Father's Day Challenge

Proper Care and Feeding of a Lizard, The

1. Chapter 1

   
   
   
Faramir sat in his study pondering over, or at least trying to ponder over, the latest missives sent from Minas Tirith. There were thousands of tiny details to the proper running of a kingdom the size of the reunified Gondor and Arnor. And those thousands of tiny details translated themselves into dozens of missives each month being sent from the Gondorian capital. But it was his role as Steward of Gondor to look through each missive and decide which needed the personal attention of the King and which he need only hear report of. He rubbed a weary hand over his face and decided to have another go at the indecipherable handwriting of this one particular piece of parchment when a knock was heard at the door. “Come in!” he called quite cheerfully, blissfully glad of the opportune interruption.

In burst a little reddish-blond bundle of energy, “Papa!” Faramir looked up and much to his delight he saw his little boy bounding towards him with something wiggling caught in one hand. The sturdy child of almost five bundled up into his father’s lap eager to show him his newest acquisition. Faramir laughed, “Boromir, my lad! And just what do you have to show me?”

Little Boromir held up a tiny lizard by its tail ready for his father’s inspection. Just then his nurse came in, “There you are, young Master. You know that you are not supposed disturb your father when he is in his study. Now come away!”

“Edoria! It’s quite all right! He’s not disturbing me at all. I could use a break right now!” Faramir stated quickly. Edoria looked at Faramir in a vaguely shocked manner as if she could not understand his desire for a break in the daily routine. And was even more shocked when he said, “You are excused, Edoria. I wish to spend some time with my son.” She turned on her heel giving him a disapproving look to which he returned his most obliging smile. As the door clicked, he looked at his little boy and said wrinkling his nose conspiratorially, “She’s a bit of an old dragon, isn’t she?” The boy nodded giggling. Faramir sighed, “Ah well, but Mama likes her so I suppose we’d better keep her, because we like to do things that Mama likes, don’t we?” Again the boy nodded with a sunny smile.

Just then, the lizard that little Boromir had been holding got loose and skittered across the parchment Faramir had been trying to decipher. “My lizard!” the little boy shouted and reached across the desk to catch it. In the process he knocked over the cup of wine Faramir had on his desk, which promptly wet and discoloured the top layer of parchments. Faramir had jumped up to avoid the spill and quickly viewed the damage. He knew he should be angry and scold the child, but somehow he just could bring himself to do it. Boromir sat in the middle of his wine soaked desk with a big smile on his face and clutching his re-captured lizard. He looked so happy that Faramir just heaved a sigh of both exasperation and resignation and said to Boromir as he scooped him up off the desk, “Well I didn’t really want to do any more work today, anyway. It is far too nice a day. Let’s see what we can find that the lizard wants to eat.” Faramir reached for the upended wine cup, saying, “Here Boromir, put the lizard in the wine cup for right now. He’ll be safer in there.” Boromir put the lizard in the cup. “Now put your hand over the cup so he doesn’t escape, but make sure that he has air at the same time. We don’t want him to die for lack of air, do we?” Boromir very seriously shook his head then asked, “How do you know that he is a he, Papa?” Faramir looked a bit non-plussed and then said, “Well, my lad. I’m not sure quite sure but I’m sure the she-lizards somehow know.” At this a giggle escaped Bergil, his squire. Faramir sent him an amused look and said, “On your way, Bergil and send somebody to clean up my desk. Oh and if anyone asks for me, just say that Boromir and I have gone to feed a hungry lizard and we will be back when we are back.” Bergil smiled, bowed and left to fulfill his errand.

***

Boromir scampered along side his father on their way to the kitchens and very assiduously kept his hand over the opening of the cup, but also making sure that the lizard also had enough air to breathe. “What do little lizards eat, Papa?”

“Well, I’m pretty sure that they eat bugs of all different kinds.”

“Bugs!” Boromir looked excited, “There some in the vegetable gardens. I know because I seen them there!”

“Well then, that’s where we’ll start.”

They reached the kitchens and the staff bustled about not really noticing father and son until they started poking around the utility cupboards. One of the kitchen maids approached and bobbed a curtsy while saying, “Is there anything you require, My lord?”

Faramir unbent from the cupboard he had been peering into and said, “Yes, perhaps you could help me? I’m looking for a sort of container in which to place…er…a rather small lizard.”

The kitchen maid looked slightly taken aback, she was new and was unused to strange requests from the Lord of Emyn Arnen, but the others who had overheard, smiled. Whenever he had the little master in tow, they had come to expect the oddest requests from his Lordship. The young maid recovered quickly however and hit upon the perfect solution, laying hands upon a wicker basket with an elongated neck.

Boromir laughed, “He’s tickling me, Papa!”

Faramir chuckled, “Just don’t let him go! The results could be disastrous! Once you let him out of your sights, you never know where he’ll end up!”

They proceeded to transferred the little lizard from cup to basket by lining up the two openings as close as possible to each other and covering up the little cracks through which he might escape. Successfully having captured the lizard in the wicker basket, Faramir handed the basket to Boromir, again warning him to cover the opening. The little boy did as he was told, as he did not want his prize to escape. He held the basket to his eyes and peered through the loose wicker weave and exclaimed, “I think he is a little drunk!”

Faramir laughed and said, “So you would be to if you’d been trapped in a used wine glass for the better part of ten minutes.” Father and son bid the amused staff a good day and laughter was heard as they left the kitchen.

***

Having made their way to the vegetable gardens in search of bugs, Faramir and his son settled down near where a whole row of carrots were growing and proceeded inspect the place for said delectables for the recently acquired lizard. Having found a few small beetles the task then became to insert the bugs without the lizard escaping. With a practiced air Faramir dropped the first bug in and then quick as a flash covering the opening again with his hand. Boromir lay flat on his stomach peering through the loose weave at the bottom of the basket to see if the lizard was going to bite. “He eating it!” the young freckled face lit with excitement as he looked up at his father.

