2. The Tale: Furry Hobbit Feet
Frodo Baggin’s mind was wandering through wayward dreams when it was suddenly pulled back to the world of the waking. He groggily propped himself up on his elbows and gazed about, momentarily confused. His small, cozy room in Bag End was completely dark, a black, inky void. What in the world had awakened him? The night was still, silent.
Frodo lay back down with a grunt and was just about to go back to sleep, when he heard it again. Bang! Bang! Bang!
Bilbo’s muffled voice carried in from the next room. “Frodo! There’s someone at the door!”
Finally, Frodo’s still half-asleep mind registered exactly what he was hearing. Someone was knocking on the door. But who would be at their door at this hour?
Slowly, Frodo sat up, stretched, and shook his head, attempting to clear it of its cobwebs without much success. He trudged to the door, yawning loudly.
The pounding on the door continued, and this time it didn’t stop. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Frodo stumbled as he quickened his pace. “I’m coming….” he mumbled. “I’m coming!” he managed a bit louder when the pounding continued. Finally, he reached the door and pulled it open….
The first thing he noticed was that it was raining, a steady, soaking rain. The grass and earth above the Hobbit hole had sufficiently muffled the sound, so the rain could not be heard inside. The second thing Frodo noticed was two, very wet figures standing on the doorstep, their identities hidden by their cloaks, which were wrapped tightly around them in a futile attempt to keep out the rain. But judging by their diminished stature, and the fact that they had no beards, they were most definitely Hobbits. And Frodo knew only two Hobbits who would have the gall to show up at someone’s door in the middle of the night.
“Merry! Pippin! Pray tell, what are you doing here at this ungodly hour?” asked Frodo, obviously annoyed.
Merry and Pippin brushed past him into the dry home without a word. Now fully awake, Frodo closed the door and turned to level a piercing stare at his friends, who at that moment were peeling off their drenched cloaks and throwing them into the ever-expanding puddle of water on the floor. He cringed inwardly.
Merry finally answered, while wringing out his long, blondish-brown curls. “Coming to visit you, of course.”
Frodo couldn’t believe his ears. “Do you know what time it is?!”
Pippin tilted his head a little to the side as if deep in thought. “I believe it’s time for a midnight snack, or so says my stomach.”
“You could set a clock by your stomach, Pip,” Merry quipped.
Before Pippin could reply, Frodo interrupted the developing argument with a sigh. “Make yourselves at home. I’ll brew some tea in the mean time.” He went to the kitchen to do just that – and to find something to clean up the now rather large puddle on the floor.
> § <
After he got the tea heating and the water mopped up, Frodo went in search of Merry and Pippin. It didn’t take very long to find them as they were making enough noise to rival that of a charging oliphant. They were in the bathroom.
As Frodo approached the closed door, it opened suddenly, and Merry stepped out, wrapped tightly in a warm, fluffy towel. He yawned loudly while closing the door behind him. “Pippin’s in the bathtub,” he muttered before slowly making his way to the kitchen.
Frodo just stared after him, a blank look on his face. I think I’m still sleeping, he thought. This is all too bizarre.
He was startled back to reality by loud, joyful singing coming from the opposite side of the door.
“….O Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!”
There followed a tremendous splash and a shout.
Frodo just stared at the door, wondering if he should just go back to bed. Maybe all this was part of some very peculiar dream. Maybe it was that extremely old bottle of ale Bilbo had found buried in the cellar the day before. He would need to speak with his uncle about that…
Frodo turned…and jumped when he saw Bilbo standing right behind him. The elder Baggins was a master at sneaking up on people. Pippin resumed singing and bathing though Frodo was sure the bathtub was less than half full now. He sighed deeply at this revelation, and tried to remember exactly where he had left the mop.
Bilbo yawned, and pointed at the bathroom door. More splashing could be heard. “What in Middle-earth is going on in there?” he asked, yawning once more.
Frodo cringed as Pippin hit a particularly high note, then he sighed. “Believe me, Uncle, I haven’t the slightest idea.” With that, he turned and went off in search of the mop.
Bilbo’s eyebrows crinkled together in confusion, but after another splash and a high-pitched squeak, he trudged back to his room. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t really want to know.
> § <
Pippin yawned, stretched, and would have gone straight back to bed if it weren’t for an annoyingly persistent voice calling his name.
“Pippin! Come on, Pip, wake up!”
Pippin blinked as his eyes adjusted to the muted light of the room. Merry’s face loomed above him. It took the young Took a second to recall where he was. Then he smiled as he remembered.
After his bath the night before, he had proceeded to the kitchen to enjoy a Hobbit-sized snack with Merry and Frodo, the latter sitting with his head propped on his hands, staring into his tea, muttering under his breath. Then it had been time for refreshing slumber – at least for Merry and Pippin as they had each plopped onto a separate bed in the guest room, and fell fast asleep.
