3. A Frog and a Meal
A few days later, he was sitting in Bag End, being served soup and tea for lunch by Rosie, since he’d woken up feeling tired and quite unenthusiastic to do anything but read and write. Merry and Pippin had left early in the morning to visit some friends on the outskirts of town. Sam was in the garden, tending the seeds and soil as he’d liked to do in easier times.
“Thank you, Rosie,” Frodo said as she refilled his teacup.
“Is an anniversary on the horizon, Frodo?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You don’t seem well.”
“Oh,” Frodo muttered, understanding her meaning, “No, it’s not. Perhaps I caught a cold or something. It will likely be gone in a few days.”
She was about to express her confidence that he was right when they both heard a loud commotion just outside the window. They jumped up and ran to look.
Sam appeared to be some kind of freaky dance. He jumped around swinging his spade, shouting, “Hey! Ah! Hoy!”
“What are you doing?” Frodo asked him.
“Frog!” Sam yelped, hopping about, “Frog!”
“Is it a new dance?” Rosie asked.
Sam spared one irritated glance at her, pointing sternly at the ground, “Frog!”
Finally, Frodo and Rosie saw a small, greenish-gray lump bouncing around Sam, ramming him repeatedly.
“It’s trying to bite me!”
“Well, hit it with the spade!”
“That’s what I’m trying to do!”
With a burst of energy, Frodo jumped out the window and grabbed a basket that was lying nearby. He waited until the right moment, then slammed the basket down.
They stood, waiting, watching.
“I think you got it,” Sam said, hearing a thumping coming from under the basket.
“What do we do with it?” Frodo asked.
“Don’t kill it!” Rosie shouted from inside.
“Then what, Rosie?” Sam asked.
“Why don’t you just put a rock on top to hold it for now, then think of something later?”
This seemed logical, so they set a large stone atop the basket and went inside. They never did remember to do anything else with the frog.
About a week later, Sam and Rosie invited some friends for dinner. Besides Merry and Pippin, the Gaffer was there, as well as Rosie’s brother Tom and his wife Marigold (who was also Sam’s little sister) and Bob and Dandy Bolger from down the lane. Frodo’s illness had not gone away in a few days. In fact, he was worse. In the past two days, he had not moved from his bed except to tend to certain necessities of life. He had grown paler than usual, and when he spoke it was very softly. The others were beginning to get quite worried about him. They certainly would not have had the dinner, except that it had been planned for weeks and Frodo quite insisted. He was asleep now, anyway, so they thought he’d be fine for a few hours.
“This is the best meat pie I’ve ever tasted, Rosie,” Merry said as the meal was winding down.
“Thank you, Merry.”
“Is there any more?” he asked hopefully.
“Of course,” she said, handing him the dish, “There’s always more. Pippin?” she offered the Took some.
“No thank you,” Pippin replied, “I’m stuffed.”
All movement ceased. Everyone looked at Pippin in shock. After a moment, he said nervously, “I mean...sure. I’ll take some more.” He took the dish and everyone else seemed satisfied. Rosie offered more food to everyone else, but all declined, except the Gaffer.
“Get it now, while we can,” he said.
“What do you mean?” Sam asked.
“Meat, lad,” the Gaffer told him, “After all the animals leave, there won’t be any more available.”
Everyone froze again.
“Pardon?” Pippin asked, unable to find words for his confusion.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed the way the animals have been acting,” said the Gaffer, “They’re all going mad. Soon enough they’ll all run off or need to be killed. Farmer Maggot got bit by one of his own dogs. The beast wouldn’t let go until it had three bleeding holes in it’s side.”
“Please!” said Marigold, “We’re trying to eat.”
“So was the dog,” said the Gaffer with a laugh.
“This sounds serious,” Pippin said.
Merry tried to speak before swallowing, “Ish’t mashic, d’you fink?”
“I don’t see what else it could be,” Sam said.
“But who could be responsible?” Pippin wondered, “I thought all the really magic folk were either dead or good.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many things out there no one bothered to tell us about,” Merry said.
“I’m quite certain of that.”
They all turned to the doorway, to see where the voice had come from. Frodo leaned heavily against the doorframe. Sam jumped up and helped Frodo to his chair.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Frodo?”
“Not well enough to do what we all should,” he answered wearily, “There is some dark power in Hobbiton of late.”
“You mean the animals?” Pippin asked.
“They are evidence enough,” answered Frodo, “but I can feel it, as well. Dark visions come to me in my sleep. I cannot see them clearly, but they are a fell reminder of the cloaked death you yourself helped slay, Merry.”
“Ringwraiths?” Pippin asked, looking confused, “But they’re all dead.”
“That’s what he just said,” Merry whispered to him.
“Whatever it is,” Sam said with conviction, “we need to get you to safety. If it’s dangerous, we shouldn’t stay around here.”
“True enough,” Frodo said, “But as I said, I do not think I could make it very far. It took far more strength than I guessed just to walk down the hall. But you and Rosie should get out of town until things return to normal.”
“No, Mr. Frodo,” Sam told him, “You know I won’t leave you. But yes, Rosie, I think you should go. If anything happened to you or the baby, I just don’t know what I’d do.”
“You can stay with us, Rosie,” said Tom, “for as long as you need.”
“Very well, dear Sam,” she told him, “but be careful, will you? I don’t want to return to an empty house.”
“Don’t worry, Rosie,” Merry said cheerfully, “Pippin and I’ll be here. We wouldn’t leave these two to fend for themselves.”
“Of course,” Pippin agreed, then mumbled to Merry, “I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one to explain to Aragorn if anything happened to our Ringbearers.”
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.