West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
On the Lawn of Bag End
Sam prepares to plant a seed, and Frodo prepares to mow
Two views of caring for the Bag End lawn: Sweet and Silly
Notes: First the sweet. Rabidsamfan asked for fics to celebrate Samwise's birthday, April 6. This was my book-canon contribution. Happy birthday, Sam!
Disclaimer: Nothing of J.R.R. Tolkien's is mine, except for the pleasure that his books have always given me.
Preparing a Hole
It couldn't just be any hole. This one called for special preparation. The earth was hard in its winter sleep, but Sam nevertheless turned over the soil for a good yard in every direction, ripping out the remnants of old tree roots and making sure that the soil was loose. He then mixed in his own special blend of manure and filler, to help the soil breathe. He fluffed it, smoothed it, and leveled out the edges of the mound. Finally, in the center of the heap, he burrowed a hole using just his fingers, until he was down the length of his hand. He sat back, and studied the hole. It would suit.
He wiped his hands on the rag that always hung from his breeks when he was gardening. The dirt was caked beneath his nails, but Sam knew from long experience that it would stay there, and not mix into--what he didn't want mixed. Carefully, he removed the plain wooden box from his pocket. Silver flashed briefly in the dim winter light as he lifted the lid. He hesitated, looking at the trove within. At length, he made his decision: one pinch.
He tilted the box and tapped it lightly to gather what was left into one corner. From this, he picked up just enough dust to hold between his forefinger and thumb. Cautiously, painstakingly, he drizzled it into the hole. His mouth was dry; would the magic work?
He reached into the box again. For the first time, he closed his fingers about the small, silver seed. His heart leaped. Even now, in the dead of winter, he could feel... something. A life pulse within the shale. For a moment he seemed to see, with other eyes, silver boughs laden with golden flowers; from beyond their stems issued a song of surpassing beauty that hung upon the air, piercing him with words that skipped the understanding in his head and went straight to his heart.
The vision fled. Anxiously, reverently, Sam dropped the seed into the hole. Gently, he nudged the soil closed.
He sagged onto his heels, feeling spent. There was naught to do now but wait.
Notes: And now for the silly. Shirebound created this plot bunny: In FOTR, in Moria, Frodo wishes that he was back at Bag End, "mowing the lawn, or pottering among the flowers." How do hobbits mow their lawns? And why would Frodo be doing it, anyway?
Here is a possible answer:
Mowing the Lawn
Frodo stood on the lawn, looking at his gardener's new pride and joy. The spidery-looking article was being jointly displayed by Sam and his young friend Tom Cotton.
"It were Tom's idea," Sam said, holding the handle, which joined two slender rods to an axel that stretched between two big wheels that rested on the grass. Sam pointed to the cylindrical middle, between the wheels. "See, this part here, it's like a scythe, 'cept it goes round and round, 'stead of back and forth."
"I'd a mind to use something like this in the field," said Tom. "A bigger version, like to haul behind a heavy pair, come harvest."
"But this one's light," Sam hurried on, keen to sell Frodo on its virtues. "It won't get bogged down after a rain. And it's small enough that it can get into all the corners next the smial, and those tight bits round the shrubbery."
Frodo smiled wearily. "Sam, I understand that the garden is your province, and that you have your own ideas about how it should be cared for--"
"Oh, but it's not just me, Mr. Frodo!" Sam interrupted, and then reddened. "Begging your pardon, sir. But the neighborhood thinks this is a fine idea as well. So tidy, and so quiet! Why, you'd never even know the lawn was being mowed at all."
"I understand, Sam. But still," Frodo strode towards his 13-horsepower rear-engine model Riding Lawn Mower, and climbed into the seat. He clicked it on. The staccato roar of the engine shattered the silence of the Shire morning, frightening several birds from the trees. Sam winced.
Frodo, grinning, spun the wheel to aim for the large back field. "Sometimes," he yelled, over the engine's racket, "I just like the feeling of power." With an evil grin, he and his pet trundled away.
Sam watched him go, resigned. When the mower was sufficiently far down the hill that the noise had faded, he said to his friend, "I'll tell you true, Tom. The master worries me at times, and no mistake."
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