Young Frodo

by Overlithe

1368-69    Summer Days  part 13

The days grew long and the nights warm and balmy.  It was a wonderful summer frequent showers kept the Shire green and blooming.  The bright sunshine made everything vivid and beautiful.  Primula Baggins drew a deep breath reveling in the warm moist air.  It was only fitting for Frodo's first summer to be one of the loveliest on record.
It was nearly August and Frodo was now very busy.  Busy as only a Hobbit child can be, he ran everywhere laughed, played and explored everything.

The days were so beautiful that even Drogo was drawn out of doors and his appearance outside thrilled little Frodo.  His Mum was great fun but for a good rough play there was no one like ones Da.   There were no other children Frodo's age in Buckland and so his parents were his playmates.  Drogo indulged his son whenever he could and the bond between them was growing as Frodo needed less cuddling attention and desired more action.  He was still quite unsteady on his feet being only 10 months old but he did well perhaps about average. 

Frodo's physical ability was the only thing average about the lad.  His Mum marveled at his ever increasing vocabulary.  He still only used two or three word sentences but they were never the same words.  He would sit and listen to the adults in Brandy hall picking up new words and trying them out. While most hobbit children were still babbling at Frodo's age he was able to make his needs known.

One particularly pleasant afternoon Drogo, Primula and of course Frodo decided to picnic.  In the heat of summer only two places would do.  Either they must go to the wooded lowlands or down by the Brandywine.  Near the ferry landing was a likely spot well used and comfortable.  Trees lined the bank nearby and the sound of the swift swirling waters made for pleasant background noise.

Drogo did not care for the water but Primula won the debate and the little family packed up and headed for the ferry.  Frodo who still need assistance to walk on uneven ground was carried on his father's shoulders.  He sat up straight holding onto his father's hair and laughing. He bounced merrily all the way to the river.  "What in the world is he doing up there?" Drogo laughed. "Am I to be bald as a result of carting my son about?"  Primula laughed, "you may be dearest he does seem to be hanging on tightly. But you should see his face; he hasn't stopped looking about for a moment.  I think he likes being way up there."  Frodo squealed in delight as Drogo bounced up and down jostling him about.  He then broke into a run Frodo still hanging on to his hair sitting astride his shoulders.  Primula stopped to watch the scene.  Frodo's high laugh could be heard as they ran from her and her own laughed echoed with it.

She caught up to Drogo and looked up at Frodo his little round face was flushed and he was still giggling and bouncing and now calling to an exhausted Drogo, "Go, go, go, go then more Da, more."  Primula shook her head, "not now Frodo, come down here now you're Da needs a rest".  Frodo looked as if he may pout but reached for his Mum and climbed down into her arms.  He received a hug and a kiss for being an obedient little Hobbit and she gently set him free to explore. 

Drogo and Primula spread a blanket and sat down to watch.  It did not take long for Frodo's curious nature to take over and he was off toddling to chase a butterfly.  He was then distracted by a bird which led his eyes to the river bank.  He wandered slowly watching the dark waters bubble and swirl. He sat down a good distance away and sat staring enthralled by the motion of the ever moving waters.  He looked back at his Mum were she sat watching him for some reason he was afraid.

Frodo Baggins ever curious was not content for long and so he gradually made his way closer and closer to the edge of the water.  He lay on his belly and reached out to touch the water swirling at the bank.  It was cold; he was afraid now his young mind had no reason to fear the waters yet he felt lost as he looked at it and touched it.  He began to cry softly at first then more loudly.  Primula suddenly realized that Frodo had gone beyond her sight and she jumped up at the sound of his cry.  Drogo joined her and together they ran toward the crying.  They retrieved him a moment later.

Frodo clung to his Mum as if he had been lost for days or had not seen her in weeks.  He cried and held on and looked sadly at the river. Primula did not know what had come over him she could find no marks or injuries and yet he cried and clung.  All the dear child would say was, "BAD".  "Bad, and then he would again look toward the banks of the Brandywine River.  "It seems our son has inherited your love of the River Drogo."  Primula tried to make light of the episode but still she pondered why Frodo was so upset?

Part 14   One Year ago Today

    Primula awoke with a strange mix of joy and sadness.  Surely the joy of the day would outweigh the sadness but on awakening it was difficult.  How does one remember the anniversary of a death and celebrate the life of the one who survived.  Would her daughter know how she mourned for her?  Would her mourning affect Frodo?  He did not yet understand about his sister though they spoke of her often to him.  Before Frodo could even speak they told him about his twin who had crossed over to a place of painless peace.  They desired him to feel as though she was still part of him, to be part of their family though she physically was not present.

 They spoke of her golden hair and how otherwise she looked just like Frodo.  It was not difficult to imagine what the child would now look like.  All Primula had to do was close her eyes and she could see her she was the image of Frodo but with long yellow curls and flushed cheeks.  The thought always prompted a smile not grief.  Today however was different; anniversaries seem always to be the hardest.  That is what it was her birthday but an anniversary also it would be marked by remembrance and sadness. 

Yet Frodo remained and it was his birthday, Primula smiled thinking of her little son.  She could see now how slight of build he would be.  Though he ate plenty he was not one to overindulge in food and one could tell he would never be a portly hobbit.  Perhaps pleasantly filled out someday far in the future but for now he was simply thin.  She continued to think of Frodo and her grief lessened.  She would always mourn the loss of her daughter but Frodo was so full of life and joy and mischief it was sometimes difficult to be sad. Really in her everyday existence she had no time to think of missing her Frodo kept her so busy that the days passed in rapid succession.  1 year indeed; it had gone so quickly truly had Bilbo not reminded her she would not have realized until it was too late to plan anything for little Frodo.

Bilbo had written nearly a full month prior to inquire as to her plans for a Birthday celebration.  She had not yet given it thought, of course Bilbo had.  His birthday was almost a holiday in Hobbiton known for the lavish parties and gifts.  So when in his letter he had explained that he was forgoing his usual celebration in favor of joining them in Buckland Primula was touched.  She was sure she had heard the collective sighs of the Hobbiton inhabitants upon hearing the news.  No feast and no party this year instead Bilbo Baggins was moving the party to Buckland.  Many were still to be invited but it would be a Party for both Frodo and Bilbo and it would be at Brandy Hall.

Primula was completely at ease with idea. Bilbo had planned everything and given her a list of some personal guests that he wished to be invited.  The guest list otherwise had been up to her.  She felt it necessary however to invite Lotho Sackville Baggins and then of course his parents by default.  Bilbo was not pleased but Primula was ever the peacemaker and since Lotho was Frodo's only cousin near his age she wished to get along with them.

Now that the day was upon her she questioned herself.  She really wanted no further stress this day and the way Lotho had treated Frodo on their first meeting did not bode well.  Frodo had been very little so she hoped he at least would not remember but she was sure that Lotho had not changed.  Only time would tell what sort of relationship the two boys would have.

It was at least a pleasant September day and so the Hall could be opened and it would not be so stifling.  Bilbo was the first to arrive with his boxes upon boxes of gifts to give away. He had insisted on taking care of this part of the tradition also.  "Next year Primula, he had said, you can take care of the gifts from Little Frodo but for his first party I should like to do it."  It was impossible to argue with Bilbo and after a short halfhearted confrontation Primula had relented.  She also could not find it in her heart to disappoint the Cousin who so loved her boy.

Drogo helped Bilbo set up and Frodo sat in a huge chair watching with curiosity as the decorations were hung and the gifts for the guests were laid out neatly.  At last Bilbo pulled a small heavy package out and handed it to Frodo.  "And this my fine Lad is for you on MY birthday" Bilbo whispered.  Frodo took the package but looked at it quizzically; He had not gotten a present before and obviously didn't know what to do with it.  The paper had little flowers all over it and green leaves. It was a bright festive wrap and Frodo promptly sniffed it then licked it to see if it was edible.  He made a confused attempt again to smell the paper then his forehead creased and his brows drew together.  He looked altogether annoyed and looked up at Bilbo.  "Open it Lad it's a present" Bilbo repeated. "Open", Bilbo reached over and tore a bit of paper from the gift.  Frodo smiled, permission to destroy something was unusual and he decided he liked presents.  He tore all the paper off little fingers working clumsily.  Then he stopped and looked it was a book.  His Da had books, "Book" he said.  And Bilbo applauded.  "Yes, Frodo's book it is you very own."  Bilbo picked the lad up and placed him in his lap the book in front of them.  Bilbo opened the cover it was a book made for a child's rough, clumsy hands it was sturdy and had many bright colorful pictures.

"Book" Frodo said again then he looked at Bilbo, "Read".  It was a command Bilbo could not ignore.  He began to read aloud to Frodo and time ceased to exist.  HE did not know how long he sat with Frodo explaining each picture on each page making up a story to go with them.  He looked up and realized that guests were arriving and the party was due to begin at any moment.  Frodo yawned and stretched and hugged Bilbo around the neck then climbed down to find his Da.  Bilbo watched as he ran from him a stray tear trickled slowly down his cheek. 

Bilbo Baggins stalwart bachelor, eccentric loner had completely lost his heart.  The thief was his own cousin and he would never be the same.  He gathered himself back into his gruff exterior and prepared to greet the guest.  This would be a Birthday to Remember.