Memoirs of the Shire: Remembrances of the Past by CrystalGamgee
Indeed it was a time for silence. Sam looked onward to the road ahead. It was going to be a long journey home. Sam sighed deeply. The Shire would no longer seem the same without Frodo. The sun was just now beginning to fall under the horizon and the air was growing cold. Sam pulled his coat tight around his shoulders and looked to the sky. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of Frodo and the look upon his face as they stood in silence at the Havens. The days had only been few since he last seen him but they seemed too far already. Sam could still feel the kiss that Frodo had left upon his brow before boarding the ship and sailing away. Sam stood there at the waterÂ’s edge until the ship was swallowed by the shadows and he could see it no more. For hours he stood, listening as the waters rushed in about him. Frodo was gone and he was never coming back.
Sam looked away from the golden sky and down to his beloved Bill. He patted him on the head as they rode down the path towards Hobbiton. Glowing lights could be seen over the hill. It was home. Sam came into town and jumped off of Bill. He held his reins in his hand and lead him to Bag End. There at the door stood Rose holding Elanor in her arms. She smiled. The sweet smell of dumplings filled the air. Rose expected Sam home soon and supper was ready. Sam tied BillÂ’s reins to the fence outside and walked up the path. Rose took Sam inside and sat him in his chair before the fire. Sam looked at FrodoÂ’s chair across from him sitting empty. A sigh passed over his lips. Rose then came to his side placing Elanor in his lap. Sam looked up at Rose and smiled drawing in a deep breath.
“Well, IÂ’m back.” Sam said softly.
“You are.” Rose replied as she sat beside Sam in her chair.
“It wonÂ’t be the same without him here.” Sam replied looking at FrodoÂ’s chair once again.
“I know.” Rose said quietly. “ItÂ’s what Frodo wanted but our hearts will mend with time.”
“WeÂ’ve just lost so much within a short time.” Sam replied softly.
“That may be.” Rose replied standing up from her chair. “But we have our own lives to begin now, here with Elanor.”
Sam looked down in his lap at Elanor. She was smiling and tugging at the buttons on his shirt. Her eyes gleamed as she looked up at Sam. Sam drew her close to him and she giggled.
“Come now Sam.” Rose said walking out of the den. “Let us eat. The days have been long and youÂ’ll need some rest.” Sam then stood up from his chair and followed Rose to the supper table.
Days passed and then weeks. Sam often found himself in the study on many nights reading from BilboÂ’s book while he lay in FrodoÂ’s bed. Thoughts of Frodo often came to Sam as he read, for Bag End no longer seemed the same without him there. This evening in particular SamÂ’s head was clouded with thoughts of Frodo and he could not keep to the book. It was then when Sam caught a glimpse of something shimmering on FrodoÂ’s desk. Sam had not noticed anything on the desk that would shine; but then again the desk had not been disturbed since the day Frodo left. Curious, Sam sat up and looked over to the desk. Again the shimmer caught his eye.
“Hullo?” Sam whispered softly to himself. He sat the book down on the bed and walked over to the desk. He pushed aside some papers and there on the desk lay the white gem that Frodo always wore around his neck upon its silver chain. Sam reached down and picked up the necklace. He held it in his hand and then closed his fingers over it. He then noticed a folded piece of paper lying on the desk with his name written upon it. He picked it up and unfolded it reading it softly to himself.
If you have found this letter than you have finally stumbled upon my gem. I shall not need it here in this land of healing for I have relied on it too much already in life. It seems I have been hurt too deeply and that is why I chose to leave. In its place I now wear LilyÂ’s ring. It is all I have left of her dear Sam. I will miss you my friend and I pray this gem will bring you comfort on the days that grow too much to bear.
Tears fell from SamÂ’s eyes as he folded the piece of paper up and held it in his hand. It seemed that Frodo had held much weight on his shoulders that he never spoke word of to Sam. That is why it troubled him so when he heard Frodo say he was leaving for the Gray Havens. He could not understand why he wished to leave the Shire but now he knew. It was not only the past wounds but also the pain of letting himself grow so close to someone he could not have. Sam then placed the letter in his pocket and laid down on the bed looking at the white gem. His eyes were wet with tears and his heart ached. Thoughts of Frodo and of Lily soon clouded his mind. For hours Sam lay within the study surrounding himself with memories until his eyes grew heavy and he fell into a deep sleep.
