It is widely believed that Frodo and Gandalf were forever parted from their dear friends in Middle-earth when they sailed away to the Gray Havens. But many things occurred afterwards that have not been told with the old names, though the stories have been told after a fashion. Now the time has come to reveal the true and unusual events that transpired after Aragorn was crowned king and the (supposed) last ship of the Elves left Middle-earth forever. I shall tell the tale to you as it was told to me by my mother who heard it from her mother and so on back to the very days when the story was nothing more remarkable than everyday life.
To begin, Gandalf had, as usual, assumed that he had set everything to rights in an orderly fashion. In fact he was saying as much to Frodo between puffs of smoke rings as the two stood on the gleaming deck of the last ship of the Elves. Frodo did not say much in return. He stared out over the foaming waves and thought about his friends, whom he had left on the shores of Middle-earth. Of course he had no way of knowing that Merry, Pippin, and Sam were at that very moment standing on the same shore where Frodo had left them, and wishing that they could be reunited again.
Then Pippin, who was always the first to break a ponderous silence, said, “I still don’t see why we can’t go with them.”
“Gandalf said only the ring-bearers were to go,” said Merry.
“I was a ring-bearer for a little while,” muttered Sam.
“That's right," said Pippin, "Sam was a ring-bearer. And besides, Frodo will be lonely with only Elves to talk to all the time. They’ll never feed him that’s for sure."
"Just think of it," said Sam, "poetry and song all the live long day but hardly any dinner to speak of.”
Merry frowned. “Well what do you suppose we do about it? The ship is gone now. That was the last.”
“We'll build one,” said Sam softly, with a light in his eyes.
“We’ve never let him abandon us before,” said Merry, “let’s send word to the womenfolk. If we go after Frodo, we may never come back.”
The women in question were Rosie, Lora and Nan. You see, all three of our favorite hobbits had been married in the years following their adventures with the Fellowship. Only Frodo remained alone in his house at Bag End.
Not long after the women arrived, Legolas and Gimli came racing down the shore. The ensuing reunion was, as you can imagine, a chaotic and joyous occasion.
“Young hobbits!," shouted Gimli, "Must you always be where you are least expected? It makes it difficult to find you." He leaned over gasping for breath. It should be noted here that he did this with as much dignity as possible and only gasped when absolutely necessary.
The hobbits all laughed, but Sam said, “You're out of breath. Is there trouble?”
There had been trouble, but not the kind that Sam was expecting. It was the trouble of missing one's friends. Legolas and Gimli had been wandering the hidden places of Middle Earth when they began to miss their friends very very much.
Legolas said, “No trouble now that we are reunited. But what are you doing here by the sea instead of home in the Shire?”
The hobbits explained to Legolas and Gimli just what had happened to their dear friends, who were now on their way to the Gray Havens. This was done haphazardly, with much talking over each other and interruptions from the women who had not been there from the beginning.
When they were finished, Gimli was the first to speak. “We must follow them! There is no time to lose. The morning of Middle-earth has passed from these lands and I am moved to follow its light though it take me over a path I wished never to take again.”
Legolas was also eager to go. “Now that I am once again by the sea, I feel that there is no other road I could take again. The sea calls to my heart. Lady Galadriel was right when she spoke of the gulls. Thus I too will follow her and our friends to the Havens.”
And so it was decided. The party set to work immediately to build a ship worthy of such a voyage. With the help of a dwarf and an elf the work went considerably faster than even Pippin had hoped. Before the evening of the next day they were unfurling the sails and setting off on the very heels of Frodo and the ring-bearers.