Pippin shifted under the covers with a soft sigh of pleasure. …Bed so soft….so warm…. “Don’t want to get up,” he muttered sleepily as he closed his eyes once more.
Merry sighed. “Come on, Pip! We have the whole day ahead of us!”
Merry sought about for an idea, and one came to him almost immediately. It was evil, but not too evil. A mischievous gleam came into his eyes as he leaned down close to his friend’s ear. “Breakfast is ready,” he whispered.
Pippin shot up, almost smacking Merry in the face, threw back the covers, and ran to the kitchen, his bare feet making soft plopping sounds against the hardwood floor.
Merry, who had jumped back just in time to save himself from certain doom, now found himself sitting on the floor, four feet from the bed, staring at the door his friend had just passed through, thanking the Valar for his quick reflexes, and wondering what exactly had just happened.
When he finally got to the kitchen, he found a very sour-looking Pippin standing, arms folded, by the empty table.
“Oh, Pip, ‘breakfast is ready!’” the young Took mocked sarcastically, “Ready, my foot! It’s not even in the making!”
Merry laid his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Oh, but Pip, how else was I to get you up. If I hadn’t done it, you might have slept ‘til supper and missed five meals!”
Pippin weighed this in his mind for a few moments, and, deciding this last option was a greater evil than Merry lying to him, he brightened up.
Forgiven, Merry set to work whipping up some pancakes and bacon as Bilbo entered the room.
A little later, the three sat at the table, preparing to dig into the delicious-smelling food, when Pippin glanced around, and, as if noticing someone absent for the first time, asked, “Where is Frodo?”
“He’s sleeping,” Bilbo answered.
Pippin’s expression changed to one of confusion. “Sleeping still? Does he always sleep this late?”
Bilbo’s mind labored to create some intelligent-sounding answer to the question, but it was a hopeless cause. He settled on rolling his eyes instead.
> § <
An hour later, Merry and Pippin left Bag End to explore Hobbiton. The residents of the Hobbit hole under the Hill breathed easier. The rest of Hobbiton did not.
Merry stepped lightly along while Pippin hopped, skipped, and jumped, having a singularly wonderful time. The lunch basket on his arm swung wildly from side to side. Merry couldn’t help but watch with apprehension every time the basket tilted a bit too far. He, for one, did not want to witness his smoked ham, fresh bread, and apples go flying into some mud puddle.
His anxiety grew until finally he stopped. “Pip, why don’t you let me carry the basket?”
Pippin reluctantly handed it over, looking a bit affronted, but he soon found something that served to distract him. Up ahead, atop a hill, some Hobbits were working to raise a tent.
“Merry! There’s going to be a party!” Pippin exclaimed, pointing, “Let’s go watch!”
The two Hobbits proceeded up the hill, the forgotten basket swinging wildly from Merry’s arm.
They reached the top of the hill, panting, but still running. Pippin was so entranced by the humungous, brightly colored tent ahead, he failed to see the Hobbit standing directly in his path or hear Merry’s warning yell. The young, curly-haired Hobbit ran headlong into his unfortunate victim.
This poor Hobbit had been watching the proceedings as well; therefore he did not perceive Pippin coming up behind him. One minute he was an innocent bystander, the next he was flying forward at the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.
Merry stood to the side, silently observing the scene of chaos unfolding before his very eyes. Pippin lay sprawled on the ground, spitting grass, a look of confusion on his face. The other Hobbit, whose name, by the way, was Olo Deepdelver of Brockenborings, on the way realizing that he should have just stayed in Brockenborings, had crashed into another Hobbit, who in turn fell into another, who, by no small measure of unluckiness, was one of the Hobbits helping to raise the tent. He went down, still holding his rope. The whole tent came down with him in a huge heap of canvas.
While the rest of the Hobbits worked to free those struggling under the deflated tent, Merry pulled Pippin to his feet. Looking about, Pippin’s eyes grew wide with shock at what he had caused, but a small, persistent smile threatened to pull at his lips. Do not think badly of our young, Tookish friend for if you ever saw four, portly Hobbits attempting to escape a huge ball of brightly colored tent fabric, you would find it highly amusing as well.
The smile on Pippin’s face was soon wiped away, however, when the group of Hobbits turned toward him and Merry with menacing looks on their faces. “You fool of a Took,” they growled, slowly advancing.
One look and Pippin knew what to do; he had done it many times before. He leaned in toward Merry and whispered, “Run!”
The young Brandybuck needed no convincing. Together, our two friends fled down the hill, a whole gaggle of screaming, chubby Hobbits bouncing along after them.
If Pippin had looked back, he would have found this sight somewhat amusing as well, but of course, he was otherwise occupied that particular moment in time.