The next week Sam sat in the study at FrodoÂ’s desk with BilboÂ’s book. Sam opened the book and took a pen from the desk drawer. He dipped it into the ink well and began to write. At first the words came easy and then his mind drew blank. He had added his own descriptions of his and FrodoÂ’s adventure but then another thought clouded his mind. Lily. Sam had been thinking of her for days. Sam knew he promised Frodo that he would keep her stay there secret but his hand overtook his heart and he began to write. He wrote about how Frodo came to find Lily and of her stay in Bag End. He told of how she fell into sickness and of Frodo staying by her bedside as he himself had done for Frodo in Rivendell. Sam continued on about how Lily spoke of not wanting to leave the Shire but later decided to return home to Bree. He even told of FrodoÂ’s journey there and of the gift Lily had left for him. Hours later Sam finished and lay the pen down on the desk. He read over what he wrote and sighed.
“I can not break my promise.” Sam replied to himself as he began tearing out the pages he wrote LilyÂ’s story upon. Sam took the pages and folded them up and placed them in the desk drawer. He blew out the candle beside him and then left the room closing the door tightly.
Two months passed and the cold of winter arrived. It was now December. Sam sat within the den on many nights by the roaring fire writing for hours in BilboÂ’s book about his journey with Frodo. He often paused in his writing to look at FrodoÂ’s empty chair but a smile would come to his face with the memories of his master. On this night Sam sat in the study going over his writings and making corrections here and there. A soft knock then came to the door and Sam watched as Rose passed by the study into the den. He heard a familiar laugh and hullo come as Rose welcomed the guests inside. He turned around in his chair and seen two faces peering into the study. It was Merry and Pippin.
“Hullo you two!” Sam said with a smile. “It has been some time since IÂ’ve seen your faces! Come in! Come in!” Sam replied getting up from his chair.
“It has!” Merry replied coming into the room. “We just couldnÂ’t stay away any longer than we have. How have you and Rose been keeping?”
“Quite well.” Sam replied sitting back down in his chair.
Merry and Pippin then sat down on the bed. They looked to each other and then to Sam. Sam looked troubled but he spoke none of it.
“Are you alright Sam.” Pippin said quietly.
Sam sat quiet for a moment and then turned around in his chair to Merry and Pippin.
“IÂ’ve found myself often thinking about him. Mr. Frodo I mean.” Sam spoke softly. “It has only been three months but it seems heÂ’s been gone for more than a year.”
“HeÂ’s crossed our thoughts time and again too.” Merry said looking to Sam. “But we canÂ’t let Frodo get the best of us. HeÂ’s where he wants to be and I know heÂ’s thinking of us as often as we are of him.”
“That is a comfort to know.” Sam said quietly. He then looked at BilboÂ’s book and closed the cover. Sam said not a word afterwards for quite some time. He just sat at the desk looking as if he was lost in a dream.
“Sam.” Merry replied standing up and coming to SamÂ’s side. “We came by for more than just a visit. We wanted to invite you with us.”
“With you?” Sam said turning around in his chair. “To where?”
“Well to Bree Sam.” Pippin replied. “We wanted to stop at the Pony and see old Barliman again. I do believe that you said his ale is the best around.”
“That I did.” Sam replied. “But I would trade it any day to see LilyÂ’s face once again.”
“And that you may.” Merry said placing his hand on SamÂ’s shoulder. “She will be there too.”
“Then we shall leave first thing in the morning!” Sam replied standing up. “Come now, letÂ’s sit in the den with Rose and enjoy each otherÂ’s company. I am sure we have much to talk about!” Sam said leading Merry and Pippin out the door.
Many hours passed as Sam sat within the den sharing stories with Merry and Pippin. Soon they all grew weary and longed for a nice warm bed. Sam showed Merry and Pippin to FrodoÂ’s old room and offered them the bed. They gladly accepted the invitation and quickly jumped onto the soft mattress and nestled themselves below the covers. Sam then retired to his own room where he soon fell fast asleep.
In the morning Sam awoke rubbing the sleep from his eyes with a yawn. He looked out the window and seen it was covered in frost. It had been a cold night. Sam sat up in bed and shivered. He then went to where Merry and Pippin slept to see if they were awake. When Sam came into the room they were busy gathering up their things. Merry put his knapsack over his shoulder and walked up to Sam.
“You ready?” Merry asked.
“Not quite.” Sam said with a smile. “I just woke up. Besides I donÂ’t want to leave with an empty stomach!”
“Right you are dear Sam!” Pippin replied walking up beside Merry. “Nor do I! It seems as if Merry is always in a hurry to get where he wants to go.”
Merry shook his head and smiled.
“Just like you Sam.” Merry replied. “Always thinking with your stomach!”
They all laughed. Sam then went and began to make some hotcakes with eggs and bacon. Hours later with bellies full and goodbyes said, they all left and began making their way towards Bree.
