West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
Concerning Hobbit's Feet
Pippin has a question and Fredegar Bolger 'reveals' the answer to it with surprising results.
Author: Grey Wonderer
"Concerning Hobbit's Feet"
He was sitting with his back to us as we walked up the small hill. I knew he could probably hear us coming but he was ignoring us completely. He'd been up here for hours and he showed no sign of coming back to the smial. At first I figured he go off and pout for a while and then return. He never stays gone for long. Pippin doesn't like being alone. He isn't like Frodo in that way. Frodo often goes off for hours on end just for the sole purpose of being alone. Pippin likes company. If he is alone for too long he usually gets himself into trouble in an effort to entertain himself. I prefer to keep him close at hand. That way if anyone gets him into trouble it will most likely be me and I can almost always get him out again. Pippin can get into trouble with very little effort. He just can't get out of trouble.
As if by agreement, Frodo and I separate as we get closer to Pippin's position. I go right and Frodo goes left. We both reach him at the same time and take a seat on either side of him. He pulls his knees up to his chest and leans his pointed chin on them but he doesn't say anything at all. Frodo and I don't say anything either. We can always wait him out. Pippin will speak first or burst from the effort not to do so.
"Go away," he says finally.
"Why?" Frodo asks looking past Pippin and giving me a small smile. Pippin doesn't notice this but I smile back.
"I want to be by myself," Pippin says.
"Since when?" I ask.
"Go away, Merry," Pippin says. "Go away and leave me alone."
"Come on, Pippin," I say trying to sound encouraging. "They were only teasing you."
"Wasn't funny," Pippin mutters.
"All the same, if you continue to pout about it, they will continue to tease you," Frodo says.
"I don't care," Pippin says still muttering.
"If you don't care then why are you hiding up here?" I ask.
"I just want to be alone," Pippin says again and I don't believe him this time either.
"Pippin, Sancho is just a bit of a bully and he is always teasing someone," Frodo says. "You have to learn not to pay any attention to him. No one else does."
"They do so," Pippin says, raising his head and looking directly at Frodo for the first time since we sat down. "They all believed him!"
"I don't think they all believed him," Frodo sighs. "I think they were just teasing you too. Everyone could see that it was getting your goat. If you let the other lads see that something bothers you then they will continue to tease you about it."
"Is it true?" Pippin asks taking us both by surprise. "I mean, is it true what Sancho says?"
"What exactly did he say?" Frodo asks. Frodo is just like that. He won't commit to anything until he knows all the details. I would have just called Sancho a liar without worrying too much about it. Not Frodo. He has to get details. I sigh and wait for the details.
Pippin has stretched his legs out in front of him now and he says, "Sancho says that the size of a hobbit's feet decide how popular he'll be with the lasses later on. He says that if a hobbit has really small feet that no one will want to marry him or dance with him or, or, anything."
I almost choke on my own laughter as I fight to keep it from getting out. We knew that Sancho was teasing Pippin about something but this is just too ridiculous. I struggle not to laugh because I know that Pippin will die of embarrassment and he's already in quite a state as it is. Still, this is simply too funny. I am very glad that Pippin is looking at Frodo instead of me right now. I can see Frodo's mouth twitching a bit, but he is actually doing a pretty fair job of remaining serious.
"Sancho said that?" Frodo asks still fighting for control.
"He said that my feet are too small and that I probably won't ever even have a lass kiss me," Pippin said.
"Since when do you want a lass to kiss you?" I ask in an effort to help Frodo out a bit.
Pippin turns to face me and says, "Well, I don't exactly want one to kiss me now, but I might want one to kiss me sometime when I'm older, Merry. You kiss them and they kiss you. Maybe when I'm as old as you are I might want to kiss one of them."
"How do you know that I kiss them?" I ask. I wonder exactly where he was hiding and watching me.
He looks down and says, "I know you do, is all and your feet are pretty big so I guess it must be true. Everyone says that you have really big feet and that they're almost too big."
"Who says that?" I demand. I am just a bit insulted by this. I mean, my feet are a bit big, but they aren't as big as all that.
"Everybody," Pippin says which isn't helpful at all.
"This is interesting," Frodo says. "You mean to say that everyone in the Shire is discussing the size of Merry's feet?" Frodo can be very wicked at times and this is one of those times. I glare at him but he just smiles and says, "Merry's feet are fairly large, but I really didn't think that everyone was interested in them."
