22. Shells and Stories (Finduilas & sons)
Shells and Stories
"…and this one is a catspaw. These come from Queen Berúthiel's cats, you know. When Tarannon set her to sea, she cut off her cats' paws and ate them. Then—"
"Boromir!" she exclaimed in horror. "Tell your brother a different story, please?"
"All right, Mama," her eldest said innocently. "Here, look at this one, Faramir: it's a conch shell. If you hold it up against your ear, you can hear the sea. Do you know why?"
"They're messages from the Valar, to remind us of our ancestors and our old home."
There: much better, Finduilas silently praised. Valar be praised, he does understand.
"'Cause they sank Númenor: CRASH! BOOM! SPLOOSH! So they put these shells here to remind us of Númenor and not to get too proud or else they'll sink Gondor too."
Clearing her throat, she said pointedly, "A happier story?" when her son looked back at her.
He frowned. "Mama, Uncle Imri didn't tell happy ones: he only told scary ones."
Finduilas picked up an iridescent white snail shell. "Do you know this one?"
"Look how it spirals upward. What does it remind you of?"
Boromir looked stumped, but Faramir grinned. "It'th Minath Tirith."
March 31, 2005. For Celandine Brandybuck. Inspired by...
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