Letters from Faramir
XIV: On the Road to Lothlorien, as described by Peregrine Took
It is still day – how can this be? I feel so drained, as if I have wept
for a hundred years. I would weep longer but Strider is pushing us
onward – away from that hated place – a place of doom. Never, ever will
I go willingly under a mountain, even though Gimli would say it is the
most beautiful in the world. Somehow I stumble along and even though we
are walking, the tears flow and I can’t stop them. The guilt grows
larger and larger. I hang my head in shame.
Suddenly, Boromir is beside me. There is nothing spoken between us. It
feels as if he is listening to my mind as it berates me of my folly.
Can he hear it in the silence of the Dale around us? My mind is
screaming at me, ‘Why did you throw that stone?’ He stands in front of
me and I can’t go on. ‘What is it, little one? What has your heart so
broken? It seems more than the loss of our friend.’ I try to speak, to
tell him that I caused Gandalf’s death, but I can’t. Always, words come
easily to me, but now - now. He frowns and I realize I miss his smile.
‘Pippin, you are burdened. Please, tell me what hurts your heart so?’ I
fling myself into his arms and he holds me and the torrent of words are
let loose in his kindness and I tell him of my failure, of my part in
Gandalf’s death. He doesn’t push me away. He holds me tighter and I am
able to cry freely – for everything – Weathertop, Caradhras, Hollin,
Moria. I’ve gotten the hiccups and he laughs. It is a gentle laugh and
there is no scorn or condemnation in the laugh. He offers me water and
I realize I’m very thirsty. After I finish, he takes my head in his
great hands. He looks into my eyes and I see love there – the same love
I have for him. ‘You did not cause Gandalf’s death, little one. How
many times had he told us we have choices? On the bridge at Khazed-Dum,
Gandalf had a choice. And he took the one that would cause the greater
good. It was his choice, Pippin, just as it was your choice to leave
the Shire and support your friends. You fought well in the great hall
and you obeyed Gandalf in all that he asked of you. I was very proud of
you. Yes, you caused him to snarl and growl at times, but you also
caused him to smile and laugh. You showed him courage, too, and perhaps
that is what helped him to make the choice to sacrifice himself for
Frodo and the Quest. Do you trust me, little one?’ I nod through my
tears. ‘Then trust me in this. There is no cause for you to burden
yourself with this guilt. What you are listening to is whispers of
lies. Don’t listen, my friend. Listen instead to me. You are a very
important part of this Fellowship and you are destined to do great
things. I feel it. You have courage. Now is the time to pull it out and
use it. Your friends, this Fellowship, need you strong. Shake off this
guilt and help us continue on our path. Can you do this?’ I nod my head
again and fall back into his arms. He ruffles my hair and stands me up
straight. I wipe my eyes on my sleeve, take a deep breath and look
around. It feels good to look around.
Sam and Frodo have gone off with Gimli. Merry and Legolas are chatting
and Strider – Strider is standing close by. I know he has heard, but
there is a smile upon his lips. His eyes are kind. ‘Come Pippin, Frodo,
Sam,’ is all he says, ‘time to be on our way.’ I feel foolish but I
hold Boromir’s hand and the earth feels good under my feet. I’m hungry.
Here’s a beautiful spring in front of us and I want to drench my feet
in its beauty, but Gimli stops me. ‘It is icy cold,’ he says. So we go
on. The spring runs into a stream and as we look, Legolas jumps on a
rock and starts telling us all about trees and golden leaves and a
place called Lothlorien. His face is beautiful in the telling and I
know I want to be there as fast as possible.
But something is wrong with Frodo and Sam. They are far behind us.
Legolas shouts for Strider who runs back to them, calling Boromir to
follow. I am so addled with my own self – what kind of Hobbit am I that
forgets his friends? I remember now that poor Sam and Frodo were hurt
during the battle by Balin’s tomb. And I remember how Frodo seemed to
struggle for breath on the steps. Boromir and Strider carry Sam and
Frodo. We finally reach a little sheltered dell and Strider stops. He
is tending them and Gimli has lit a fire. The pure sweet smell of
athelas fills the air. They are not seriously hurt. Strider says
something to Frodo about Bilbo’s mithril shirt. I start to laugh, for a
tune has entered my head from what he says. I start to hum. Gimli
wonders what I am singing. ‘Well, I will share it,’ says I.
‘Here’s a pretty Hobbit skin
To wrap an elven princeling in
In Moria did save his life
For Mithril ‘twas the fine device
The dwarf was shocked
The elf was mocked
And Hobbits to the sight did flock
A grander thing ‘twas never seen
By this young Took just past his tween – ses!’
I giggle and am happy again. The others look at me as if I have
suffered some fever. But Frodo, dear Frodo, claps his hands in delight.
Not as good as one of Bilbo’s but it was fun making it up!
We are off again – with nary a thought of food. Doesn’t Strider know a
growing Hobbit needs food? What’s this? Where does Boromir keep finding
these apples? It’s as if he has an unlimited pantry stuck under his
cloak. His smile is very bright and I walk along a little lighter for
We have been walking forever it would seem, and it is very dark now;
the wind is cold. I am starting to miss my nice little Hobbit hole when
I hear in the distance a lovely remembered sound. It is the sighing of
the wind in the trees and it reminds me of warmth and safety and quiet
Shire nights. Legolas is very happy and so is Strider. Boromir is very
disturbed. He doesn’t want to go into the woods. He speaks of this to
Strider and asks if there might be another way. But Strider won’t
listen to him and says something about bringing evil there. Boromir is
right though. He didn’t want us to go up Caradhras and we were almost
all killed there. Then he questioned going into Moria and there we lost
Gandalf. Now he is concerned about Lothlorien and suddenly, so am I.
What doom awaits us there? But we press on.
Boromir is definitely not happy, and I twist my mind trying to think of
something to say or do that will make him laugh. I’ve just used my best
song so far today - perhaps I should tell him about the time I fell
into the Brandywine three times in one day. Oh, he might think me a
fool. No, I know I can share it with him. He never thinks I’m foolish.
‘Boromir,’ I say to him, ‘did you know that one day I fell into the
Brandywine three times? Yes, I did. Well, there was this day. It
started out being a really beautiful day with the sun shining and
everything. Oh, did I tell you I broke a rock with my head that day
too? I’m getting ahead of myself. We went fishing. Well, of course it
was with Merry – who else? We had made dough balls and cleaned our
hooks and were really excited about spending the whole day fishing. As
soon as we got there, I tripped on a root of a tree, it was my favorite
sitting against letting the day go tree. You’d think I’d remember it
was there. I guess I was so excited that I just was going too fast. So
that was the first time. Of course, Merry was hmmm concerned….and
didn’t quite laugh out loud. We weren’t there another hour when I got a
little discouraged…the fish just were not biting much (not at all
really – and this was our honey hole) - so I started to go down by a
little clumpy area in the water near the edge – just to see what it
might be, when a creature jumped up snarling and ran past me. I was so
startled I fell back into the water. Merry came running. It was a fox.
I haven’t seen one that close in a long time with a beautiful nose and
a great furry tale. And Merry just stood there and laughed at me. It’s
a good thing it was a warm day; I still hadn’t dried out from the first
time. Well, it was now time for elevenses and we still hadn’t gotten
even a nibble on our lines, so we stopped and pulled out our foodstuff
- good stuff, Boromir, cheese and nice brown bread and some grapes. It
was perfectly delicious. I wish we could have some grapes now. Oh well,
on with the story. So after food, we decided to kind of lie down for a
bit, just to fool the fish into thinking we were napping or something.
The next thing I know, there is a great tug on my line – I must have
fallen asleep. I jumped up quickly trying to pull it in and the line
gets stuck on a log in the river. So I’m whipping it around, trying
frantically to get it unstuck and I’m not watching where my feet are
going and suddenly - slam – right into the side of the riverbed. There
was a great stone lying there and my head hit it as I fell and then I
tumbled into the water and there I was. Merry comes up laughing as if
he would burst and I’m looking at him as if he is daft and he says that
I’ve broken the stone with my head. I really think he is fooling me but
he holds it up and it is definitely in half and it is definitely a new
break. I won’t say I did it though. I don’t remember doing it and my
head certainly doesn’t hurt – much. And I lost the FISH. At least I
didn’t’ lose my pole. I lost my dough ball too. I have had it for the
day. I am done. Merry and I pull up our lines and we go off to Farmer
Maggott’s. Well that’s a tale for another day.’ Boromir has forgotten
all about his upsetness over Lothlorien and we laugh and continue on
We reach the Silverlode and Legolas is even happier. We cross it
quickly as it is cold, but I love the feeling of its cleanness on my
feet. I shudder as I remember the last water my feet touched – the
water by the Hollin Gate – the place where Frodo was almost taken by
the Watcher in the Water. But there seems to be a healing in these
waters, for the memory of that horror seems dimmed. And at last!
Strider says we will stop and eat! I am faint with hunger. A fire even!
What a wonderful night. After we finish supper, Legolas tells us some
more stories of elves and such and it is quite exciting. Gimli is
growling through most of it. Slowly Gimli settles down and I lie back
and can hear a waterfall flowing near me. Legolas starts to sing. It is
a sad song of lovers parted. He can’t finish it. It is strange – he
battles so readily and I would not want to be on the other end of his
arrows and yet – he is so gentle.
It’s time to find shelter for the night. Gimli suggests sleeping in the
trees. What a horrible thought! How can a Hobbit sleep in a tree?
Legolas starts to climb one when a voice from above us speaks. Legolas
tells us to be very still. Sam says they are elves and Legolas tells
Sam they said, ‘You breath so loud they could shoot you in the dark.’
Poor Sam – he covers his mouth but it’s too late now. I’m glad it
wasn’t me this time.
The elves speak quite a long time with Legolas and then with Strider.
They take Frodo and Sam and Legolas up into the tree. And we sit at the
bottom, like useless luggage, waiting to see what will happen. I am
tired and I just want to go to bed. I’m sure Frodo and Sam will be all
right. After all, Legolas is with them. Finally, one of the elves comes
down and says we may stay. We will spend the night in the flet
(whatever that is) and in the morning we will go meet someone. This elf
wants me to climb this tree – yes, it is a very nice rope ladder, but
Hobbits do not climb trees. At least not very often. Well, there is no
discussing it so up we go. I don’t like this at all. Boromir and
Strider have to go to another flet with Gimli and Legolas. The elves
don’t’ seem to trust Gimli. I wish I were with Boromir. He started
telling me a story about you, Faramir, and himself and a fishing trip
Ah, they are bringing food and there are grapes. This is a better
dinner than we had before. And some delicious drink. Well, I guess that
wasn’t too bad. But now it's time to sleep and I will not sleep here.
Frodo tells me this is where we are sleeping and to make the best of
it. Sam is off already. It feels strange not all of us sleeping
together. It’s been months now and this is the first time that we have
been separated. I feel a little cold and a little afraid. And I am sure
I’m going to fall off!