Pippin turns to face Frodo again and says, "Well, Sancho says that when you get old enough to start kissing lasses and stuff that everyone starts sizing you up and looking at your feet."
"Pippin, that is preposterous," Frodo sighs. "I mean, Merry's feet certainly are overly large, but I hardly think that-"
"My feet aren't overly large!" I shout before I can stop myself. I know that this is exactly what that evil Baggins was hoping for but I just can't keep quiet while he insults me in this way. Both Pippin and Frodo are looking at me now and Frodo is grinning. Pippin looks insulted on my behalf or at least he looks a bit sympathetic.
"But Merry, if you have really big feet, and you do, it's supposed to be a good thing," Pippin says. So he isn't defending me after all. I glare at him but he misses it and goes on. "Sancho says that the lasses like a hobbit with really big feet and with those feet I'll bet you have lots of lasses."
Frodo snorts and falls onto his back on the grass laughing at me. Naturally, he is laughing at Pippin for being a twit, but he is also laughing at me. I hate it when he does that. "My feet are a normal size," I say and I look at them just to make sure that I am proving my point.
Pippin slides one of his feet over next to mine and frowns. "Well, if your feet are normal then Sancho is right and I will never get married," Pippin says studying our feet.
"Pippin you are eight years younger than I am," I say stating the obvious but someone has to. "My feet weren't this big when I was your age."
"They nearly were," Frodo smirks and I really do want to hit him now.
"They were not!" I object. "You aren't helping Pippin feel better at all, Frodo and you aren't funny!"
Frodo snorts again and says, "Pippin your feet will grow when the rest of you does. Merry's just always been big for his age."
"I am not big for my age!" I say which is a strange thing for me to say when it comes to it. I have always been proud of being a bit bigger than the other lads. I am letting Frodo get to me in the same way that Sancho managed to get to Pippin. I am not pleased to think that I am as gullible as Pippin is. I need to get a grip on the situation before Frodo has me running off somewhere to pout.
"What if the rest of me don't grow?" Pippin objects and he stands up as if to remind us that he isn't exactly the tallest hobbit in the Shire. In fact, if you lined up all of the hobbits in the Shire according to height, Pippin would be on the low end of the line. He is a bit on the scrawny side too. He holds his arms out to the side and says, "What if this is all there is of me? What if I'm through growing?"
"Pippin, you are only fifteen," Frodo says. "Hobbits don't stop growing at fifteen."
"Sancho says that even if I start growing right this minute that I'll never catch up," Pippin says looking miserable about it all. "And if my feet don't grow then other things won't."
Frodo squints up at Pippin trying to figure out what he's talking about now. Pippin can confuse you if you let him. He just has this rather odd way of putting things that makes your head spin. Frodo knows this, but sometimes he lets Pippin get ahead of him. "What other things?"
Pippin lowers his eyes and looks at his feet and mumbles something that neither of us can hear and so I say, "Pippin, what other things are we talking about here?" You have to be direct if you hope to ever learn what he means.
"Well, important things, Merry," Pippin says. "You know. The sort of things that lasses might be interested in a lad for."
My eyes get wide and I know exactly what he means now. "You mean?"
Pippin nods and poor Frodo is still looking at us as if he has no idea what any of this is about. I have no idea how Frodo could be missing the point now, but he is and so I will have to clear it up. "He's talking about sex Frodo," I say. No point in trying to be subtle now. It should be obvious to everyone present that Frodo is in need of the direct approach.
Frodo sits up and looks at me as if I am the one who is not getting it and he says, "You mean that Pippin is afraid that his, that his, well that," he trails off and looks at Pippin. "What did Sancho tell you?"
"He said that you can tell how well-hung a hobbit lad is by the size of his feet and if you don't have big feet then you don't have, well, that other things aren't what they should be," Pippin says blushing a bit but doing a pretty good job of explaining it all. I suppose he's been listening to us older lads talk and picking up a thing or two after all.
"Pippin that's an old wife's tale," Frodo says when he has recovered a bit from the shock of hearing Pippin use the phrase 'well hung'. "There isn't a bit of truth to that sort of thing."
"Well if old wives talk about it then it must be important," Pippin reasons. "I mean wives are married and so they should know what's what when it comes to that sort of thing."
I am scratching my head because Pippin is almost making some sort of sense in this matter. I am not completely sure of what kind of sense he's making but his thought about wives knowing about that sort of thing would have to be accurate, wouldn't it? "I think he has you there, Frodo," I say.
