19. Something Else at Third Breakfast
It was a sunny spring morning in Bobbing. Almost fifteen years ago, Scaldo Chubb had returned home from visiting a distant relative, (so he said) only to find his home had been sold to a Bracegirdle and his family. Tears and instant pleading had gotten the Bracegirdle to sell it back, and cheap too, on two conditions: Scaldo marry the oldest daughter and allow the in-laws to visit whenever they wanted. Scaldo relented and ended his bachelor days by buying back his own house. The Chubbs held so many food socials that they became the most popular hobbits in the lower South Farthing. The neighbors soon forgot the distant years of Scaldo's greed and his short period of madness before leaving for months. Visiting distant relations will do that to you, Farmer Brownfoot declared jovially.
Today in the grass, not far from the garden, a half-dozen little Chubbs toddled around, looking rather like piglets wearing trousers and skirts. And they squealed like piglets too. A bearded fellow with a large blue hood shadowing his eyes and enormous boots engulfing his feet stomped onto the lawn. The round children squealed in excitement and rolled around him, gobbling the sweets that fell from his pockets.
"Shurrup, all of yeh," said the Dwarf, fondly shooing them with a boot.
Mama Chubb, a big boned lass, looked up as she knit a pie cap.
"'E's in the summer kitchen, if it's Mr. Chubb you be wanting."
At that moment, Scaldo's flat face popped from the window. "Thirds is ready." And on seeing the Dwarf by the garden, "EEK! I - I mean, come in."
The Dwarf and Mama Chubb followed the little Chubbs, who chanted "Yum yum time!" through the front door, the hall and into the summer kitchen.
Scaldo saw to it the children were comfortably pouring food down their throats before he turned to the Dwarf.
"So, how is everyone," he cupped his hand over his mouth and whispered, "You-know-where."
"Where, Dada, where!?" wailed one bloated hobbit lass.
"Nowhere, Dandy. Please keep your stomach off the table. Faldo, stop eating with your toes." Then Scaldo said to Mama Chubb and casually as he could, "Nettles, could you bring out the strawberries and cream?"
The children belched and cheered as Mama Chubb brought in the pails of red fruit and white froth. Scaldo asked the Dwarf his question again during the uproar.
"Don't rush me." The Dwarf took a big bite out of morning cake. "I was just 'bout to tell yeh, the dwarves are all taken care of." He laughed.
"You mean..." Scaldo moved his finger across where he believed his throat was located.
"Na, worse. Chamsar, the old idjit, made prisoners of battle outa 'em. Now Took has 'em dustin' the Tunnels."
Chamsar had given up guarding Sarn Ford and decided it was time to guard something bigger, and that turned out to be the big water, or, as he called it, the sea. He had had to trim his left mustache shorter to match his right after the battle with the Dwarf, though Hildifons mentioned in a letter he had his under-nose hair long as ever now.
"Oh, that's good, I guess."
"Guess?" The Dwarf squinted from under his hood.
"I mean it IS good. So... what is Tintil doing now?" Cream was still flying, so outlandish talk was still safe.
Tintil had married a giantess and went off to troll hunt, whatever that meant. Last time Scaldo had seen him, about a year ago by river Brandywine, he still had a full but neatly trimmed beard. Tintil was always talking of distant places he and his ranging family had gone, but Scaldo usually could not understand what he was talking about, thought he still listened politely.
Yes, Scaldo liked Tintil, but the big person would have to eventually settle down and settle out, as they say in the South Farthing.
"What will you and Hildifons do now that the dwarves are prisoners?"
"The Took's only readin' his scrolls these days. But I hear there's opportunities up North."
The Dwarf picked a tooth. "Dragons. Hundreds of 'em. An' hoards of gold with no one botherin' to take 'em."
"And you will be gone in this North for a long time?"
"The children will miss your visits." The children in question were snorkeling around the table for any looked-over eatables while Mama Chubb continued her knitting.
"Aw, shurrup." The Dwarf made a point of picking crumbs from his beard. "An' something else: don't yeh think 'bout comin' 'cause I ain't goin' to take yeh."
That was fine with Scaldo; everything he really wanted - food, family, friends - he had now. Just one adventure had been enough to get it. Oh no, he was not going to leave the South Farthing ever again. Not for all the blackberry muffins in the world.
>>The End <<
Acknowledgements: Thanks to my brothers who would not let me kill Scaldo and Dwarf each time I tried. And thanks to all readers.
Notes: Hildifons is a Tolkien-character; you can look him up in the hobbit family trees in the LotR appendices.
The solar eclipse scene was inspired from Mark Twain's A Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which, I believe was inspired from a similar ruse played by Christopher Columbus on edgy natives.
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.