A few hours into their journey it began to snow. Sam sat upon Bill drawing his coat tight around his shoulders. He looked over at Merry and Pippin. They didnÂ’t seem to be bothered much with the cold. Along the way they all sang to themselves to warm their hearts. Time and time again Sam wished to stop to take his blanket from his knapsack but he soon lost thought of it when he thought about seeing LilyÂ’s face. Soon evening drew near and the three of them came to rest along side the road near a row of tall bushes. Merry went and gathered some wood for a fire and there was plenty to spare. Sam took out some cakes from his knapsack and offered them to Merry and Pippin. There before the fire they all sat eating SamÂ’s cakes and sipping on some cider. They drew themselves close to the fire later that evening covering themselves with all the blankets they had. Merry threw more logs onto the fire and soon they were warm enough to finally drift to sleep.
In the morning Pippin was the first one to wake. He opened his eyes and peered out from under his blanket at Sam and Merry. They were both still lying next to the smoldering fire hiding under the cover of their blankets. Their soft green woolen blankets could barely been seen under the layer of snow which covered them both. Pippin laughed. He then came out from under his covers and went off looking for some more wood for the fire. Soon he returned and found Merry and Sam awake sitting next to each other shivering.
“Fine day for traveling donÂ’t you say?” Pippin replied with a smile as he put the logs onto the smoldering fire.
“Fine day indeed!” Sam replied pulling his blanket tighter around him. “IÂ’d settle for a nice warm fire and a cup of hot cider! Get the fire going quickly Pippin and IÂ’ll get my pan ready to warm the cider.” Sam replied getting into his knapsack. He pulled out a jug of apple cider and a small silver pan. Sam then took out another one of his cakes and broke off two pieces for Merry and Pippin. Soon the fire was burning and SamÂ’s cider warming. He poured it into three cups and they all sat before the fire warming themselves inside and out before going on the road once again.
The snow was still lightly falling but the air seemed warmer with their bellies full of warm cider. They traveled on all through the day without a stop to eat or rest. Their only wish was to see the inside of the Pony and sit within its warmth drinking a pint of beer. Hours later the sun fell below the horizon and glowing lights could be seen in the distance. It was Bree. Sam urged Bill to move on faster and Merry and Pippin followed on their ponies closely behind. Soon they came to the gate where they were greeted and welcomed inside. Sam took the ponies to the stables and met Merry and Pippin at the door to the Prancing Pony. They came inside but the atmosphere seemed quite odd. There was barely a soul inside save for two men sitting at a table in the common room talking quietly among themselves. Merry and Pippin made their way to a table and sat down. They looked around but seen no sign of Mr. Butterbur, nor of Nob.
“Where do you suppose everyone is at?” Merry said quietly looking at Sam as he sat down at the table.
“I have no idea.” Sam replied. “It seems odd that there are but a few of us here. Hey you!” Sam shouted to the men sitting at the table near the other end of the room. “Where is Nob and Mr. Butterbur?”
All was silent for a moment and then one of the men spoke up.
“Did you not hear?” He replied turning to Sam. “Mr. Butterbur passed away yesterday afternoon. He has been ill for quite some time.”
Not one knew what to say. Merry looked at Pippin and then to Sam. His face seemed long.
“What about his niece Lily?” Sam yelled back to the men. “Have you word of her?”
“Aye, the poor lass.” The other man replied. “She took off late last night with a mare from the stables. The last anyone seen of her she was heading to the west.”
“WeÂ’ve heard nothing since.” The first man replied. “Nob sent her cousin Rowin after her but he came back this morning empty-handed. The mare she took was the fastest one around these parts. She could be anywhere.”
“She should be found quick.” The other man said taking a drink from his mug. “ItÂ’s too cold out there for her to be wandering away in her condition. She was never quite right after she returned home in the spring.”
“Not right?” Sam asked with concern. “Please tell me what was wrong.”
“I donÂ’t see why it matters to strangers such as you.” The older of the two men replied. “Do you know the lass?”
“That I do!” Sam said sharply. “She was within my care while she was away!”
“No need to grow upset little master.” The younger man replied. “She was weak is all I can say. She needed the aid of a crutch to walk after a few months went by.” He then turned away drawing his mug up to his lips for a drink. Sam looked to Merry and Pippin his eyes wide. He then reached down and took his knapsack up off the floor.
“Hurry!” Sam replied. “We donÂ’t have much time.”
“Time for what?” Pippin replied. “I havenÂ’t even had an ale!”
“To find Lily.” Sam replied walking towards the door.
“Find her!” Merry yelled. “She could be anywhere!”
“I know that Merry.” Sam said turning around. “But I think I know right where she is headed.”
With that the three of them gathered their things and went back out to the stables for their ponies. Soon they were on their way again out into the bitter cold.