Faramir beamed at a smile back at the boy, “Well, of course, that was a fine quality bug! We grow only the best here in Ithilien!” He slipped another bug into the basket for the lizard’s dining pleasure.

Boromir looked at his father with admiration in his eyes, “You’re really good at that, Papa!”

Faramir laughed, “Why, thank you! I do try to please!” A memory re-surfaced and he said, “I just I had been as adept when I was a little boy!”

“What happened?”

Faramir grabbed for another small beetle from the pouch where they’d stored the bugs and then made himself more comfortable on the ground changing from a kneeling to a sitting position, “Well, I was a couple of years old than you are now and your uncle Boromir and I were visiting Uncle Imrahil in Dol Amroth for the part of the summer. We were outside playing and we also found a lizard, I’d say about the size of this one here, maybe a bit smaller,” he said lifting up the basket and peering inside just after he’s dropped the last bug in, “And well, as you do, we decided to bring it inside and to try and make a home for it. I was carrying it in a mug so it wouldn’t escape when we happened upon Prince Imrahil and a few important guests he was walking with, just inside the courtyard.” Faramir paused as a blush crept over his face.

“What happened, Papa?” the little boy urged.

“Well, we stopped and greeted Imrahil, properly as we had been taught and one of the ladies politely asked what did we have in the cup, your uncle said that it was a really pretty flower that we were taking to our aunt and did she want to see!” Little Boromir’s eyes grew wide, “But it wasn’t--”

Faramir laughed, interrupting the boy, “I know it wasn’t. But to be polite the lady came over to peer into my mug. I didn’t let her at first, knowing what would happen, but your uncle urged me to. So I did. The look on that lady’s face when she realized that it wasn’t a flower was priceless, but unfortunately I didn’t cover the opening quickly enough!” Faramir paused to laugh quietly at the memory.

“What happened next, Papa?”

“Well, pretty much what you’d expect! The little lizard escaped and made straight for the nearest surface, which just happened to be the lady’s ample chest. She screamed and brushed it off in a panic. I remember shouting, ‘Don’t hurt it!’ I looked around but I couldn’t find it. The next thing I heard was a sound that told me somebody had found it. You see lizards seek heat and to that lizard the nearest heat source was up the lady’s skirt.” Faramir laughed. “The noise she made, I don’t think I’ve ever its like since. It was like a cross between a mouse’s squeak and the roar of a lion. But at least I had found our little lizard. She lifted up her skirts to extract it and there it sat on the top of her leg looking quite scared. I’m not sure who was more scared, the lady or the lizard. In that second the lizard ran down her leg and into the bushes. Well, I thought we were in for it, I mean it is not quite the best way to treat guests, allowing small reptiles to run riot over them. And sure enough the guests took off in a huff. I remember standing there trying to look as innocent as I could and Boromir’s face was the very picture of an angel. Prince Imrahil eyed us for a moment sternly and then, do you know what happened?”

“What?” cried the rapt little boy.

“His face broke into a smile and then he started to laugh! I remember him saying, ‘Thank you, boys! I didn’t know how I was going to get rid of them!’ I just stood wondering how we didn’t get in trouble. Father would never have stood for such behaviour, but Boromir piped up and ‘We did good, then. Uncle?’ ‘No!’ Uncle Imrahil said, ‘That was very naughty of you!’ and then he winked, ‘But thanks all the same!’ He ruffled Boromir’s hair, ‘You realize, of course, that you two won’t be allowed any pudding tonight after dinner.’ Boromir shook his head ruefully and said, ‘Yes, Uncle.’ But I knew that look on Boromir’s face said that he wasn’t really repentant because it had been a good joke. I was rueful about missing pudding that night, because it was apple crumble cake with custard sauce, which was and still is my favourite. So moral the story is--.”

“Never let a lizard run up a lady’s dress because you might miss out on your favourite dessert?” his son interrupted.

Faramir laughed, “Yep I’d say that about sums it up!” He looked at the lizard through the weave of the basket, “What say we let the little lad go? He’s had a good meal and he probably wants to get back to his lizard friends. They might be missing him, Hmmm?” He looked into his son’s light blue eyes so like his uncle’s, although his colouring favoured Faramir and his mother’s freckles spread across the little boy’s nose.

Little Boromir looked a little doubtful at first, but seemed to decided that his father was right, “Well, O.K., I wouldn’t want him to be lonely or sad.”

“That’s my little man!” Faramir said, gently brushing the soft reddish-blond hair off his son’s forehead placing a kiss there instead. He then ruffled the boy’s hair as his older brother had done to him innumerable times, “let’s see if we can coax him out.”

Boromir tilted the wicker basket on its side slowly removed his hand from the opening at the neck. The lizard immediately appeared, sniffed about and then took off in a flash. “Bye-Bye, little lizard! I hope he remembers me, Papa. Do you think he will?” Boromir looked at his father.

“I’m sure he will, my lad. Let’s go back to the house.” Faramir emptied out the remaining bugs from his pouch, “Do you want to ride on my shoulders?” he inquired, sure of the answer.

“Yes, please!” exclaimed the little boy.

“All right! Up you go!” Faramir squatted down and helped his son clambered up. As he stood up he said, “Oooo! You are getting big! You’ll soon grow into a fine young man, much too big for Papa to carry!” He gathered up the wicker basket as Boromir giggled. They headed for the house and the promise of a meal just as satisfying as the one the little lizard had had that sunny afternoon.


*********



This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

   
   
   

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Haldir's bit of stuff

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 06/24/03

Original Post: 06/23/03

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