Supper’s Over, Breakfast’s Cooking by Dreamflower

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Story Notes:

Theme: Song/Poetry
Elements: The title, Supper’s Over, Breakfast’s Cooking , which is a line from the folksong, Old Dan Tucker
Author's Notes: The song “Nob O’ the Lea” was written for Marigold’s Challenge, and was featured in my story “Life of a Bard”.

“Supper's ready, Mr. Pippin! Do you want to get the others?" This was only the fourth day out of Rivendell, and Sam had decided to cook when he had finished his watch. He was not really used to sleeping in the day yet.

"Are you sure it's supper, Sam?" Pippin asked.

Sam blinked, as Pippin, who had been on watch with Legolas, went to shake Merry and Frodo awake, before moving on to Boromir, and then Gimli. Aragorn had sat up at Sam's low call, and Gandalf, too, was already stirring.

"What do you mean, Mr. Pippin?" Sam shook his head. "It's too late for teatime."

"Tea?" muttered Frodo muzzily. He was not fully awake.

"No," said Pippin. "I just wonder if it can be properly called supper, since our days and nights are turned around. Perhaps we should call it breakfast."

"Breakfast?" snorted Merry. "The Sun's about to go down. Breakfast is not at sunset."

"But," Pippin replied, "breakfast is called that because you are breaking your fast after sleeping all night. So if you sleep all day..."

Frodo, who was finally awake, smiled at Pippin's logic. "You do have a point there, Pip. We walk all night and sleep all day, so I suppose we are breaking our fast in the evening."

Merry snorted. "Frodo that's just daft. Breakfast is a morning meal."

Sam was torn. He tended to agree on this subject with Mr. Merry--but he did not want to say so, not if Mr. Frodo was of another opinion.

Boromir, who was fully awake now and listening to the conversation with amusement, said "Does it really matter what name you give the meal?" only to find himself the object of four horrified expressions.

"Does it *matter*?" spluttered Merry. "Of course it matters! You can't just call a meal *anything*!"

Pippin nodded, and began ticking off his fingers. "First breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, supper. Sometimes late supper, too. "

“Yes, sir, Mr. Pippin!” put in Sam. “Those are *proper* meals!”

“Not to mention the other things that aren’t quite meals, such as a mid-afternoon break or a midnight larder raid or a little something to tide one over before supper!” Merry declared.

"And don't forget about 'tupper', Uncle Bilbo's invention," put in Frodo, with a twinkle in his eye. He was clearly enjoying this discussion.

"Well, we aren't having any of those meals anymore," said Sam sadly.

"We are barely having two meals a night with a little something to nibble in the middle," said Merry. "I don't know that there *are* proper names for the meals we are having."

"If you can call them meals--especially when we don't even stop walking for one of them," put in Pippin.

Aragorn had been listening in amusement. "Hobbits!" he said. "You all make such a ritual of feeding yourselves."

Gandalf, who had been listening to the exchange with a twinkle in his eye, said “You should know by now Aragorn how important meals are to hobbits! But whether we call it ‘breakfast’ or ‘supper’, we are wasting time, and should consume this delicious smelling meal that Samwise has prepared, for I should like to be moving along ere moonrise!”

Indeed, it did smell delicious--a thick coney stew, for Merry and Frodo had some luck with throwing stones at hares that morning before the Company had halted. It contained not only coney, but dried mushrooms and dried fruit from their supplies, and some herbs and roots that Sam and Pippin had foraged as they walked the night before. Sam had also made some oat bannocks to go with the stew.

As Legolas took his bowl and went to get his food, he was surprised when Merry took it from him. “You Big Folk don’t know what a proper serving is,” he said firmly. He and Pippin collected all the bowls to the amazement of the others, and went over to the cooking pot, where they dished up very generous portions.

Boromir blinked, as Pippin brought his food and went back to fetch some for Aragorn. He started to protest. “I do not believe I can eat this much…”

Frodo interrupted. “You had better try. Sam has been offended at how little you big people are eating--he was afraid that you don’t like his cooking!”

Gandalf chuckled as he took his heavily laden bowl. “Thank you, Meriadoc.”

Gimli took the bowl that Pippin brought him, and smiled widely as the aroma reached his nose. “We are lucky indeed to have hobbit cooking! Master Gamgee is an excellent cook and it would not do to insult him!”

As the group sat about the campfire eating, Pippin asked hopefully “Do we have any tea, Sam?”

Sam shook his head. “I’m sorry, Mr. Pippin. We don’t have all that much tea in our supplies, so I’m only making that in the morning before we go to sleep.”

“No ale, no tea,” sighed Merry. “I don’t know which I miss more.”

Frodo smiled. “Tea.” he said wistfully, “tea, glorious tea.”

Pippin finished using his finger to get out the last of his stew, what his spoon had missed. He looked in the bowl sadly to see if he had missed anything. “Tea,” he sang, “tea, glorious tea…” He began once more, singing softly, and soon joined by the other hobbits.

Tea, tea, glorious tea!
Come put your feet up and have some with me!
Some bread and some butter
‘Twixt lunchtime and supper
There’s naught like a cuppa
Tea, glorious tea!

Tea, tea, glorious tea!
Now won’t you have a nice sitdown with me?
Just a wee little drop?
Oh, the kettle is hot
And I have a full pot
Of tea, glorious tea!

Tea, tea, glorious tea!
I know you’re longing to gossip with me!
I’ve managed to bake
Some biscuits and cake.
Oh come and partake
Of tea, glorious tea!*

The others listened to the hobbits singing, and Aragorn smiled at Gandalf. “That’s a favourite song of Bilbo’s.” he said softly.

The wizard nodded. “I have heard it often in the Shire.”

When they finished singing of tea, the hobbits sang another song of food--

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

First breakfast he has at the rise of the sun,
Two eggs, a sausage and one sticky bun.
He stays at the table until it is done,
And then back to bed is his idea of fun.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

Second breakfast, to the kitchen again,
Porridge and cream is his happy plan,
Followed by toast and strawberry jam,
An apple or pear and a wee bit of ham.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

He takes himself out for a bit of a walk,
But elevenses come at the chime of a clock.
There’s no time to stop and no time to talk
When there’s bread and butter and beans in the crock.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

Though he’s much work to do, he has a hunch
That naught will be done before time for lunch.
There are mushrooms and leeks and carrots in a bunch,
All of them things that he’s eager to munch.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

He’s ready to eat when teatime arrives,
Though fainting with hunger his spirit revives
With scones thickly spread with soft cheese and chives
And tea made with honey from his own beehives.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

Soon supper has come and his hunger is dire,
He’s almost certain that he soon will expire--
But there’s chicken on the spit and soup on the fire,
It makes him the happiest lad in the Shire.

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

And now that he finally finds he is fed,
He takes himself off to his warm little bed
And laying him down and nodding his head
He dreams of a marvelous, bountiful spread!

A hobbit of habit is Nob o’ the Lea,
Oh, a hobbit of habit is he, is he!

The tune was a jolly one, and by the time they had finished, the Big Folk were all joining in the chorus. But no sooner had they completed the last verse, than Gandalf said “The Man in the Moon is peering over the mountains! Come now, it is time to break camp and move along.”

Soon the fire was doused, and the Company walked on, heartened a bit by song and good food.

Boromir found himself unexpectedly humming “Tea, glorious tea…” With a sigh, he realized that the song was going to be running through his head all night long.


Chapter End Notes:

* Sung to the tune of “Mud, Glorious Mud (The Hippopotamus Song)” by Flanders and Swann.

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