Hours passed and with them came more snow. Sam yelled out into the night calling LilyÂ’s name hoping she would hear his voice. No answer ever came. Merry and Pippin kept close to SamÂ’s side looking out into the distance. SamÂ’s voice soon grew weak and they all longed for a bit of sleep. With a heavy heart they stopped along the path under the cover of a large tree and made a fire. Sam stood near the path pacing back and forth stopping once in awhile to listen to the faintest noise. Merry poked at the fire with a stick looking at Sam as he stood silent.
“Come Sam and sit by the fire!” Merry said. “Warm yourself and rest.”
“I canÂ’t rest knowing Lily is out there all alone.” Sam replied with a sigh.
“There is not much we can do right now.” Merry said pulling his blanket around his shoulders. “If you think she is heading back to Bag End more than likely she will get there by tomorrow. We should just rest here tonight and ride non stop when the morning comes.”
“YouÂ’re right.” Sam replied as he sat down near the fire. “I just hope she remembers the way.”
“She will.” Merry replied handing Sam his blanket. Sam wrapped the blanket tightly around his shoulders and then laid down on the ground. Shortly thereafter he fell into a dreamless sleep.
In the morning Sam awoke shivering. The snow had stopped falling but a strong western wind followed behind it. The chill in the air bit at his skin. He reached to Merry and Pippin shaking them.
“Come now and wake up!” Sam replied. “We should be on our way before more snow starts to fall covering any tracks Lily may have left!”
Sam pulled his cloak tight around him and lifted himself upon Bill. Merry and Pippin rolled up their blankets and mounted their ponies. Soon they were off again calling out for Lily and looking for her along the path.
It was early in the afternoon when the threesome came up on the Brandywine Bridge. The wind continued to whip around them pulling at their cloaks and biting at their skin. Sam peered out from under the hood of his cloak and looked to the path ahead. The sky was growing dim and a soft veil of snow began to fall. Sam then noticed was seemed to be horse tracks in the path, but they seemed long covered with snow.
“Look there!” Sam replied stopping pointing down to the ground. “Tracks!”
Merry jumped off his pony and walked over to Sam.
“Right you are Samwise!” Merry replied bending down to look over their find. “It seems like there was a lot of movement in this spot. Almost as if the animal was scared.” Merry said as he stood back up. He then noticed a rather large area where the snow had been disturbed. “See there.” Merry replied pointing ahead of them. “It looks as if someone fell in the snow.”
Sam nudged Bill forward and he went to look at the spot Merry was pointing at. When he came to it he saw something familiar lying on the ground.
“Oh no.” Sam replied jumping off Bill. There in the snow lay the shawl that Rose had knitted for Lily before she left for home. Sam reached down and picked it up and held it close to his chest.
“What have you there?” Merry asked coming up to Sam.
“ItÂ’s LilyÂ’s.” Sam replied with a tear in his eye. “Rose knitted it for her.”
“Now donÂ’t go crying Sam.” Pippin replied riding up beside Sam. “Your tears will just freeze to your face. There is no sign that she was hurt but look!” Pippin said pointing to the snow. “It seems she has taken off on foot!” In the snow were faint footprints. “Come now, back on your ponies! LetÂ’s follow them!” With that they left the path and followed the faint footprints while they still had the light of day.
Two hours passed as they followed the footprints along the western edge of the Brandywine. Sam and Pippin called out LilyÂ’s name but their own voices only answered in return. The snow was now coming down in thick white sheets making it almost impossible to see where they were going.
“This is no use!” Merry yelled up to Sam and Pippin who had ridden far ahead of him. “SheÂ’s not even heading towards Hobbiton!”
Sam looked back to Merry but he could barely see him through all the snow. He then looked down to the ground to the tracks they had been following. They had disappeared.
“What now?” Pippin replied looking over to Sam who was covered in snow. “We canÂ’t go on like this much longer.”
“YouÂ’re right.” Sam replied shivering with cold. “We should turn back to the path and make it back to Hobbiton before nightfall.” Just then Merry yelled out.
“Quick!” Merry shouted. “I think I see something!”
Sam and Pippin quickly turned around and made their way back to Merry who was pointing off to the west.
“There is something out there.” Merry replied. “Something lying in the snow.”
Sam looked to where Merry was pointing and indeed something was out there. It looked as if it was partially hidden beneath the snow. Sam quickly rode out into the field to see what it was. When Sam rode up beside it he saw that it was a knapsack. He jumped down from Bill and knelt down to the ground. He brushed the snow off the sack and opened it. His heart sank when he saw what was inside. Inside were the very things he and Rose had given to Lily as keepsakes when she left for home. Sam tied the knapsack shut and held it tightly in his hands.
“What is it Sam?” Pippin asked riding up to him. Sam looked to Pippin his face wet with tears.
“ItÂ’s LilyÂ’s bag.” Sam replied quietly. “The very things I gave her when she left for home are still inside.”
