Sam's Mistake by Dreamflower

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Story Notes:

For Rabidsamfan, who wants Sam to get a bit of comfort for a change

Author's Chapter Notes:

Author’s Note: In this story, Frodo is 31, Sam is 20, Merry has just turned 18, and Pippin is not quite 10. (The equivalent of 20, 13, 12 and 6 in Man years.)


“What was that Merry?” asked Pippin, alarmed. They had been playing at Stones on the front steps of Bag End, waiting for Frodo and Bilbo to wake up.

But Merry had already jumped up and headed toward the hedge, where he had last seen Sam.

Sam was holding up his left hand with his right, and blood was running down his arm. There was a long gash across the palm.


“Mr. Merry, I’ve gone and cut my palm.” Sam was looking quite pale.

Pippin came up, eyes wide. “Ooh! Sam, are you going to die?” He sounded as though he were going to burst into tears. The sight of the blood had frightened him.

“No!” exclaimed Merry and Sam together.

Merry had whipped out a handkerchief, and started to tie up Sam’s cut. “Where’s the Gaffer?”

“He had to go into town, to pick up some seeds as we had ordered,” said Sam, his voice a bit shaky.

“Pip, go into the hole and rouse Frodo and Cousin Bilbo.”

Pippin took off as though he had wings to his feet.

“What happened?” Merry asked. Then his eyes fell on the bloody knife, the same one he had given Sam as a birthday gift, just a couple of weeks before. “Oh, Sam! I’m sorry!”*

“It weren’t the knife’s fault, Mr. Merry. I was trying to dig at that root with it and it slipped. I shouldn’t have been using a knife for that, and I knew it. I was just too lazy to go to the tool shed.”

“I will never believe you lazy, Sam.” Merry had finished tying off the handkerchief, and began to help Sam up. “Come on, let’s get you up to Bag End. I would imagine Cousin Bilbo is going to want a healer to look at that. It might need stitches.”

“Oh no, I can’t--the Gaffer’d peel me for putting Mr. Bilbo to that kind of trouble and expense.”

“Mr. Bilbo will decide for himself to what kind of trouble and expense he will be put, Samwise.” It was Bilbo himself, still tying on his dressing gown. Frodo was right behind him, dressed. He had already been awake when Pippin came pounding into his room. “And the Gaffer would not grudge his lad a healer, and you know it.”

He took Sam’s hand, with the bloody kerchief tied round it. The blood was still seeping through at an alarming rate. “Good job, Meriadoc. Now, do you know where Mistress Salvia’s smial is?”

Merry nodded, and pelted off without another word. Pippin started after him, but was stopped by Frodo’s hand on his collar.

“Uncle Bilbo, why don’t we get on up to the kitchen?” asked Frodo. “I don’t think Sam is looking too well.”

“Here, Sam, put your hand up in the air. Frodo, my lad, help Sam up to the hole. Come Pippin, let’s you and I go make some tea and start some second breakfast while we wait for the healer.”

“Come, Sam, lean on me,” said Frodo, supporting the Gamgee lad around the shoulders.

Tears sprang to Sam’s eyes. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Frodo, to be putting everyone out like this.”

“That’s enough of that kind of talk, Sam. You are not putting anyone out. Now save your breath and let’s get up there.” Frodo looked at the handkerchief with alarm. Although Merry had tied it well, it was almost completely red, and blood had begun to drip from beneath it.

When they got to the kitchen, Sam dropped into the chair Pippin pulled out for him; his knees had just given way, and he felt dizzy. Bilbo poured a cup of fruit juice, and held it up to Sam’s mouth. “Here, lad, sip on this.”

The kitchen door banged open, and Merry came in breathlessly. “Mistress Salvia-- is right-- behind me.” He bent over and tried to catch his breath. Still puffing, he continued. “She--said--keep it elevated.”

Bilbo nodded. He was already doing that, making Sam hold the arm up over his head.

Sam finished sipping the juice, and Pippin, eyes wide, brought the pitcher over and carefully poured some more. He had nearly finished the second cup when the healer appeared in the doorway.


The Gaffer came back up to the front garden, calling Sam, and surprised at getting no answer. He went around to the hedge, where Sam had been working, and he spied the bloody knife.

Picking it up, his weatherbeaten face went grey. Taking a deep breath, he made his way up to Bag End. He’d find out what had happened to his son.


He came to the kitchen door just as Mistress Salvia was putting in the last of the stitches. Sam was clutching both Frodo’s hands with his good one, so hard that Frodo’s fingers were turning blue. Merry stood behind Sam, his hands on his shoulders. Bilbo was seated at the table across from them, a pale and wide-eyed Pippin in his lap. Pippin was biting his lip, and tears were running down his face. He winced every time the needle went in and out.

Bilbo glanced up at the Gaffer. “Good day, Master Hamfast. It seems young Sam had a bit of a mishap.”

“Aye, I see that.” He lay the bloody knife on the kitchen table.

Sam opened his eyes at the sound of his father’s voice. “I’m sorry, Dad,” he whispered.

“I’m sure you are, son. Don’t much think that feels good.”

Mistress Salvia finished off her work, and looked up at the Gaffer. “The cut was a deep one. I needed to put in twelve stitches. He is not going to be able to work for a couple of weeks. And he lost a lot of blood. He needs to rest the rest of this day and tomorrow, and drink lots of liquids. I recommend a rich beef broth, as well.”

Bilbo put Pippin down. “Pippin, be a good lad, and bring me my purse. It’s on the dresser in my room.”

The Gaffer’s chin shot up. “Now, Mr. Bilbo, that ain’t right--”

“No, Hamfast, you will not gainsay me on this. Sam was working for me when he was hurt. That makes it *my* responsibility to pay the healer, as you very well know.”

The Gaffer drew in his breath, and then let it out. He’d been known to argue with his master, but not in front of others.


At Bilbo’s insistence, Sam was tucked up on the settee in the front room for the rest of the day, with Pippin and Merry dancing attendance on him, bringing him tea and juice and broth, as the healer had said.

And Frodo sat in the armchair across from him, and read to him out of one of Bilbo’s books of Elven tales.

Sam felt too tired and drained to be embarrassed at the attention, and occasionally drifted off to sleep.


It was teatime when the Gaffer came in to take him home. It had been many a year since he had carried his lad, and he was too big for it now, so he was going to use the handcart to take him down to Bagshot Row.

Frodo and his cousins tactfully left the room.

Sam looked up at his father, worry in his eyes.

Hamfast took the knife, now cleansed of all the blood, and held it out to Sam. “I trust you learnt a lesson.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And what’s that?”

“To use the right tool for the job, sir.”

“Aye. That’s good then. I’ll not say no more on it. Let’s get you home.”

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