For any readers who aren’t fans of the British science-fiction television series “Doctor Who”, or are only familiar with the new shows, this is based on one of the “classic” Doctors. In his fourth incarnation, the Doctor was played by the thin, 6 foot 3 inch tall actor, Tom Baker. With his broad toothy smile, expressive face and quick wit he played the part for seven years from 1974 – 1981. His most notable trademarks were a striped 17-foot long scarf and a fedora with a flattened, floppy brim. His first companion was Sarah Jane Smith, who had been the last companion of the Doctor in his third incarnation. She was a modern Seventies woman who had worked as a freelance journalist before getting involved with the Doctor.
Celebrating a Holiday
Sarah Jane Smith flopped forlornly down on the floor of the Tardis library. “Phooey! I would go and look at this first edition of “The Collected Christmas Stories of Charles Dickens.” She slid a bit further down the wall as she sighed. “I hadn’t thought about holidays, not one single thought, now I’m in a funk missing them all. Christmas. Twelfth Night. May Day. Guy Fawkes Day.” Holding up the slim, leather bound volume of stories she addressed it. “And thanks to you, little red book, just now I’m missing Christmas most of all.”
“Sarah! Sarah are you in here?” The Doctor, and his scarf, swished into the library.
“Here. I’m down here on the floor.”
“Hmm,” he muttered as he regarded her. “A new form of contemplative meditation? Wishing a shorter perspective? Collapsed from exhaustion and this was the first convenient wall to rest against?”
Sarah rolled her eyes in response to the Doctor’s cheeky, toothy, grin, “Oh yes. I was just so exhausted. We’ve been so overwhelmingly busy of late, you and I, that I just had to land in a heap on the floor. Rather, I’m having a good mope.”
He snatched the book that she had gestured with. “Dickens’ Christmas stories, eh? I’ve always liked “The Haunted Man” myself even though most Terrans seem to prefer “A Christmas Carol”. What could possibly have put you in a low mood from reading any of these stories?”
“I’ve not read any of them, but I know them all. Holidays have put me in a funk. Holidays, as in ‘How many have I missed whilst gallivanting about with you in this temperamental time machine of yours.”
“Well, technically . . .”
“I know, I know. Technically I’ve not missed any as you, supposedly, can take me back home at the moment we left. So, theoretically, I shan’t have missed anything. But I have no confidence I’ll get back at any such point in time and I will find I’ve missed a good many things.”
The Doctor took a step back during this barrage. “Oh! No confidence. No confidence!” He began to pace. “How ever shall I manage without your having confidence in me and the Tardis?” He paused mid-stride to give her a wink and a grin before continuing on. “Well now I’ll just have to see if there is anything I can do that might improve your estimation of me.”
Without as much as a glance in her direction he added, ”You’ll need to change. Middle-Ages shift sort of thing in velvet should do nicely.” Then he strode from the library.
Sarah sat there a moment longer then, with a grunt of effort and frustration, got up to look for the appropriate dress. When she arrived in the main control room, replete with its huge consol at which the Doctor was already at work, she was wearing an emerald green velvet dress with full sleeves that draped down to the floor, and had found a cloisonné pin of holly and berries that she wore on her left shoulder to give the outfit a Christmas-y look.
“You’ll like this,” he said with childlike enthusiasm. “It will be just the sort of Christmas you’re wanting.”
“What? Are we going to dinner at Scrooge’s nephew’s house? If so, I’m in the wrong style dress.”
The Doctor spared a moment to glare at his companion. “Don’t be ridiculous, Sarah. They’re fictional and you know it. I can’t take you somewhere fictional.”
“So where are we going? Somewhere during the Victorian Era I should think. They really did know how to do Christmas up properly.”
“No, although they really did a smashing job of the Holiday season. We’re going somewhere even more wondrous.”
Lights blinked. The Tardis made all its usual space-time jumping noises, and then there was quiet.
“And here we are!” The Doctor proclaimed as, with a flourish, he activated the door’s controls.
Whir. Creak. Rattle. Gasp.
Sarah looked at the doorway’s eight-inch opening then over at the Doctor. “I don’t think we can fit through that.”
They both bent their heads over the consol.
* * * * *
Peregrin Took flopped forlornly down on the floor of a large mathom room in Great Smials. The words of one of his cousins haunted his thoughts.
“You’re The Took and Thain’s son now, Pip. You need to have something really good for a Yule present to give all the cousins who’ve not come of age yet. There’s not been a decent Thain’s son in ages and it will stand you in good stead if you can do it up right.”
He sighed. At least the warning had come from one of the cousins who was a friend to him whenever Pippin and his family had come to Great Smials to visit. Pip grinned at that thought. Yes, Ferdibrand was a good egg. But that didn’t do much for his situation, as Ferdi hadn’t followed his caution up with any suggestions of what sort of gift would do the trick.