Pippin looked back to Merry as he rode up beside him.
“It was LilyÂ’s bag.” Pippin replied to Merry. “It looks as if she turned back west. Come. LetÂ’s get to the path and ride on to Hobbiton. If she has made it this far already she may be there by now if that is where she is heading.”
“Right.” Merry replied turning his pony back towards the path.
Sam got back onto Bill and followed Merry and Pippin back towards the road. Sam held LilyÂ’s bag close and sighed. Soon they found the path and they pressed onward riding off as fast as their ponies could carry them.
Many hours later the dark of night fell. Merry, Pippin and Sam rode on all through the night and into the early hours of the evening. Soon they saw lights shining in the distance. It was Hobbiton. They rode on faster and soon came to Bag End. Before he even came to a halt, Sam jumped off Bill and fell down on the ground near the front gate. He quickly stood up and ran up the path bursting through the front door. When he came inside there Rose stood in the hall in her nightgown with a broken mug near her feet.
“What kind of thing is that to do!” Rose yelled. “Running in the door scaring me like that and all.”
“Sorry, sorry!” Sam replied trying to catch his breath. “Is she here?”
“She who?” Rose said bending down and picking up the pieces of the mug. “No one has been by since the day you left.”
Merry and Pippin soon came running in behind Sam. They came in just in time to catch Sam as he fell back exhausted.
“She here?” Merry replied looking to Rose. Rose looked at Merry rather cross.
“No and no again!” Rose replied. “Who is supposed to be here?”
“We hoped Lily was.” Pippin replied helping Sam back up to his feet.
“Lily?!” Rose said rather surprised. “But why would she be here?”
“Her Uncle Barliman passed away a few days back and she took off that night on horseback.” Merry replied. “Two men at the Prancing Pony said she was headed this way.”
“We found her shawl and her bag along the way but we never managed to find her.” Sam replied going over to his chair and sitting down.
“It looked as if she had fallen from her horse and taken off on foot near the Brandywine Bridge.” Pippin replied. “We followed her tracks for some time and then they disappeared. It was then when Merry seen her bag.”
“Everything we sent home with her was still inside.” Sam replied quietly. Merry then went back out to their ponies and brought in their bags and LilyÂ’s things they had found. Merry placed LilyÂ’s bag and shawl on FrodoÂ’s chair next to the fire so they could dry.
“Why would she come all the way here?” Rose asked. “Frodo isnÂ’t here any more.”
“That I donÂ’t know.” Sam replied. “Frodo cared for her so much he truly must have told her he was leaving. It just worries me that she has been in this cold for so many days!”
“DonÂ’t worry Sam.” Rose said as she came to his side. “She will turn up.”
“She should have already turned up.” Merry replied sitting down on the floor in front of the fire. “She had a whole days start ahead of us.”
“Oh dear.” Rose replied. “What should we do?”
“Sit and wait.” Pippin said as he sat down before the fire to warm his feet. “WeÂ’ve done all we can do. Only an elf could find her tracks now if any are still left.”
For hours they all sat within the den before the fire listening for any sign of a knock at the door. Sam began pacing about walking back and forth to the window looking out into the night. The snow still fell and the wind still blew with a fury. Sam was growing weary. His eyes began to close as he stood looking out the window. Sam quickly opened his eyes again and turned around looking to Merry and Pippin. They had fallen asleep on the floor. Rose sat in her chair looking quite worried.
“Come.” Rose replied softly. “You need some rest. It does no good having you pacing about the floor. All we can do is be patient and wait.” Rose said as she began heading back to the bedroom. Sam followed behind but stopped to listen for a sign of Lily outside. He heard nothing but silence. A deep sigh passed SamÂ’s lips and he went off to bed with hopes that Lily would show up in the morning.
In the morning the sunlight filled SamÂ’s room as he awoke. He sat up in bed stretching and looked out the window. The fierce wind had died and the snow had ceased falling. Sam got out of bed and walked out to the den. There he found Merry and Pippin still sound asleep on the floor in front of the fireplace. Sam quietly walked by them and went to the front door. He opened the door and peered outside. All was silent. Sam closed the door and Merry quickly sat up being roused from his sleep.
“She here?” Merry replied as Sam walked by.
“IÂ’m afraid not.” Sam said as he came and sat in his chair. “I was only hoping.”
“Is someone here?” Pippin mumbled as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “I thought I heard the door close.”
“It was only Sam.” Merry replied standing up and stretching. Merry then sat down in a chair and took his pipe from his coat pocket. He lit it and took a few puffs blowing smoke rings into the air.
“Where do you think she is Sam?” Merry replied quietly.
“I only wish I knew.” Sam replied. He then stood up and went to the study. He soon returned holding a book bound with large red leather covers.
