Pedigree by Celeritas

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Story Notes:

For B2MEM 2011, Day 14: Write a story or create a piece of art centred on freedom of religion (or lack thereof), heresy, and/or religious rites.

“What are we supposed to do with this?” said Rose, looking at the large and very foreign-looking book that lay before them.


“Keep it,” said Sam, “and add to it as need be.  It’s a big occasion among gentlehobbits, an occasion for partying.  Some folk think you’re not officially a part of the family until you’ve been added.”


“Sounds like a rule made by husbands and fathers,” said Rose.  “And anyhow, we’re not gentlehobbits, nor ever have been!”  She turned to him and pushed him lightly on the chest.  “What’s he thinking, giving us this?”


Sam sighed.  “I reckon it’s his way of showing how much he values us.”


“Pff!  Value.  If Mr. Frodo thinks that class has anything to do with value, he hasn’t learnt a thing on that quest of his!”


“Rosie!  It’s not—it’s not like that none.  You weren’t there.”  He pressed his lips together.  “But.  There’s not here, and may we all be grateful for that.  It’s a gift, nohow, and it’s not right to question gifts when they’re given with a good heart.”


Rosie nodded, but her eyes wandered back to the book.  “Good heart or no, though, Mr. Frodo is terribly clever.  I think—I think—I understand why he’s making you his heir, and not just taking us in as help.  And that’s perfect for a family, and maybe for much later, for he’s so much older, and someone as loves this smial ought to live in it and make it happy, but—I can’t shake the feeling.  He’s trying to make us gentry, a real Family, with a head and a status and a pedigree and all that, and is that really what we want?”


“There’s only three things in this world as I want right now, Rose.  The Shire set to rights, you happy, and Mr. Frodo well.  I’ve given up caring on the particulars.”


Rose couldn’t help but think on how folk said nothing but good of Sam for all his planting, and she wondered.  “I’m not unhappy with a family tree,” she said.  “But it gets a body to thinking, is all, and there’s only so much of Mr. Frodo that one can understand at a given time.”  She kissed him.  “I’ve always known you’re much more than a gardener.  But I don’t know as I can be more than a gardener’s wife.”


Sam placed his arms around her and held her close.  “You’re already more than that.  You’re a mum, now, too.  And of a very beautiful daughter, though that’s to be expected, looking at you.”


“Flatterer,” she mumbled into Sam’s chest.


Sam pulled her closer.


But something he’d said got Rose to thinking even more.  “Sam?  How did Mr. Frodo know what name to put on the family tree?”

Chapter End Notes:

Another stretchy prompt, but as I've already looked into the way hobbits ritualize death and marriage, so I wanted to look at birth.  We know that the Tooks, at least, took meticulous records of all three, so it makes sense that hobbits would make as much of a fuss out of a birth-entry as at a wedding or a funeral, especially when one considers the real-world equivalent of the Family Registers: church registers, which record baptisms, marriages, and funerals.  Hobbits wouldn't have had a baptism, so I imagine they would make the entry of the name itself the cause for celebration.


The different nature of the family trees of the Brandybucks, Bagginses, Tooks, Boffins, and Bolgers from the Longfather Tree of Master Samwise suggests that working-class families did not have family trees and that Sam's was only made after the fact--implying that working-class families did not ritualize birth the same way that the gentry did.  Hence the entire question of differences in rites and rituals, which, although they may not be religious in our modern understanding, surely tied hobbits together again in stronger ways, as the etymology of the word suggests.

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