He started to sigh again but his breath caught. The room was filled with the most horrendous noise. In an instant the young hobbit crouched behind a large crate, hands clamped over his ears. Something was moving in the mathom room, being dragged across the rough floor. No more than that. There were tones in the racket the like of which he had never heard before.
Then all went still.
There was a soft whooshing sound and, with only the left side of his face and one large green eye showing, Pippin peered around the edge of the crate. A tall, narrow blue box stood a few yards away. A bright light flashed from its top and, what was obviously a door, stood ajar.
That was all.
No more horrid noises. No rattling. No goblins or ghouls or . . . what-evers popping out of it.
It just sat there.
With a slightly open door.
An open door.
It was more than Pippin could resist. With Hobbit stealth he tiptoed across to the strange box and eased himself through the gap of the partially opened door.
* * * * *
“Where has the lad got himself too?” Gandalf grumbled to no one as he walked down one of the more obscure tunnels in Great Smials. He paused to look at a small sign upon a large door. “ ‘Mathom Room’. Hmm. I wonder. Yes that would make sense, the lad’s needing to find gifts for at least his more closely related cousins.” A troubled look came into the old wizard’s eyes. “I do fear this transition isn’t going well for young Peregrin, nor for any of his family actually even though they’ve had several years of knowing this would be the likely outcome of Ferumbras The Third’s passing. Well, I think I’d best have a look in here.”
The ruckus came just as his hand touched the doorknob and he hurried into the room shutting the door quickly behind him.
“Oh my! I know that sound, though it’s been ages since the Doctor has been in Middle-earth. If Pippin is in here I’d best find him before he spots the Tardis . . . Oh dear; I think I’m too late.”
He could see the flashing light of the time machine reflecting off the ceiling and mathoms that filled the room and hurried toward the source. Rounding a corner he saw the blue Police Box and its partially open door.
“Well,” he chuckled, “I know where Pippin is.”
* * * *
“Well?” Sarah Jane prodded the Doctor. “Do we get out or not?”
“Leave me be, meddlesome Terran! You do insist on thinking of the Tardis like some ignorant machine of your world.”
He poked a few more buttons, whispered to it lovingly, nudged a couple of levers, smacked the consol with his fist then turned his back on it. At that moment the door opened and a tall man in a crooked pointed hat walked into the control room.
“Quiet, Sarah! I’m thinking,” he replied with his back still turned to the consol and the door beyond it.
“Doctor, did you open the door?”
“Would I still be needing to think if I had?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be the only one that can open it?”
“Yes. Well, mostly yes but sometimes no.” The Doctor finally looked over at his companion. “Why?”
“Then how did he get in?” Sarah waved toward the tall, smirking, man by the now completely open door.
“Here to make a muddle of things again, Time Lord,” the man in the grey robes looked at the Doctor as though he were an insect.
“No worse a muddle than you Maia create whenever you’ve stuck your ample noses into things.”
Sarah nudged the Doctor and reposed her question. “How’d he open the door? And, you know him?” she added.
“There are beings in the universe more powerful than the Time Lords, Sarah Jane Smith,” the Doctor replied, “and this is one of them, that’s how he opened the door. And, yes, I know him.”
The two men drew closer to each other like armed combatants while Sarah slowly crouched behind the consol. When their noses were nearly touching the two stopped.
“You should have knocked, Olórin.” The Doctor challenged. “It is rude to just walk in.”
“The door was partially opened.” Olórin haughtily returned. “Ha!” he crowed. “You blinked first!”
The Doctor and Olórin laughed as they embraced a moment then parted.
The Doctor gestured toward the young lady who was now gawking at them. “May I introduce my friend, Miss Sarah Jane Smith of the early Seventh Age.”
“A pleasure, Mistress Smith.” Olórin bowed to Sarah.
“A pleasure for me as well. You . . . you’re a . . .”
“Maia,” he finished for her. “Or, in my current persona, what you would call a . . .”
“Gandalf! Oh my, Gandalf!”
A small person appeared beside Olórin as though he’d been conjured.
“I’m dreaming. Tell me I’m dreaming. This place is huge but it was just a narrow box that I entered in the mathom room. And there are lights without flames and doors that open without touching them and . . . and . . .”
He paused for a breath and reached to touch the old man’s robe in a beseeching manner.
“Or is it real, Gandalf? Did you conjure this for me so I’d have something wonderful to give my cousins for Yule? It would be most grand to show them all such a place. It’d be grander than anything any Thain’s son has ever done before.”
Sarah was gawking again – at both the person in the robes and the childlike person beside him.
“G-Gandalf? The W-Wizard from ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’?”