“That is BilboÂ’s book is it not?” Merry replied as Sam sat down.
“That it is!” Sam said opening the cover. “IÂ’m adding to it just as Mr. Frodo had about our adventures and such. I thought reading a bit would take my mind off things.”
“May I?” Pippin replied looking up at Sam. “I would love to read some of it.”
“You may.” Sam replied handing the book to Pippin. Pippin took the book and sat it in his lap. He opened the cover and began reading. Merry came to his side and sat down reading along with him.
That evening Merry and Pippin still sat before the fire reading through BilboÂ’s book. It had begun to snow once again and the air outside held a bitter chill. Sam paced back and forth around the halls of Bag End with thoughts of Lily filling his mind. He wondered how she could possibly survive having been out in the cold so long. She had neither her shawl nor the food within her knapsack. Sam then made his way back into the den where he found Merry sitting, still reading from BilboÂ’s book. Hearing Sam walk in he looked up setting the book in his lap.
“Where is Pippin and Rose?” Sam replied as he sat in his chair.
“They left hours ago. They couldnÂ’t hold their eyes open any longer so they went to sleep.”
“I did not realize IÂ’ve been walking about so long.” Sam replied. He sat quiet for a moment and then looked to Merry who had stuck his nose back in the book.
“Is it enjoyable?” Sam asked.
“It is!” Merry replied looking away from his reading once again. “There are many parts I myself would care to forget but you and Frodo have written it so well it is almost like living the adventure once again.”
“ItÂ’s still not finished though Merry.” Sam replied quietly. “It will be some time before that story ever comes to an end.”
“That it will.” Merry said closing the book. He then noticed tears falling down SamÂ’s face. He stood up and came to Sam putting his hand on his shoulder.
“Do not lose hope.” Merry replied. “She will show up.”
“ThatÂ’s about all IÂ’ve been running on these past few months.” Sam replied softly.
Merry patted SamÂ’s shoulder and then turned to LilyÂ’s old room.
“Well I am off to bed.” Merry replied. “You should head there too Sam. You look as if you need the rest.” Merry said going into the room and closing the door behind him.
Sam looked at the closed door and sighed. He then stood up and made his way towards the study. He went inside and sat down on the bed. Sam then reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out FrodoÂ’s necklace. He then placed it around his neck and laid down on the bed. His mind was full of thoughts of Lily and of his master Frodo. Sam soon nodded off and found himself lost in a dream. He dreamed of sailing on a ship, far across the waters shrouded in a veil of grey mist. The mist parted like a sheer curtain and there before him stood a vast green land full of hills and flowering trees. The ship came to rest near the shore and there waiting for him was Frodo. Sam smiled in his sleep and reached his hand up to his chest. He took FrodoÂ’s white gem in his hand and he felt a new peace come over his body. Seeing FrodoÂ’s face once again had lightened his heart but his pleasant dream would soon come to an abrupt endÂ…
At that hour, under the midnight sky, a shadow slipped into the outskirts of Hobbiton from the east. The figure traveled through the fields wading through the thick snow, falling many times, hesitant to get back up. At last the shadow stood to its feet and began to travel once more. The wind whipped around the shadow tugging at its cloak as it flowed about in the wind. The shadow grabbed at the cloak and drew it close to keep out the chilling air. For a moment the shadow stopped and looked to a light shining just over the hill. It was Bag End. The figure continued on, falling in the snow once again. With one last effort the shadow stood to its feet and made its way through the snow. Soon the figure came to the field behind Bag End. One light shone through the window and the figure moved on until at last coming to the back door. The shadow stood there for a moment and then lifted up a hand to knock on the doorÂ…only the knock never came. Overtaken by the cold the figure fell to the ground, coming to rest up against the door.
“What was that!” Sam shouted, quickly opening his eyes. Sam sat up and looked around the room listening. The only sound was that of the wind. Sam then heard a door open. Sam listened and heard whispering. Soon Merry and PippinÂ’s face appeared his doorway.
“What was that noise?” Merry said with a yawn. “It sounded like someone knocking on the door.”
“So it wasnÂ’t hearing things.” Sam replied getting out of bed. He walked out into the hall and looked at the front door and then the back. “Which one?” Sam said looking at Merry.
“The back door.” Merry said quietly trying not to wake Rose. “It sounded like it came from back there.”
“Lets go have a look then.” Sam replied making his way down the hall. He came up to the back door and lifted his hand to the knob. He turned it slowly and opened the door just a crack but it flew open all the way. In tumbled a large figure wrapped tightly in a grey cloak. Sam jumped back and let out a yell. With that Rose came rushing out of her room. She came to a sudden stop near Sam seeing the cloaked figured lying at his feet. Sam knelt down to the floor and touched a hand that was sticking out from under the cloak. It was pale in color and cold. Sam then reached over and pulled on the cloak rolling the figure over. A pale frost covered face then came into view from under the snow covered hood. Sam gasped.
“Lily!” He shouted kneeling back down to the floor. “Quickly Rose, go and fetch me some warm water!” Sam said picking up LilyÂ’s head into his lap. Her eyes were closed and her hair was frozen to her face. Her lips were blue and no breath seemed to pass her lips. Sam rubbed her cheeks trying to rouse her but her eyes did not open. Rose came with a basin of warm water and Sam took some of the water in his cupped hands splashing it on her face. Lily drew in a deep breath. Merry and Pippin knelt down to LilyÂ’s side and began rubbing her hands and arms. Still she did not wake. Sam lifted LilyÂ’s arms and pulled her wet cloak off. Rose removed her shoes and placed them and LilyÂ’s cloak before the fire in the den to dry.
“Come now!” Sam replied. “LetÂ’s get her into the study in front of the fire!”
Pippin came to SamÂ’s side and grasped Lily under her arms helping Sam drag her down the hall. They pulled her into the study and laid her down on the rug in front of the fire. Merry took a blanket from the bed and covered Lily with it. Pippin then took another blanket and folded it up placing it under LilyÂ’s head. Sam added a few more logs to the fire and knelt down at LilyÂ’s side.
“Well she made it.” Pippin replied scratching his head. “But now sheÂ’s the same as when we brought her here last year.”
“That may be.” Sam said looking at Pippin. “But she is safe and we can make her well once again.”
For some time they all stood within the room hoping Lily would soon wake. Hours passed and soon Merry and Pippin grew tired. They both went to bed and Rose came to SamÂ’s side.
“You should rest.” Rose replied. “She will wake once she is warmed. She has been outside for quite some time.”
Sam sat quite for a moment and then looked at Rose
“She has been through so much.” Sam said softly. “I just donÂ’t want her to be alone when she wakes.”
“Very well.” Rose replied leaning down and giving Sam a kiss on his brow. “IÂ’ll come for you in the morning.” Rose then left the room leaving Sam at LilyÂ’s side. The night had grown long and indeed sleep was coming to SamÂ’s mind. He patted LilyÂ’s hand and gently laid it down at her side. Sam then stood up and went to the bed covering himself with a blanket. He looked at Lily and sighed. Sam then closed his eyes and pulled his blanket tight around him. Within minutes he had fallen fast asleep.
A few hours had passed after Sam drifted to sleep when he heard someone whispering. Sam opened his eyes and turned over to look at Lily. Her eyes were still closed but she was talking quietly in her sleep. Sam sat up in the bed. Lily then began to toss her head from side to side yelling out Â‘Frodo! Frodo!Â’ Sam jumped off the bed and came to LilyÂ’s side taking her hand in his. He whispered her name hoping she would hear his voice but his words went unheard. The turn then seemed to pass and Sam crawled back into bed. Sleep soon fell upon him once again and he sank into a dreamless sleep.
In the morning Rose came into the study and found Sam and Lily both fast asleep. Rose went to Sam and gently kissed him. Sam opened his eyes and smiled.
“Hullo Sam.” Rose replied. “Did you sleep well?”
“I did.” Sam said sitting up. “Lily began calling out for Frodo in her sleep. I came to her side hoping she would open her eyes, but the turn seemed to pass and she fell quiet again.” Sam then looked down to Lily lying on the floor. The warm glow from the fire shined upon her face. Just then Lily began struggling about on the floor. Sam came off the bed and sat down beside Lily and placed his hand upon her brow. She yelled out for her uncle and then her eyes opened. She was breathing heavy. Lily looked up at Sam and her eyes seemed to see right through him. She turned and looked to the fire and then back at Sam. She reached up to touch his face but her arm fell limply down to her side as her eyes closed once more. Sam looked at Rose with worry upon his face.
“She is ill.” Rose whispered. “We should leave her to rest. It seems there are many thoughts clouding her mind.”
Sam sighed and stood to his feet. He just wished she would wake. He then walked out of the study and Rose followed. Sam went into the den and sat before the fire smoking his pipe. Rose left for the pantry and began making breakfast. Merry and Pippin soon came out of their room and sat with Sam.
“I thought I heard Lily.” Merry replied. “Is she awake.”
“She was.” Sam said with a deep sigh. “Then she closed her eyes again and she hasnÂ’t opened them since. Rose said to leave her rest so I came out here to take my mind off things.”
“She will open her eyes again.” Pippin replied. “Just give her some time.”
“So much has happened to her within these last few months.” Sam replied. “I just donÂ’t know what will become of her when she does finally wake up for good.”
“She will be fine Sam.” Merry replied. “A little worse for wear but she will pull through just as we all have this past year.”
“Nicely put.” Pippin replied.
“That is was.” Sam said softly. “That it was.”
That evening Sam sat within the study at the desk writing in BilboÂ’s book. Time and again Sam would look away from his writing down to the floor where Lily slept. She had not moved since Sam had left her side that morning. Sam turned back each time and let out a sigh and continued on with his writing. Many hours passed and Sam soon grew tired. He closed up the book and blew out the candle on the desk. Sam stood up from the chair and turned around to look at Lily. She was lying there with her eyes open.
“Sam?” She whispered quietly.
SamÂ’s eyes teared and a smile came to his face. He went to Lily and knelt down at her side.
“IÂ’m here.” Sam replied taking her hand in his. “How are you feeling.”
“Worn.” Lily said softly. She then reached up and touched SamÂ’s face.
“It has been so long.” Lily replied. “It is so good to see you again.”
“And you.” Sam said with a smile. “You have had us worried for quite some time.”
“Worried?” Lily replied. “But why?”
Sam was quiet for a moment and then he let out a deep sigh.
“WellÂ…” Sam began. “About six days ago I left for Bree with Merry and Pippin. Once we got there we heard of the death of your uncle.” Sam replied. “One of the men there said that you had left on the very night we set out. They had sent your cousin for you but he came back unable to find you. I couldnÂ’t bare the thought of you out there in the cold alone so I decided that we should go and find you. I had a feeling you may try to come here so when we lost your tracks we rode as fast as our ponies would carry us back here. It wasnÂ’t until last night when you showed up tumbling in the back door unconscious. It was just too cold for you to have been out there all that time.”
“That it was.” Lily replied. “My heart was full of so much pain that I couldnÂ’t bare to stay in Bree a moment longer. That is when I decided to come back here to see Frodo.”
“Frodo?” Sam replied rather confused.
“Yes.” Lily answered. “For a moment I thought you were Frodo sitting there at the desk. It wasnÂ’t until you turned around that I seen it was you.”
Sam didnÂ’t know what to say. He thought Lily knew Frodo had left. It was written in the letter that Frodo had written. Then it became clear. Frodo had never given Lily the letter. Sam had only assumed it was a copy that Frodo had never thrown away. His heart grew heavy. He just couldnÂ’t bear to break LilyÂ’s heart again. Lily looked around the room and then out the door. The face she so longed to see wasnÂ’t anywhere to be found.
“Where is he Sam?” Lily said with a whisper. “Where is Frodo?”
Sam drew in a deep breath.
“HeÂ’s gone.” Sam replied softly.
“Gone?!” Lily replied. “What do you mean?”
“HeÂ’s left the Shire and went away over the sea to the Grey Havens.” Sam answered. “Did he not tell you he was leaving?”
Lily looked to Sam, her eyes wet with tears. She shook her head slowly from side to side and let out a yell hiding her face under her arm in a veil of tears. Hearing the noise Merry and Pippin came running into the room followed by Rose. They looked at Sam sitting down on the floor at LilyÂ’s side. Sam seeing them come inside stood up and walked over to them.
“What is wrong?” Rose replied quietly.
“Well she is awake.” Sam replied. “But she didnÂ’t know.”
“DidnÂ’t know what?” Merry said softly.
“That Frodo was gone.” Sam replied. “She came all this way just to see him.”
“Oh no.” Rose whispered. “DidnÂ’t he tell her?”
“No.” Sam replied softy. “He did not. Come, let us leave her for now.” Sam said showing everyone out the door. Just then Lily sat up.
“Sam no!” She shouted. “DonÂ’t go.”
Sam turned around and came back to Lily as everyone else left the room. He stood at her side as her tears continued to fall.
“When?” Lily replied quietly. “When did he go?”
“It wasnÂ’t more than three days after returning home from his journey with you.” Sam replied.
“But why didnÂ’t he tell me?” Lily said drying her tears. “He never said he wanted to leave the Shire in all the time I was here.”
“It wasnÂ’t until you were gone when he realized he couldnÂ’t stay in the Shire any longer.” Sam replied. “I myself never knew why he really wanted to leave until a few weeks after he was gone.” Sam then stood up and made his way to the desk. He opened up a small drawer and pulled out the note Frodo had written. He came back to Lily with the note in his hand.
“Here, read this.” Sam replied handing her the paper.
With trembling hands Lily unfolded the paper and read the words Frodo had wrote. When she was finished she closed it and looked at Sam.
“I hurt him Sam.” Lily whispered. “I should have never left.”
“It is not your fault.” Sam replied sitting down on FrodoÂ’s bed. “You knew you couldnