Author's Chapter Notes:
March 22 Challenge:
What We Can
"What is bothering you, Bilbo?" Gandalf asked gently, although he had some notion of the hobbit's dilemma; he knew Bilbo's generous heart well. They had paused in their journey with the Elvenking to stop among the camps of those from Laketown who had been displaced by the Dragon's last rampage. Makeshift tents and temporary shelters were everywhere; the ground torn and muddy; and the people gaunt and weary.
"All this," said Bilbo. "It makes me feel helpless to see. Here am I with two chests of treasure, and I'd give it all to take away the hungry look on those children's faces. But there is no food to spend it on." Bilbo had often found himself hungry on this Adventure, but that did not mean it was right that children should go without.
"Fear not, my friend," Gandalf answered, "King Thranduil has already arranged to have food brought from his stronghold, for the Elves have always much stored against the possibilities of lean times, and he does not grudge to share it." Bilbo's face brightened somewhat to hear this, and Gandalf smiled. "In the meantime, we shall be here for a day or two. I'm sure that a tale or song would lighten their young hearts, though it would not fill their bellies. And we will share what provision we have with us."
"That makes me feel better, Gandalf, thank you! But it still does not seem fair for children to suffer."
"Of course it is not. But we will do what we can to ease the unfairness."
"What we can." Bilbo's face lightened, though care remained in his eyes. "Well, as we say in the Shire, 'something's better than nothing'." and he urged his pony towards the nearest group of children.
What We Can