Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
we'll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
and then to bed! And then to bed.
- The Fellowship of the Ring.
'Why are some winters worse than
others? Why does snow fall? Where does it come from?' These thoughts
swirled through Peregrin Took's mind, as the snow outside swirled about
the Shire. As Pippin looked out the kitchen window, questions filled
his heart. His dearest friend, Meriadoc Brandybuck, always said he
thought too much, asked too many questions, looked in places he
shouldn't; but questions were as breathing to this Hobbit. He could not
quell the questions that assailed him minute by minute, not even if he
wanted too. The only thing that seemed to sway him from too much
thinking was food. The pleasing aroma coming from behind him awoke that
hunger in him again. Turning, he looked back to where Sam was puttering
about the fireplace. A large black pot simmered slowly over the fire.
Sam was stooped over it, wafting the smell from it towards his nose.
Pip had to laugh. Well, at least this is the way Sam answered one
question, 'Is the stew done yet?' Pippin sighed, wishing that all his
questions could so easily be answered by the mere waving of a hand.
They had gathered together in Sam’s smial, those of the Nine Walkers
left in Middle-earth and their friends. It was hard to think of it as
Sam's smial. Too long had it been Bilbo's, but the old Hobbit had left
it to his nephew… cousin… friend. Frodo, in turn, left it to Sam. It
was a special day for Pippin, and his friends decided that he needed
company, this day of all days. So they had conspired to meet under the
pretext of the smial's roof leaking and Sam needing help to fix it.
Only once arrived did Pippin discover their subterfuge. It was February
"My friends," Pippin said after they had finished the stew, the
cherry tarts, the apple dumplings and every last piece of bread in any
cupboard within the smial. They had moved to the parlour and Sam had
stoked the fire. "I would tell you a tale while the winds blow the
snows about the Shire. Will you listen?" Upon seeing all those present
nod, Pippin picked up his pipe, took one last puff, and began.
Elves are beautiful. Never have I seen any like them, especially at the Ford of Bruinen when Glorfindel….
Well, he tried to begin, but Fatty
Bolger was trying to fluff the pillows on the chair he had chosen and
making none too little noise about it; Jolly Cotton was trying to sit
on his knees on the couch he shared with his brothers, Tom and Nick,
but they whined that he was taking up much too much room; Robin
Smallburrow was trying to sit on the stool near the fireplace which
immediately collapsed under his weight; while Rosie, dear Rosie, who
had been trying to finally make herself a cup of tea after having
served the lot of them, came running out to see what was the matter.
Pippin shook his head, thoroughly exasperated. He had never lost an
audience quite this quickly, even when he tried to tell the history of
pipeweed at the Green Dragon.
Sam stood up, looking quite furious. “Be still now, all of you, or I’ll
toss you all into the storm!” His concern for Pippin outweighed his
duties as host.
Merry stood up and walked towards him. “Sam, it’s all right.” He
put his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “They’re just trying to get
comfortable. Pippin,” he turned towards his friend, “would you start
again? Please? You were telling us about Glorfindel?”
Sam and Merry sat and Pip – Pippin’s sighs were forgotten in the memory. “Yes, Merry. I’ll start again.”
Elves are beautiful. Never have I seen any like them, especially at
the Ford of Bruinen when Glorfindel – how can I say what we saw? Flame?
No. Not like the sun even. It was more silver and shiny and I wanted to
cover my eyes, but I wanted to see too. It was more like mithril when a
torch is held up to it. That’s what Glorfindel looked like as he
charged the Nine. Merry and I were frozen stiff as we watched the
change come over him. It was frightening and exciting all at the same
time. I couldn’t believe he was going to fight them all by himself. And
then suddenly he was changed.
“Was it like Gandalf’s fireworks?” Fatty asked.
“Yes,” Pip said. “Yes and no. It was even brighter. Gandalf told us
later that’s what they look like on the other side. How beautiful – how
But men, Merry’s eyes glassed over
– now these here are totally different from the men of Bree. There are
dwarves here and men who are guests of Elrond. One man in particular –
so tall in a different way than elves, and fair. He never smiles
though! I want very much to meet him. He has come alone and on foot
from a very long distance away and I wonder how that was possible for a
man. One of the elves told me he was a great warrior, named Boromir.
Merry stopped for a moment.
After Frodo had recovered…
“What do you mean, recovered?” Nick Cotton asked.
Sam drew in a quick breath.
“There was an accident on the way from Bree and Frodo had hurt himself,” Merry said.
“But the Elves fixed him up right proper,” Sam interjected.
Pippin rolled his eyes. “So,” he said loudly,
Elrond called a Council. We Hobbits were not invited. I heard there was
no food being served, so I wasn’t too upset – but Merry was. He wanted
to be a part of everything. He seemed to be changing. “I’m sorry, Merry, but really, you did.”
We heard loud shouting many times coming from the porch where they met.
It was strange indeed to hear shouting in that peaceful place. I was
very glad we hadn’t been invited. They had started early in the morning
and were still at it when the lunch bell rang. Who would continue a
meeting right through second breakfast, through elevenses? As much as I
liked Elrond, I thought this was not courteous – for an elf or anyone.
Finally, the Council broke up and we all met for a late luncheon. All
except Bilbo – he seemed to tire more quickly. After luncheon, where no
one shared and no one answered poor Merry’s questions, he and I left
and went off for a smoke by the waterfalls. We fell asleep on the bank
of the river and awoke to a strange chill wind and wondered what had
caused it. It was not quite autumn. We ran to Bilbo’s room and found
our friends there. Much to Merry’s dismay, we discovered Sam had snuck
into the Council meeting. He and Frodo were going to go off on an
adventure and it seemed we would not be going. How could they not take
me with them? I told them they needed someone with intelligence in
It was with much difficulty that his
friends worked to stop their hoots of laughter at this statement. Fatty
in particular laughed quite loudly, till he noticed Sam’s scowl. Pippin
shook his head and continued.
After the Council, Boromir went off with Aragorn on patrol. Many left
Rivendell, elves and the two men, searching for something. When they’d
come back, they would go to Elrond’s study and did not even come out
for the singing or the telling of tales. If not for this, it would have
been a happy time indeed. The four of us stayed together mostly, well
fed with plenty of pipeweed and song. Frodo spent many hours with Bilbo
– sometimes Sam was with them, and sometimes not. When he wasn’t with
Frodo, Sam seemed lost. So Merry and I took up the slack, so to speak,
and we made him sit and drink with us. I never felt any worry in that
place; at least once Frodo was healed. I think there must have been a
spell on it.
“I wish you all could have visited
Rivendell," Merry said. "It is so lovely. And they laugh and sing all
the time, even more than Pippin and I. At least they did while we were
there. I understand our visit may have changed things.” Pippin had
stopped for a moment and tried to take another puff, but the pipe had
gone out. Merry quickly lit the errant pipe and sat back down.
The next two months Merry and I spent mainly in the Hall of Fire, but
now and again, when he was back from patrol, Boromir would seek us out.
I don’t know why. He wouldn’t smoke with us and he ate very little. He
always seemed amused to see Merry and me eat. Sometimes, he would shake
his head. And once, I heard him whisper, “Where does it all go?” But he
would share ale with us and he would listen to my stories of the Shire.
He was quite attentive and would even ask questions. Polite questions –
enough to let me know that he was listening, enough to let me know that
he didn’t think I was just making noises, the way Gandalf often makes
Ever and anon the scouting parties would come back and ever and anon I
would hear Boromir’s voice. It seemed to call to me. I counted upon
hearing it to tell me when they returned. At last, the news was
encouraging. There didn’t seem to be any more of those Black Riders
around and this, apparently, was what Gandalf and Elrond wanted to
Master Elrond finally chose those who would go on the quest… mission….
thing… with Frodo and Sam. I was grateful to hear that Boromir would go
with him, along with Strider and Gandalf.
Pippin paused. I like this man. He is very kind to me. I think Aragorn likes him too for I heard him tell Gandalf that he is a valiant man. Pippin shook his head.
Imagine my surprise when Elrond didn’t pick Merry or me to go with
them! What must he have been thinking? Hobbits have to stick together!
Gandalf wanted Merry to go too and I told both of them, in no uncertain
terms, that they would have to tie me in chains to stop me, for I was
going to go! The two of them talked about me as if I weren’t even
there, but finally, Master Elrond yielded to Gandalf’s wishes.
Again, Pippin’s eyes clouded over.
Seven days later we are saying good-bye to Rivendell. It seems as
though we have just arrived. I am so very surprised – an elf and a
dwarf are going with us. Boromir puts his hand on my shoulder and tells
me how glad he is that I am going with them – but I feel a sadness in
his touch. “I know now that he was afraid for me.”
He carried that great horn with him always, and just before we left
Rivendell, he blew a great cry on it. It gave me chills to hear it.
“The memory even now sends shivers down my back and tears to my eyes.
Such a great man! I will tell you more about the horn another time, my
friends. It is too deep a wound.” Merry looks at Sam. Sam shrugs.
Elves, dwarves, everyone anywhere near us seemed to start violently at
its call. That horn was so very loud and there seemed to be some kind
of magic about it. Elrond told Boromir that it would be better not to
wind it except in need. I certainly hoped he would not have to blow it
again anytime soon! But Boromir said that ever he let the horn cry as
he started on a journey and this was a time the like of which he had
not known before. I didn’t feel afraid as I stood next to him. He had a
smile on his face and his hand rested lightly on his sword. I wanted to
take his hand as we started out, but I didn’t.
“I don’t know how to tell you, my
friends, how much he filled me with a sense of peace and joy. He loved
life… as much as any Hobbit I have ever known."
It seemed so sad to leave Rivendell. We really had a lovely stay and
the elves treated us so well. We were told we were going to travel by
night and I suppose that was wise, but I like to travel in the
sunshine, with a song on my lips and a pipe in my mouth. Gandalf told
us quite firmly that we were not allowed to smoke. I didn’t know how I
would survive this and I quite wondered if I had made a mistake, going
on this adventure. I had put some of my dinner in my pockets and
contented myself with that as we started out. Better food in the pocket
than trust to Strider to stop for a proper meal! This was going to be a
weary trip, I could tell that already.
The smoke from Pippin’s pipe wafted
towards the ceiling. He looked up at it, surprised. “Hmmm,” he said
quietly. “Reminds me of Gandalf’s smoke rings.” He sighed. "Seems
strange to think that Gandalf is gone."
Strider and Gandalf walk ahead and always their heads are close
together, yet they never tell us what they speak of. I can’t understand
why they don’t include Boromir in their talks. Poor old Boromir, I feel
very badly for him. When we first started out, almost ten days ago, he
seemed very happy. When I asked him why, he said because we were now
headed towards his home and that thought filled him with joy. He told
me a little of his city; the love he has for it just bleeds from him. I
also asked him why, in the Hall of Fire when the elves sang their songs
of Elbereth and Luthien and other Elvish tales, he would grow quiet. He
said it was because of his brother, Faramir. He remembered all the
times Faramir had tried to teach him Elvish tales and songs and how he
would laugh at his brother and cause a ruckus so that poor Faramir
couldn’t finish them. He told me how sorry he was to have not listened,
how sorry he was to have teased Faramir about them being of no import.
He said he would do better when he returned. He planned on returning.
He really did! Pippin blinked tears away.
We were so bitterly cold, even with the heavy clothes that Elrond had
given us. I asked Gandalf a few times, only a few times, how much
farther. He very nicely reminded me that I was the one who wanted to go
on this quest and that I should have spent more time looking at Master
Elrond’s maps. Unfortunately, this is not the last time I wished I had
looked more closely at those maps.
Well, as always, I was right – we did not stop for second breakfast or
anything but a little meal as dawn broke, and then we camped for the
day. We hid in shrubbery or in cold cracks in the rocks. I was getting
very weary and I had decided to tell Gandalf that we definitely needed
to stop soon for a nice long rest with a few proper meals. I was so
hungry. I could have eaten three breakfasts on end. Merry told me to
tell Gandalf after he himself had left the area!
“Well, you did Merry,” Pippin laughed as he saw Merry’s expression.
“I did not,” Merry stated flatly. “I just could not bear hearing you
called ‘fool of a Took’ one more time.” He ducked as the pillow sailed
harmlessly over his head.
“I think tis time for a snack,” Sam said, and had to quickly move
out of the way as the Cotton brothers leapt from the couch and ran into