"Honestly, Merry," Frodo groans as if I am some sort of prat which I most certainly am not. "I don't mean the old wives speak from experience on this matter. The expression means that it is just something untrue that folks say."
"So Merry isn't any bigger than you are even though his feet are larger?" Pippin says cutting to the heart of the matter again.
"I am probably bigger than Frodo is, but that's because I am a Brandybuck and Brandybucks are known for being gifted in that particular area," I explain. "It's nothing to do with our feet. It's just because Brandybucks are always well hung."
Frodo scowls at me now. "I think that's a tale that Brandybucks tell around the Shire to impress the lasses. Brandybucks aren't any bigger than any other hobbits are," Frodo says, standing up now and so I get to my feet, my rather large feet, and face him, smiling. He goes on bravely. "We Bagginses are very much in demand in that area if you must know, Pippin."
"Perhaps by the more timid lasses that don't feel as if they can handle a Brandybuck," I say smiling. This conversation is starting to be very entertaining now that I know what it is about.
"I'll have you know that I haven't had a single complaint," Frodo says. "I don't suppose that you have either, cousin. In fact, I don't suppose that you have made any practical use of yours just yet and so naturally, you've not had any complaints." He is grinning at me again and I feel that urge to hit him coming back.
"I might have!" I say and it sounds lame even to me.
"Did you?" Pippin asks sounding impressed. "Who was she?"
"He hasn't done anything," Frodo says before I can make up a name. "He's lying, Pippin."
"He doesn't know that!" I shout, but I know that Frodo does know that because I've discussed it with him. I should have kept my big mouth shut. I decide to try and save what little dignity I might have left and so I say, "When I do decide to use it, I won't have to worry about the size of it!"
Frodo is frowning now and so I stare at his feet to make my point. Pippin is looking at our feet too and he says, "Put your feet next to each other and we'll see who has the bigger-"
"Pippin!" Frodo shouts to avoid hearing what other interesting words Pippin knows. I sort of wish Frodo had let Pippin finish because I am wondering exactly what my little cousin knows. I am hoping that all of his information doesn't come from Sancho Proudfoot.
"Well, that would be a way to figure it all out," Pippin says. "I think Merry's feet are bigger."
When he's right, he's right.
"The size of Merry's feet has nothing to do with this," Frodo objects.
"But Sancho says that-"
"Sancho does not know everything," Frodo says in an irritated tone of voice.
"Not everything, but I do think he knows a bit about how to size things up," I say.
"Drop your pants!" Frodo says so suddenly that I think I must have heard him incorrectly.
"You heard me," Frodo says. "Let's just see how the Brandybucks measure up to the Bagginses in the area that counts. Pull it out, Merry."
I back up a step. My older cousin has gone round the bend. If I understand this, Frodo is asking me to reveal myself in the most personal sense of the matter. "Are you daft?"
"You can stand there and brag about what you have all day, but if you aren't willing to back it up then who's to say," Frodo says.
"Fine!" I say. "You want to find out just how sadly lacking you are then I will be glad to oblige you!" I reach for the buttons on my trousers and hope that Sancho's theory about hobbit feet is correct. Imagine! I am about to display my wears on the strength of the words of Sancho Proudfoot! What is this Shire coming to?
Pippin looks over at Frodo and says, "You have to unbutton your trousers too, Frodo."
"I know that!" Frodo snaps. "You turn around and mind your own business. This doesn't concern you. This is between me and Merry."
"It does too concern me," Pippin objects.
"How?" I ask. I am not exactly sure I want everyone in the Shire to have a glance at my hobbit-hood. I am especially sure that I don't want to come up short in front of this particular witness.
"Well, if yours is bigger then Sancho is right and I am in terrible trouble, but if Frodo's is bigger then I might still get married some day," Pippin says.
"Pippin," Frodo says in exasperation. "Unless you plan to unbutton your trousers too, then look the other way. This is not a spectator's sport."
Pippin looks down at the front of his trousers and considers this. He shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, all right, but remember I am younger than both of you."
Frodo and I exchange horrified glances as we realize that he means to do it. I look at Frodo and give him my 'now what?' face in the hope that he has a plan that will prevent us from having to settle this in front of Pippin but it isn't looking as if he does.
"What are you three doing?"
We all turn and there stands Fredegar Bolger. Here I am with two of my trouser buttons unfastened and Pippin has his hands in position to do the same and now here is Freddy! Frodo puts his hands behind his back and says, "Hello, Freddy. I didn't see you walk up."
