3. Of Wood and Brass
As he neared the table Sancho handed Pippin a pint of ale. "What'd you get?"
"Don't know yet," Pippin answered, taking a gulp. "You?" Sancho motioned to the shiny brass horn hanging on his belt. "Made by the Dales, whoever they are."
"Wherever, you mean. Don't you know anything?"
They turned around to see Frodo, a smile sweeping across his clearly exhausted face.
"Where is it?" Doderic asked.
"Far away. It's a dwarf-city."
"Dwarves?" Pippin asked. "Really?"
Frodo grinned. "Don't even know about Dale, the ignorant pipsqueaks..." he said to himself, rumpled Pippin's hair, grinned at the other two, and walked off.
Pippin opened up his own box excitedly. "A... pipe?" His face fell. "That's it?'
Compared to the shiny dwarf horn, the old oak pipe seemed a poor gift indeed, but Pippin did not know its full story. Pippin's pipe was a rich piece of hobbit history, but twelve-year-old halflings care little for such relics.
"It's a handsome pipe, Pip," Sancho admitted. "Tell you what, I'll trade you."
Pippin thought for a moment. Bilbo had given him the pipe, and he had said Pippin might want it someday. But Sancho had a dwarf-trumpet, shiny and new, and that was nothing to be sneezed at either. "Done," he said with a grin. The boys spat on the ground and shook hands -- making the deal final according to the customs of hobbit lads.
Later that night Pippin bumped into his cousin Merry. "I think this is yours," Merry said, handing him Bilbo's pipe. "You'll want to hold on to it."
"But -- "
"Don't worry, your word's still good," Merry said. "I promised to show Sancho how to get into Maggot's mushroom patch, and he gave up the pipe gladly."
Pippin smiled at his cousin, then looked down at the pipe he held in his hands. "I like the horn better. How many twelve-year-olds does Bilbo know that like pipes?"
"Ah, but you're not just any twelve-year-old," Merry replied. "You are a Took. And one day you'll be The Took. Don't you recognize it?" Pippin looked at him blankly. "I'll have to talk to your father," Merry lauhed. "You need to brush up on your family history if you're going to be Thain.
"Long ago -- years before even old Bilbo was born -- some orcs invaded the Shire. And your five times great uncle gathered an army to fight them back. Bandobras they called him, and with his brothers Sigismond and Ferumbras he led the hobbits to the Green Fields. They won, of course, but Sigismond fell. After the battle Bandobras picked up the scimitar that had killed his brother and said to himself, "I will give this blade better food than hobbit-necks." He walked over to an oak tree at that field and cut it down. An awkward instrument, to be sure, but Bandobras was determined.
"Most of the wood he used to build a monument to all those hobbits who had fallen there to protect the Shire, but one small piece he kept. You see, when they were boys Bandobras and Sigismond all went to the Midsummer Day's festivals together, like we do, and Sigismond was fascinated by a weed some farmers from the Southfarthing had started growing. Nicota, they called it, but we know it as pipe-weed. Back then hobbits didn't smoke it like we do now, but it was starting to catch on, and Sigismond was one of the first. Well, Bandobras took a piece of that oak wood back with him to Tookborough, and he fashioned it into a pipe. Over the years he continued to whittle at it, carving pictures of harvests and dances into the sides. Eventually he even had it fitted with that silver mouthpiece, though where he got it I don't know; probably from the elves."
"Wow," Pippin said. "That's a lot better than a dwarf-horn."
Merry nodded. "That pipe does not belong in the hands of a Proudfoot, but in the waistcoat of a Took. Better yet on the mantle of the Great Smials."
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.