The lad looked at her for the first time, gawking in return.
“Big People!” He yelped, edging closer to the wizard, then closer still when he took in the tall Man with the brown curly hair and long, flowing, scarf. But he was timid only for a moment before he leaned forward, curiosity getting the better of him as always. His hand strayed to the knit-work around his own neck as he eyed the stranger’s neckwear up and down. “What a wonderful scarf!” he exclaimed. “Did your mother or your wife make it for you? Maybe an auntie? I have lots of aunts who knit. How long is it? You’re ever so tall but it’s dragging on the floor even though it’s looped loosely around your neck. Isn’t that a wonderful scarf, Gandalf?”
Gandalf placed a hand on the lad’s shoulder but spoke to the Doctor and Sarah. “Here stands the reason for my walking in without knocking. I had the feeling this young imp had wandered in here and I didn’t want to delay in finding him.”
“Imp?” Sarah whispered. She had been looking intently at the youngster’s feet. “Surely this is a Hobbit, but . . .”
“Yes!” Pippin beamed. “I’m a Hobbit. Peregrin Took at your service, mistress.” He bowed then straightened. “Welcome to the Great Smials of the Tooks.” He paused, “Although you really haven’t been in the Smials in a proper way yet. You’re still inside the blue box in a mathom room.”
Sarah turned on the Doctor. “You . . . you . . . trickster! OK, Doctor. Where are we really? These are obviously some people in fancy dress. I don’t like being made to look a fool.”
The Doctor’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “Whatever do you mean?”
“You just told me we couldn’t go to any place that’s fictional then you apparently expect me to believe we’re in Middle-earth with Gandalf and Pippin.”
“There’s a problem?” he asked, his grin widening into a full, toothy, smile.
“Fictional, as in not real?” Pippin interjected.
Sarah hesitated. She looked at the supposed Hobbit before squatting and pulling on his foot hair.
“Ouch!” He yelped, jumping back.
None of it had pulled away from his foot as glued on hair would have.
She quickly tugged on the supposed Wizard’s beard, earning herself an intense glare from him. She looked back at the Doctor. “They . . . It’s . . . Tolkien?”
“History becomes legend, legend becomes myth and eventually it isn’t believed anymore. Didn’t Tolkien say something like that?” the Doctor said smugly. “Do you think he could have got anywhere if he had tried promoting any of it as truth?”
Pippin started laughing. “You thought I’m not real! And I thought you and this box aren’t real. Oh that’s rich, that is!” He laughed till he doubled over.
“Well done, Pippin.” The Doctor patted the Hobbit on the shoulder while reaching into his coat pocket. “Here, have a Jelly Baby!”
Pippin stopped laughing to stare at the small red blob on the Doctor’s extended palm. “A what?”
“It’s a treat,” the Doctor explained. “Candy. Try it.”
No Hobbit needed to be told twice to try a treat so Pippin popped the small red blob into his mouth.
“Mmmm! Sweet!” He bit into it. “Sticky too. It’s delicious. Do you have any more?” He slapped his hand over his mouth. “Sorry.” He mumbled from behind his hand. “That was rude. I have to watch my manners more now that Da, eh Father that is, is The Took and Thain.”
“Yes you do.” Gandalf chided the lad. After a moment of thought he went down on one knee to be eye-to-eye with the lad. “That’s what you were doing in a mathom room, isn’t it, Pippin? You asked me if I had conjured this, it’s called a Tardis by the way, if I had conjured the Tardis so you would have a worthy gift for your cousins for your first Yule as heir to the family titles.”
Pippin frowned, hung his head and drew circles on the floor of the control room with his right big toe. “Yes. It is such a bother, just like so much of being here and having Da be The Took and Thain. Even when we would come to the Smials for Yule in the past, we didn’t have to be or do anything special as we were just Tooks like everyone else.” He paused then continued. “Well, perhaps less so the last few years when it was rather certain that old Ferumbras wouldn’t marry nor have any heirs, and that Da would be next in line. But even then, he wasn’t The Took and Thain yet so it just wasn’t as bad. But now, now I need to have something truly outstanding, at least this first year, or I won’t be able to live it down.”
“That sounds depressing. Have another Jelly Baby,” the Doctor said, holding out the whole bag to the youngster.
“Thank you,” Pippin said as he reached into the bag of treats. “Why do you call them ‘Jelly Babies’?”
“Look closely at one.”
“Ewww!” Pippin screwed up his face in disgust and dropped the candy he had just taken back into the bag. “Ewww. That’s gruesome; eating little baby like things. Shame they taste so good.”
The Doctor looked hurt and frowned while the Hobbit sighed. He reckoned there was no accounting for Hobbit sensibilities.