> § <
Merry and Pippin ran long and hard, and eventually lost the pursuing Hobbits in the forest. Noticing this, Merry was just about to point out that they could stop running, when his feet hit open air, and he found himself rolling down a steep embankment and into a rather large, and at that moment, badly placed mud puddle.
It took Merry a minute to realize that the reason everything was suddenly so dark was because he was lying face down in the mud. It took him another minute to figure out that the heavy thing lying across his back, making soft gurgling noises could only be Pippin. It took even another minute before he realized that their precious lunch was also wallowing in this soup. This last thought served to capture his attention!
He tried in vain to wiggle free, but he was trapped beneath his Tookish friend. “Get up, Pip!” he growled, but his words sounded more like muffled gurgles; after all, his face was still in the mud.
Pippin eventually got the message and proceeded to dislodge himself from his current position, but unfortunately since his face too was caked in mud, he accidentally used Merry’s head as a push off point.
As the young Brandybuck’s face squished deeper into the mud, he would have rolled his eyes, but his eyes were, at that moment, being used as an ingredient for a new form of mud pie, so he couldn’t.
Now up, Pippin enlisted the assistance of the back of his sleeve to wipe the slime from his eyes. Then he surveyed the scene. Merry was gurgling in the mud, and their lunch lay ruined. Pippin couldn’t help the sarcastic remark that sprang to his lips. “Oh, that was good,” he muttered.
He helped Merry right himself, and while the young Brandybuck searched in vain for one speck of clean cloth on his body with which to wipe his face, Pippin picked through the remnants of the glorious feast they had packed. Ham and bread and bottles of ale lay half submerged in the murky, congealed puddle. The lunch basket lay on its side. It appeared to be empty. Upon closer examination, however, by some stroke of luck, Pippin saw that one piece of food remained inside. He lunged for this last remaining piece of the now ruined feast and held it aloft as if it were a golden torch.
Merry looked up, his now clean eyes sticking out starkly against his mud-covered face. “What is it?” he asked.
Pippin dropped his pose and replied nonchalantly, “An apple.” He took a large bite and casually walked out of the mud, onto drier ground.
Merry rolled his eyes (as they were now free to do so) and followed his Tookish friend.
The two Hobbits proceeded to the Bywater Pool where they washed most of the mud from their skin, but their clothes were a hopeless cause.
After this, they hiked back to Hobbiton and stopped in the Green Dragon for a bite or two (or three….). After a feast that surpassed the one they had packed and a few rounds of ales (and yes, they come in pints), our friends settled back with their pipes and discussed the finer points of pipeweed.
After a particularly long puff, Pippin exhaled, sending a cloud of smoke into the air, and exclaimed, “Merry, you should write a book about pipeweed!”
The young Brandybuck turned in surprise. “Me! Write a book! Are you daft?”
Pippin’s smile soon turned into a loud guffaw.
An older, male Hobbit, hearing Pippin’s laugh, sidled up to their table and greeted them, eyeing their mud-caked clothes, but deciding not to make anything of it. “Well, if it ain’t Merry Brandybuck and Peregrin Took! Come all the way from Buckland me heard. Come, grace us with a song!”
Merry shook his head ‘no’, but Pippin immediately dropped his pipe and jumped up on the table, pulling a certain, reluctant Hobbit with him.
The young Took whispered in Merry’s ear and then began to belt out a jolly tune.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.”
The crowd of Hobbits inside the Green Dragon watched and clapped in time to the beat. Pippin jumped and danced, singing at the top of his lungs. Merry found his joy somewhat infectious and suddenly found himself joining in the spirited song.
“Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go.”
But suddenly the table didn’t feel quite so stable. Merry hurriedly jumped off and motioned to Pippin to do the same, but the young Took was too caught up in his song to notice.
“But under a tall tree I will lie,”
Nearing his climax, Pippin jumped high in the air –
“And let the clouds go sailing….”
– and crashed to the floor, the flattened, wooden table under him.
The Green Dragon was soon in an uproar.
The owner came out into the main room and about had a near breakdown. “That was me gaffer’s, gaffer’s, gaffer’s first table that he carved his own self when he opened this here tavern all those long winters ago!” His tears suddenly turned to rage.
“You fool of a Took!” he shouted at Pippin.
Things were about to turn ugly when Merry and Pippin did what they did best – run! (But not without picking up Pippin’s pipe on the way out.)
Once again, our young friends were being chased across Hobbiton, unknowingly drawing ever nearer to the Hole under the Hill.
> § <
Samwise Gamgee, a portly, normally sweet-tempered Hobbit was crouching in the dirt of the Baggins’ garden. He was doing what he loved best – caring for his precious flowers.
Now you may be wondering why I refer to them as his flowers when they are, in fact, being planted in the Baggins’ garden. Well, let us just say that Master Samwise was very possessive of his “babies”.
