Of Cakes and Crumbs and Distant Dreams by Lindelea

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Of Cake and Crumbs and Distant Dreams

Pippin stared out the slitted window and sighed. He'd found this little hiding place on one of his restless prowls about the great Citadel of Minas Tirith. It was a good place to go to think, when he tired of the attention of his cousins and the Big Folk. The winding spiral stair, its stones worn down on the broad part of the treads by centuries of climbing feet, had window slits all the way up the tower, some high and some nearly at foot level, perfect for a hobbit to sit and stare over the green of the Pelennor and think of home.

He hastily wiped at his face when the arm went round his shoulders. He'd been found.

'Hullo, Pippin. I was wondering where you hid yourself away.'

He turned, pasted on a smile. 'Frodo! I thought you'd locked yourself away to write!'

The older cousin wore a smile of his own, a sad smile, and a knowing one. 'I did,' he said, 'but I found myself thinking of the Shire. How I miss home! I wish we could leave today, but there's something Strider's waiting for...'

Pippin heaved a sigh and his lower lip trembled in spite of his best efforts. Frodo gathered him close, wrapping his cloak about the two of them as he sat down beside his young cousin. Pippin had been through so very much in his short span--a lifetime of war and worry, such that no hobbit thrice his age had seen since the days of Bandobras.

He rested his chin on Pippin's curly head as the tween leaned against his breast, and just as if they were sitting in the Old Orchard at Bag End, he began to speak.

'Once there was a young hobbit...'

A smile tugged at the corner of Pippin's mouth, a smile of remembrance and delight, especially as Frodo paused, as he always had at this critical point in the story, long ago, with a tiny hobbit nestled in his lap as they stared out over the vista seen from that vantage point on the Hill, the Water sparkling silver below.

'Named Pippin,' the young knight of Gondor whispered.

'Named Pippin,' Frodo agreed, as he always had. 'He was a bright lad, bright as the sunbeams that play upon the nursery floor. Well, one day young Pippin had an adventure...'

He proceeded to spin a gentle tale like many he'd spun in the distant past, of a hobbit who ate a wizard's teacake and shrank to the size of an ant, who explored the kitchen and pantry while in this diminutive size, who was able to crawl under the pantry door with its high latch meant to keep little hobbits out, how he'd feasted on all he'd found within, to his heart's content, for a crumb was as a whole cake to him.

He told of the little hobbit's Uncle Bilbo, at tea in the parlour with the wizard, and how the little one crept finally to his bed and fell asleep... how the spell in the wizard's cake wore off, just in time for his Uncle to come and check on him in his little bed...

' "How sweet he looks," the wizard murmured from behind Uncle Bilbo, as the two smiled down upon the little hobbit in his bed, cheek pillowed upon his hand. The little hobbit ought to have been sweet! ...with all the cake he'd eaten!

'Of course, he didn't say so, simply opened his eyes and leapt up into Uncle Bilbo's arms. "Hullo, Uncle!" he said brightly. "Did you have a nice tea?"

' "A very nice tea," Bilbo answered, "and we saved you your favourite, seedcake."

'Now as you know, little hobbits are always ready to eat, and though this little hobbit had eaten himself full to bursting, he was no longer the size of an ant, and his tummy was full, not of enormous quantities of cakes, but of little crumbs...'

'So what happened?' Pippin murmured sleepily. To his half-closed eyes, the green Pelennor with its silver ribbon of Anduin was the Shire, and he was the little hobbit, safe in his older cousin's arms.

'So of course,' Frodo said with a gentle squeeze, 'so of course he ate his fill of seedcake, and made the wizard laugh with his antics, until Bag End rang with cheerful sound! And then they all went to bed, and the next day they got up and did it again.'

He felt his young cousin sigh and relax against him, and he held Pippin carefully, unmoving, for a long and blessed nap. Indeed, he was drowsing himself, when he heard Merry's cheery voice.

'Hullo! What have we here? I came to fetch you for tea... the cooks have baked Pippin's favourite treat, you know, seedcake in heaps and quantities!'

'I've already had my treat,' Pippin said, stirring in Frodo's arms, turning though it gave his ribs a twinge, to hug his old and dear cousin. At Merry's look of confusion, he gave a mischievous grin, grabbed the hand Merry was holding out to him, and rose. 'But I'm always ready for another!'


(last updated 9/19/04)

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