Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Tolkien Christmas: Part III

A greenhouse was constructed in the village so that there was plenty of food (much to the hobbits’ relief). Sam was nominated Head Gardener, which made him blush deep scarlet. With plenty of food and sturdy houses, the hobbits soon began raising families in what seemed to be the most unlikely of places. As time went on, the valley rang with the joyful laughter of little hobbits.

The hobbits longed to craft toys for their little ones and begged Gimli to share some of his Dwarven skills. At first when they asked the dwarf, he would launch into a lecture praising the unmatched abilities of his people. But after a time and much flattery on the part of the hobbits he was persuaded. Under the dwarf's tutelage, the hobbits began crafting toys for their children to play with. They all agreed to hide the toys from the children unless it was a birthday so as not to spoil them. But they were building so fast that there was hardly room to store them all. The hobbits' newly acquired Dwarvish skills made their creations seem almost magical.

Even Gandalf was impressed, and when he caught sight of the lovely white rocking horse Merry had made said, “My, my what will you hobbits do next? Why, it looks like Shadowfax himself, if my old eyes don’t deceive me.”

His eyes twinkled with mirth above his bright red robes. For Gandalf no longer dressed all in white. They had all learned how impractical it was to have a white-clad wizard traipsing about the North Pole when a sudden blizzard had caught them by surprise one afternoon. Gandalf was lost for days in the swirl of snow.

To everyone's surprise, it was Radagast the Brown who brought him back again. The two arrived in the village once the storm had passed on the backs of the most magnificent beasts any of them had ever seen.

“Why, these are reindeer,” explained Radagast, after Gandalf had taken care of the necessary introductions. “I’ve been here quite some time and have taught them all how to fly. Wonderful creatures.”

“Now old friend,” said Gandalf, “what you have not told me yet is how you came to this strange place. I must admit I took you for dead long ago when Saruman used you for his own treacherous ends.”

Radagast nodded solemnly. “I am sorry I did not comprehend Saruman’s betrayal in time to warn you. Once I realized what I had done, I was filled with sorrow and wandered northwards until I found myself here. And as there are many beautiful beasts and no men or Elves to speak of, excluding yourselves of course, why it seemed to me the most wonderful place in the world. I have been here ever since.”

He left them then, but it was not the last time they saw Radagast. He visited often with his reindeer (the little hobbits adored him because he took them for rides). They all stood in the courtyard waving up at him as he flew away.

But Rosie, Sam’s wife and the most practical of the hobbits, herded Gandalf inside and set to work straight away to fashion him new robes. These she made of a heavy, deep red material, as it seemed the color most easily discovered in the midst of a snowstorm.

“Now be sure to wear these robes," said Rosie. "You can still be Gandalf the White without your white clothes.”

“This way we’ll never mistake you for snow again, if you take my meaning, Sir,” added Sam.

Gandalf was delighted. “You know, red has always been my favorite color,” he said with a wink.

After that, only his snow-white beard hinted at his dangerous and worrisome days as the White Wizard. He seemed jollier to them all. Often his deep-throated laughter mingled with the airy giggles of the little hobbits in the valley. This caused more than one hobbit to remark with a knowing look, “It must have been hunger that made him grumpy all those years ago. Why, he’d eat next to nothing at all. But now with six square meals a day he’s all but lost his surliness.”

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