"What have you got there?" I looked at the small bundle that Boromir was holding in his cupped hands.
"I made you a present." Boromir looked almost shy as he held it out to me. It was wrapped a piece of green linen and tied with a faded blue ribbon.
"For me?" Surprised, I took the bundle from him. It was rather heavier than I expected it to be. "But what is the occasion?"
"Cause…cause I wanted to," he said, and my curiosity was raised when I saw that he was blushing. Boromir was not often a bashful child, and had never been with me. "Will you…will you open it?"
I smiled at him. "Of course I will, duckling," I said, sitting on the rug. He stood next to me, fidgeting in either anticipation or nervousness, and I wondered if I should be concerned as to the bundle's contents. It did not feel like it was alive –on the contrary, it felt like a rock. But then, so did turtles.
The linen had seen better days, and the ribbon was looped around the package several times before being tied. Boromir had tried very hard to make a bow, but he had not had enough practice yet to do it properly. It was charming, and I was touched by the effort he'd gone to.
"I wrapped it up myself," he said proudly. "Mother showed me how."
"You did a very good job," I told him, laying my hand on his cheek, and he beamed. "Now I shall see what treasure you have made."
The ribbon took a bit of work to unknot, but once that was done, the linen fell away easily.
Well, no wonder it was so heavy – it was solid, lumpy clay, baked hard and painted bright yellow. I held it up, studied it from every angle. The neck was a bit long, and very thick, the head was slightly lopsided and flat on top, and the body was round as an apple. But the huge orange v-shape which stuck out below two black eyes was definitely a beak.
Boromir was in an agony of excitement, bouncing in place, waiting impatiently for me to speak. I thought I knew what it was, but I did not want to be wrong and break his heart. But I had to say something. "What a wonderful duckling!"
Boromir gave a little squeak of delight and hugged my neck. "I told Mother you would know what it was!" he exclaimed, overjoyed, and I had to laugh at his enthusiasm, even though he was squeezing too tightly. "See, his mouth is open and he is quacking! And there, there –" he pointed to some squiggly lines on the side of the body, "those are his wings! I wanted real feathers, but Mother said that they would burn up in the oven. Do you like it?"
"It's lovely!" I assured him, hugging him back. "But when did you make it?"
"When you were gone out," he said, grinning as he released my neck. "Are you surprised? You didn't guess?"
"I had no idea," I replied in perfect truth. "Even when I washed clay out of your hair and paint off your hands, I had no idea." His smile threatened to take over his entire face, and I could not help hugging him again. "Now, where shall we put him?"
"Don't you want to keep him in your room?" Boromir frowned, looking anxious.
"I would love to keep him in my room," I said, and his expression lightened. "But we could also set him on a shelf out here, so that I may see him all during the day, and not just when I am going to sleep."
"Oh," he looked thoughtful, and glanced around the playroom. "He would like to be out here, I think."
"And that way, I could also show him to everyone who comes in the nursery," I pointed out, and Boromir's eyes lit up with pride. "Where shall we set him?"
"I will find a spot!" Boromir said, and went to examine every inch of free space.
Unable to stop smiling, I examined the duckling while he searched for a suitable place to display his work of art. It was very strangely proportioned, and it bulged in odd places, but it was obvious that Boromir had worked very hard to make it. I could see his fingerprints pressed into the clay, and on the bottom, he had crookedly written the first letter of his name, which was all he knew how to write so far. I thought it was the finest present I had ever been given.
Finally Boromir decided that over the fireplace would be best, because "he can see the whole room from there." So I set the duckling on the mantle, and smiled every time I saw it there, leaning to the left, watching over us with its unevenly painted eyes.
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.