Leaving the Hill
by Aznana Shieldmaiden
Samantha stomped her foot and kicked at a stone to express her frustration, but she couldn’t see for the billowing skirts around her feet and instead kicked a tree root, making her toe throb and tears spring to her eyes.
It was so unfair! She watched as her best friend and his cousins rushed down the lane like a litter of puppies, racing and leaping from shear good spirits as they made their way towards the tavern. Not long ago she would have been racing right alongside and giving them a run for their money. She had turned 30 last May Eve and, ever since, the familiar paths and the cozy bright houses of her childhood seemed terribly confining and utterly boring! The arched windows and round doors looked like mocking faces in the sides of the hills.
Now that she was fully grown, Hobbit society dictated she act like a lady. Her usual costume of cut down trousers and one of her father’s cast off tunics had been replaced by lacy dresses and corsets. The ladies of the village had made sure she had proper accoutrement. They would not have their cousins in other villages gossiping about a wild woman running around the Hill in men’s clothing.
She didn’t know any more about needlework than her father or grandfather did. They hadn’t known how to raise a motherless daughter. They taught her what they knew… growing things, setting small traps, fishing, carpentry, field craft, tying knots… Yet, she found herself in a billowy skirt on her way to a women’s sewing circle while her friends did whatever they pleased.
She trudged sullenly along with her head down totally ignoring the bright blue sky and the rejoicing birds along the way. She practically ran over the tall man dressed in gray who leaned against a wagon full of pumpkins at the side of the road. His eyes twinkled as she awkwardly curtsied and stammered out a greeting. “You seem a bit preoccupied,” he said.
“Yes. I was thinking about, ummm, my needlework.”
The old man smiled. “You are no more thinking of needlework than I am, Mistress.”
She smiled ruefully. He knew her too well. He’d been a frequent visitor at the Hill her whole life. He was one of her favorite people and had been her beloved confident since childhood. He had cured many a skinned knee and an aching heart for her over the years.
“What is it you are thinking?” she asked.
“I’m thinking that you are very handsome in that dress. I’m also thinking that it’s a shame that someone as clever and skilled as you are should be closed in a house with a needle on a day such as today.”
“I’m afraid that is my lot”
“It’s only your lot if you allow it to be. I have a task for you, but only if you can bear to set aside your frippery for a time and to cut your hair.”
Samantha blew a lock of her curly hair out of her face. “What do you have in mind?”
Half an hour later a young man in billowy trousers, a tucked shirt, plaid vest, leather trimmed jacket, high boots and cap strode in at the tavern door. He waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness and then made his way to the table full of young men at the back.
“Sam?” Said Frodo quizzically and then he grinned. “Of course! You’re coming!”
By the Bywater
by Caledonia Skytower
Down by the Bywater,
so abundant and green,
leaves nod and dance
with a twinkling sheen.
Down by the Bywater,
rocks stand nobly by,
as the waves do comply.
Down by the Bywater,
air pure, clean, fresh,
breathe deep of the peace,
breeze kissing your flesh.
So bring out your best
crack out the Old Tobin
pull generous pints while
life mellows, slows down.
No need to be hasty
forget all that fussing
take your time, reflect
with friendships amassing.
Down by the Bywater.
Mgthhwfumff fwwwm gurthlllp?
“It’s a mythtery.”
The Dinkie darted out from the underneath of where giant feets were likely to land.
Then … shiney!
Her attention was immediately diverted.
“Looka! Three! Three whole tables full of food! A tent full of fireworks! It’s like they were expecting me!”
Fidget stuffed her paws, her mouth, and her special magick inventory sack with as much chocolate as she could fit in.
She almost stopped to ponder why anyone in their write … er … right … mind would put fireworks within paws reach of a Dinkie, such as herself, but her mental vision was already full of sparkles and fantastic lights.
So many boxes of fireworks was just an open invitation! And she was going to get around to it just as soon as she finished eating.
Fidget yelled up at the giant, “Do you see them? Do you see the mushrooms?”
One paw ladled mushroom soup into a bread bowl, while she saw the giant’s head shaking in a no-fashion.
“Mgthhwfumff fwwwm gurthlllp?”
Talking around the food was illusory. Plus it just sprayed crumbs and food bits willynilly. Swallowing and taking a swig of a giant-sized moo-shake, Fidget tried again.
“Well, do you smell them then?”
A ground-shaking stomp from the giant’s foot was the reply.
Inventory stuffed to the gills, chocolate mouse … er mousse … dripping unceremoniously from a couple of whiskers, Fidget made a wry face.
“All right, we’ll hold up here for the day. Rumour has it taletellers of the highest caliber will grace the greens and knolls. If we listen well, we’re certain to hear about myth and legends … and within each of those is always a trace knowings. We’ll find it.”
And with that the Dinkie put out her paw for yet one more mousse.
Sometimes with mythteries you simply need to wait and see.
(Images provided by the author)