‘Here are some treasures that you let fall,’ said Aragorn. ‘You will be glad to have them back.’ He loosened his belt from under his cloak, and took from it the two sheathed knives.
’Well!’ said Merry. ‘I never expected to see those again! I marked a few orcs with mine; but Uglúk took them from us. How he glared! At first I thought he was going to stab me, but he threw the things away as if they burned him.’
’And here also is your brooch, Pippin,’ said Aragorn. ‘I have kept it safe, for it is a very precious thing.’
’I know,’ said Pippin. ‘It was a wrench to let it go; but what else could I do?’
’Nothing else,’ answered Aragorn. ‘One who cannot cast away a treasue at need is in fetters. You did rightly.’
They went out and seated themselves upon the piled stones before the gateway. They could see far down into the valley now; the mists were lifting and floating away upon the breeze.
‘Now let us take our ease here for a little!’ said Aragorn. ‘We will sit on the edge of ruin and talk, as Gandalf says, while he is busy elsewhere. I feel a weariness such as I have seldom felt before.’ He wrapped his grey cloak about him, hiding his mail-shirt, and stretched out his long legs. Then he lay back and sent from his lips a thin stream of smoke.
‘Look!’ said Pippin. ‘Strider the Ranger has come back!’
‘He has never been away,’ said Aragorn. ‘I am Strider and Dúnadan too, and I belong both to Gondor and the North.’
Hi guys! Sorry about the lack of updates. I’ve been in the process of moving my life down to London for an unpaid internship. Hopefully now I’m settled in I can fill the queue up and get back to a more regular posting schedule :)
… ‘We had foul fare with the Orcs, … It seems a long while since we could eat to heart’s content.’
’It does not seem to have done you any harm,’ said Aragorn. ‘Indeed, you look in the bloom of health.’
’Aye, you do indeed,’ said Gimli, looking them up and down over the top of his cup. ‘Why, your hair is twice as thick and curly as when we parted; and I would swear that you have both grown somewhat, … This Treebeard at any rate has not starved you. ‘
’He has not,’ said Merry. ‘But Ents only drink, and drink is not enough for content. Treebeard’s draughts may be nourishing, but one feels the need of something solid. …’
’You have drunk of the waters of the Ents, have you?’ said Legolas. ‘Ah, then I think it is likely that Gimli’s eyes do not deceive him. Strange songs have been sung of the draughts of Fangorn.’
’Many strange tales have been told about that land,’ said Aragorn. ‘I have never entered it. Come, tell me more about it, and about the Ents!’
The hobbits led the way; and they passed under the arch and came to a wide door upon the left, at the top of a stair. It opened direct into a large chamber with other smaller doors at the far end, and a hearth and a chimney at one side. … On the hearth wood was burning.
… Aragorn and his companions sat themselves down at one end of a long table, and the hobbits disappeared through one of the inner doors.
‘Store-room in there, and above the floods, luckily,’ said Pippin, as they came back laden with dishes, bowls, cups, knives, and food of various sorts.
‘And you need not turn up your nose at the provender, Master Gimli,’ said Merry. ‘This is not orc-stuff, but man-food, as Treebeard calls it. Will you have wine or beer? There’s a barrel inside there – very passable. And this is first-rate salted pork. Or I can cut you some rashers of bacon and broil them, if you like? … I cannot offer you anything to follow but butter and honey for your bread. Are you content?’
‘Indeed yes,’ said Gimli. ‘The score is much reduced.’
’Well, well! The hunt is over, and we meet again at last, where none of us ever thought to come,’ said Aragorn.
’And now that the great ones have gone to discuss high matters,’ said Legolas, ‘the hunters can perhaps learn the answers to their own small riddles. We tracked you as far as the forest, but there are still many things that I should like to know the truth of.’
’And there is a great deal, too, that we want to know about you,’ said Merry. ‘We have learnt a few things through Treebead, the Old Ent, but that is not nearly enough.’
… ‘Farewell, my hobbits! May we meet again in my house! There you shall sit beside me and tell me all that your hearts desire: the deeds of your grandsires, as far as you can reckon them; and we will speak also of Tobold the Old and his herb-lore. Farewell!’
The hobbits bowed low. ‘So that is the King of Rohan!’ said Pippin in an undertone. ‘A fine old fellow. Very polite.’
’You do not know your danger, Théoden,’ interrupted Gandalf. ‘These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you encourage them with undue patience. Some other time would be more fitting for the history of smoking. …’
’… So these are the lost ones of your company, Gandalf? … Are not these the Halflings, that some among us call the Holbytlan?’
’Hobbits, if you please, lord,’ said Pippin.
’Hobbits?’ said Théoden. ‘Your tongue is strangely changed; but the name sounds not unfitting so. Hobbits! No report that I have heard does justice to the truth.’
… ‘You are gracious, lord; or I hope that I may so take your words,’ he said. ‘And here is another marvel! I have wandered in many lands, since I left my home, and never till now have I found people that knew any story concerning hobbits.’
’One thing you have not found in your hunting, and that’s brighter wits,’ said Pippin, … ‘Here you find us sitting on a field of victory, amid the plunder of armies, and you wonder how we came by a few well-earned comforts!’
’Well-earned?’ said Gimli. ‘I cannot believe that!’