“They might have been a good gift for the cousins if it wasn’t so gross eating little babies.”
“What if they looked like little wizards?” Gandalf quietly asked.
Pippin’s face brightened. “I think that would be funny!” His hand clapped over his mouth again. “Sorry, Gandalf. I’m being rude again I think.”
“Nonsense, Pippin!” The wizard laughed, ruffling Pippin’s hair. “I suggested it.” He looked over at the Doctor. “Would you have a way to cut a mold, Doctor?”
“Or a way to make the candy, for that matter?” added Sarah.
“Yes to both. Follow me!” The Doctor raised his arm like a general leading a cavalry charge and bolted out of the control room.
Five hours later they were finished. Pippin was the proud owner of six metal plates, each with a dozen little wizard molds cut into them by the Doctor’s magic (which he insisted was a thing called a laser). Pippin also had the recipe for the jelly and the flavorings – all made using ingredients Hobbits had available.
He also had a dozen-dozen small bags; each holding a dozen assorted flavored Jelly Wizards, which he gave to his closest cousins and the children of the heads of the various Took clans for Yule. It was all a smashing success. Pippin was proclaimed the best Took and Thain’s son ever by those who received the little candies and all expressed the wish for more of them the following Yule.
Pippin said he’d be happy to oblige.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane spent the evening in Gandalf’s quarters sitting beside a jolly fire set upon a charming hearth nibbling on a vast array of Yule treats that had been laid out for the Wizard’s enjoyment and that were, as was usual, enough to feed at least a dozen Big People to bursting. At midnight they helped him set off fireworks, both to welcome the New Year and to celebrate Paladin Took becoming The Took and Thain.
At about one thirty, Gandalf and Pippin escorted the time travellers back to the mathom room and the Tardis. Outside the old blue Police Box they said their good byes.
“At least you didn’t have to fight off any demons, orcs or ogres this visit,” Gandalf said as he and the Doctor shook hands.
“And you didn’t wreak havoc on the Tardis’ inner workings by casting spells inside of it.” The two friends smiled knowingly at each other. “I’d ask you to come along, but I think you’re someone who needs to be where he needs to be,” the Doctor added.
“Yes. It is your calling to roam about the universe and time while it is mine to tend to this world. I do more than enough wandering here.
“Thank you so much for a most pleasant Holiday.” Sarah Jane said as she hugged Gandalf before going down on one knee to better hug Pippin. “Your father’s house is most gracious, Pippin and I’m sure it’s hospitality will become the stuff of legends.”
Pippin was blushing as he hugged her back. “Thank you, Mistress Sarah, and you as well, Doctor.” He looked up at the tall man then broke off his hug with Sarah to bow to the Time Lord. “I shall never forget how you helped me this Yule and I will forever keep your visit a secret.”
“You are most welcome, Peregrin Took.” The Doctor bowed in return. “It was a pleasure helping you. It’s what I do you know, go about helping people.” He gave a knowing wink and laid a finger to the side of his nose.
Gandalf snickered. The Doctor looked indignant before both their expressions changed to affectionate smiles.
“And thank you for keeping our secret,” he added to the Hobbit. “Good bye, Pippin. Olórin.”
With a final nod to each of them the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith turned to enter the Tardis.
“Thank you, Doctor, for a wonderful Holiday. Where are we off to next?” she asked as they went through the wide-open doorway.
“I thought we’d visit Elizabeth Bennett.” Gandalf and Pippin heard the Doctor say just before the door closed.
Pippin was as good as his word. He only shared the truth of it all with his parents and even then, at Gandalf’s request, he left out anything about the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. Instead he said it was Gandalf and two Elven friends of his (who had come to help him with the fireworks) who helped Pippin make the Jelly Wizards. Paladin and Eglantine believed him for they knew; Elves and Wizards can do anything.
Gandalf, Sarah, and the Doctor had helped Pippin carry the goodies and supplies to his room that evening. Someone – it was never certain who – saw them in the dim light of an old tunnel, giving rise to the legend of the Yule Magician and his Apprentice amongst the Tooks of Great Smials. Every year the Yule Magician, a mysterious Big Person with a floppy hat, Hobbit-like brown curly hair, and an outrageously long scarf would come to the Smials with his pretty lady Apprentice – all dressed in green velvet with holly at her heart – and deliver the Jelly Wizards for the Thain’s son to give to all the children in the Smials. The Jelly Wizards had bolder flavors than any other jelly candies in the Shire, so everyone knew they had to be made with magic.
The Took and Thain passed the molds and the recipes for making the wondrous little treats along to his heir, and they were kept a secret of the Thains for as long as Hobbits were to be found in the world.
* * *
Pearl Took wearing her Doctor Who scarf.
Celebrating a Holiday