramir, his heart light and his tongue freer because of it. “How do your sheep do?”

“They do well,” said the shepherd, sucking on a piece of grass. “It is good land for sheep.”

Faramir nodded as he drew closer to pass by. “It is indeed; Rohan is blessed with an abundance of that land. In Gondor we are hard pressed to find good sheep country, though we also have very few men who know what it is to be a good shepherd.”

“Ah, it is not so hard,” said the shepherd, brushing off the concern. “Why, surely your lordship must know this.”

Faramir laughed merrily. “I have never been near a sheep, save in the form of a leg of lamb, so what special knowledge could I have?”

The shepherd looked up at him as he sat high on his steed. “No, perhaps, but you are familiar with the process, though humans are more stubborn overall.”

Faramir smiled. His horse pranced to be away on another gallop, grumbling in its equine way,but he held it in check for his attention was caught. “Are you comparing the office of Steward to a shepherd’s post?” he asked.

“Yes, I am doing that,” said the shepherd with a vague grin as he stooped to pick a fresh piece of grass. “For do not your people look to you for everything, as my sheep do: for fresh water, for food, and for safety when dangers come, whether natural or enemy-made?”

“Perhaps,” said Faramir carefully, “but I do not shave their heads come summer.”

The shepherd laughed, a cracking laugh, but with a warmth to it. “No, I cannot say you do that, but can you not compare taxes and shearing? You take some of their belongings, then use it in a way that will benefit them, and they soon grow back what you took.” And he glanced up at Faramir with almost a challenge in his eyes.

“You are very shrewd man, good shepherd,” said Faramir wryly. “I am sure that your sheep benefit greatly from your wit being focused on their care.”

“What else is there to do in the day if I do not think?” said the shepherd with a grin. “Yes, I can make my living well, and theirs also. If I did not so, they would not follow wherever I lead. You see, we are both good shepherds in that way, my lord.”

Faramir dipped his head. “I thank you. May we both continue to endeavor to do the best for those who shelter under our rod.”

“Good day, lord Steward,” said the shepherd, bowing his own head. “And may you bear the Steward’s Rod with as much care as I do my own.”

And with a farewell nod, Faramir galloped across the fields again, the pounding of the fresh turf mingling with the rushing of wind in his ears once more.