"I don't think anyone did," Freddy says, grinning and looking at me as I quickly refasten my trousers.
"Freddy can judge," Pippin suggests before anything else is said.
"He can not!" I say.
"Judge what?" Freddy asks looking at Pippin.
"We need to see if Sancho is right about hobbits with really big feet like Merry's also having really big-"
"Pippin!" Frodo and I both shout and Freddy breaks out laughing. Frodo is blushing and I can feel my face turning red. Pippin, as usual, is clueless as to how embarrassing this is.
"Sancho Proudfoot says that because my feet are small, that my other important parts are small too," Pippin explains while Frodo and I try not to die of embarrassment. Freddy is listening to Pippin as if what our little cousin is saying is vastly important.
"Well, Pippin, the thing to remember here is that not all rules hold true," Freddy says. I watch as he begins to unbutton his trousers now.
"Freddy, what are you doing?" Frodo asks in spite of the fact that what Freddy is doing seems perfectly evident.
"Proving a point," Freddy smiles.
Frodo closes his eyes and says, "Spare us, will you?"
I look over at Pippin and see that Pippin is watching Freddy. This whole business is starting to make me highly uncomfortable and so I shut my eyes tightly. Pippin is about to know more about Fredegar Bolger than any of us should know. I hold my breath. Suddenly, I am entertaining the idea of marching back toward the smial and finding Sancho Proudfoot and beating the snot out of him for starting this entire thing.
"Wow! Is that real?" Pippin says sounding impressed.
"Every inch of it," Freddy says.
I hear Frodo groan and I wonder if he is looking too or if he has passed out or something. I am not opening my eyes and I don't care what Pippin says.
"How do you find pants to fit?" Pippin says and my eyes snap open without my permission.
Frodo is staring as if in shock and Pippin looks as if we are in one of those carnival tents where folks will show you oddities of nature if you pay them a penny. Freddy is, well, Freddy is standing there with everything on display and it is the most unbelievable display that I have every witnessed. My head is swimming and I wonder if what I am seeing is actually possible.
"That should settle it for you," Freddy says and begins to put the thing away. "My feet aren't as big as Frodo's or Merry's." He adjusts his trousers, turns his back on us, and walks away without another word.
Frodo is speechless and so am I. There is absolutely no way to argue with that. Pippin is grinning like an idiot and I have a second to wonder if maybe he enjoyed this entire display a bit too much and then he says, "Someday, I may just have two wives, or maybe even three. I will most certainly have lots and lots of lasses that want to marry me."
I turn to him and wonder how Freddy's good fortune could possibly have reassured him that much. Frodo is wondering the same thing because he says, "Pippin, what are you talking about?" Frodo sounds as if his head is splitting open.
"I'm related to Fredegar," Pippin grins as if this accomplishment is all his doing. "His mum is a Took and we are cousins."
"You're related to both of us," I point out.
Pippin looks at us and sighs deeply. "I know, but I have small feet and so does Freddy. You and Frodo have rather large feet."
"Now, wait a minute," I object, but Frodo puts a hand on my arm.
"We are not having this discussion again, Meriadoc," he says.
I am still not entirely sure that I don't need to defend myself in this area, but Frodo is in no mood to argue and that is when he can be his most dangerous so I close my mouth. Pippin is entirely too pleased about the way that this has turned out. The little twit is grinning far too widely. "I'm going back to the smial and punch Sancho right in the mouth!" Pippin says and runs off.
I look at Frodo with my mouth hanging open and try to form a coherent thought but nothing seems to come to me. As Pippin runs off Frodo calls out, "Hit him once for me, Pippin!" and I turn and look over at my older cousin who is normally the voice of reason and he is smiling in a rather sick fashion.
"Frodo, he means to do it," I say.
"Let him," Frodo says. "If I weren't too old, I'd do it myself. I'm tempted as it is."
"Frodo," I say.
"Did you know that Freddy was-"?
"Merry," Frodo breaks in quickly, taking me by the shoulders and looking up into my eyes. "We will never speak of this again. Do you understand? Never! It never happened. I did not see anything and neither did you."
"But, Frodo, did-"
"I don't want to talk about it!" Frodo says and he starts walking toward the smial. "Not ever!"
I guess that what they say about the Bagginses is true. They really can't stand to come out on the short end of anything.
G.W. (originally written on 08/7/2005 and posted to this site on 2/8/2006)
Back to Gen Story Listing