8. A night at the Gamgees' - Part I by Lady Masterblott
“… they were huge!” Merry disclaimed. 13 breathless little hobbits hung on his lips.
“How huge”, the inevitable tiny voice interrupted eventually. Hamfast, probably, or maybe, this time, little Primrose. Not that they had not heard this story before. Well, most of them, anyway.
Over the years, every detail had been engraved in the collective mind of the Gamgee offspring to an extent that practically made artistic license impossible. Whoever told the tale better minded their words.
“As huge as a…” Merry replied adequately carefully. “A…”
“A wolf?” little Bilbo asked.
“Much, much larger.”
“A tree?” one of the smaller ones asked and was promptly reprimanded by Elanor, who ruled her sibs by authority of being the oldest and hence having heard that story most often.
“The trees are later, stupid!”
“You are stupid!” Little Pippin stuck out his tongue at her.
Merry tried to ignore their banter and gratefully picked up a cue from the next Gamgee available. “A bear?” Daisy asked. She clearly had a thing for adventurous stories.
“Yes, about as large as a bear when it stands on its hind legs.”
“They sure were stinking as bears”, Pippin chimed in. “And they were hairy and mean and brutish. Their leader had fierce yellow eyes, and when he took out his knife and threatened to eat us - believe me, I thought that this was the end of it all, and I would never see the Shire again.”
Respectful silence followed his words.
And then, little Frodo said in a tiny voice: “But… you did, uncle Peregrin, didn’t you?”
“Of course he did”, Merry hurried to console him. “And so did I. But of course, back then, we could not know.”
“But why did they try to eat you?” one of the younger ones - Robin perchance - wanted to know.
“Because they were Urukhs and very hungry, and a hungry Urukh would eat almost everything,” Pippin replied.
“Just like you!” Merry could not refrain from saying, and took Pippins half-hearted blow to his upper arm good-naturedly.
“But would they… would they also eat little Hobbit children?” tiny Ruby asked. There was a tad of insecurity in her voice.
“They would especially love to eat little Hobbit children!” Pippin confirmed before Merry could say anything. “For little Hobbit children, they would run miles and miles and miles.”
The children said, mesmerized and speechless for a moment. This was a new twist in a well known story, hideous and fascinating alike.
“They smell them, you know?” Pippin went on, encouraged by the attentive faces of his audience, and hence displaying a moment of dangerous Tookish creativity. - “It is said that they smell them for miles ahead. If an Urukh knows that there are hobbit children somewhere, it can happen that he forgets about everything. And then he makes a plan. A clever plan, because Urukhs are very clever, you got to know. He will put on his silent shoes, and go to the place where the hobbit children live. And he will wait, hidden in the shadows. And if a child does not listen to his or her Ma and stays out after dark, he will wait for the right moment, and then he will… - snatch her!”
And with that, he leaped forward and grabbed a shrieking Rose and lifted her up, tickling her wildly. All kids dashed off in all directions, shrieking wildly.
When Rosie came through the door, hands to her hips and shouting what the mayhem was all about, they had already collapsed into a giggling heap on the floor in front of the fireplace, and the elder ones did leave the merry round only reluctantly to help her mother prepare the dinner table while some others asked for another story already.
Only little Tolman, the youngest, sat in the corner, eyes wide, his thumb firmly placed in his mouth.
“That was a good one!” Merry said, appreciatory, when Rose called, mere minutes later, to announce that supper was on the table.
Pippin just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “Natural talent,” he claimed.
(To be continued with "12 ticklish Urukh-hai")
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.