He hummed some nonsense tune that seemed perfect for the laidback day that it was.
Suddenly, he heard muffled thumping, and it was gradually growing louder. He turned just in time to see Merry and Pippin stampede past, carelessly crushing the fragile blossoms beneath their feet. Sam sat back, aghast, watching them run off into the distance.
Finally, he regained himself and was just about to go after them when a group of about ten Hobbits sped past, obviously in pursuit of the other two. They also crushed his flowers. Seeing this, the normally calm Hobbit felt his blood boil. Nobody hurt his “babies” and got away with it!
Sam jumped up and ran off after the other Hobbits as fast as his portly figure would allow, yelling all the way.
> § <
Frodo, who had just managed to rise from bed after the nearly sleepless night before, heard the commotion and was about to look out the window, when he thought better of it. There was no telling what he’d see, but there was no doubt in his mind about who had caused it.
He sighed and slowly wandered back toward his bedroom. That warm, fluffy pillow seemed awfully inviting….
> § <
The wise, millennia-old wizard, Gandalf, sat atop his horse-drawn cart, lazily meandering his way through the Shire, his eventual destination being Bag End to visit his dear, old friend, Bilbo. Bilbo, the thief! The slayer of Smaug the Dragon! But now living out the remainder of his unusually long life in the peaceful Shire.
The wizard smiled at the memories these thoughts conjured up. He still wasn’t quite clear on how Bilbo and the dwarves managed to escape the Elvenking, but Gandalf failed to be surprised. He learned long ago that Hobbits could do amazing things at the moment when it is least expected.
The old wizard chuckled lightly, and, filled with mirth, began to sing,
“The Road goes ever on and on…”
Riding steadily along, he now entered a shallow valley, less than a man’s length high, where the narrow road had been cut directly through a small hill.
“Down from the door where it began…”
Gandalf sighed in content. The sky was blue, the birds were singing their nonsensical songs, and all seemed at peace.
“Now far ahead the Road has gone,
and I will follow….”
Gandalf stopped singing suddenly and slowed his horse. What was that peculiar sound? It was almost as if the earth were…trembling…
> § <
Merry and Pippin ran hard, trying to shake the pursuit, but to no avail. Merry glanced ahead, and to his horror, saw a narrow valley with steep sides straight ahead. There was no room to turn, nowhere else to go, so he did what he had to do. Merry skidded to a stop two feet from the edge, saw Gandalf’s shocked face, and shouted, “Pippin!”
But Pippin didn’t have time to react, and he went flying over the edge, wailing. All of the formerly pursuing Hobbits watched, frozen, waiting for the inevitable.
> § <
The peculiar thumping sound became louder, and the trembling grew more intense. Gandalf glanced up to his right just in time to see Merry’s surprised and horror stricken expression, and then suddenly another Hobbit was flying at him, full throttle!
As the Hobbit crashed into the wizard, Gandalf’s pointed hat went sailing through the air, landing behind one of the cart’s back wheels. At the same moment, the horse reared, and the wagon rolled backward…
The wizard watched as his centuries-old hat (which he happened to be rather fond of) was smashed, crumpled, and mutilated beyond any hope of repair.
Calming his horse with soothing words, Gandalf slowly turned his head to face the unfortunate Hobbit who had incurred his immeasurable wrath. Pippin seemed to physically shrivel up under Gandalf’s penetrating, icy-eyed stare.
An unnatural silence hung in the air like death itself.
The wizard counted to ten … then roared with a force not to be matched in all of Middle-earth, “YOU FOOL OF A TOOK!!!!!”
> § <
Merry and Pippin left soon after that for reasons never fully explained, and a month later, Hobbiton (and Sam’s flower garden) had mostly returned to normal.
Frodo lay in bed, feeling tiredly peaceful. The room was dark, but the blackness disappeared every once in awhile as lightning rent the night. However, Frodo cared not. He was warm, sleepy, and in the wonderful process of letting his head sink into the pillow, when a sudden Bang! Bang! Bang! shattered the night.
Frodo sat up quickly, gazing about bleary-eyed and slightly confused.
Then Bilbo’s voice carried in from the next room. “Frodo! There’s someone at…”
But the young Baggins never heard his uncle finish his sentence. The elder Hobbit’s words were drowned out as Frodo continually knocked his curly-haired head against his bed’s unfortunate headboard.
It was going to be a long night…
Thud… Thud… Thud…
> § <
Long before Merry and Pippin took part in the legendary events recorded in The Lord of the Rings, helping to bring down the Enemy with their newfound courage and unshakable loyalty to Frodo and Sam, they were two, young Hobbits, living in the peace and contentedness of the Shire, with a knack for mischief…
> § <
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.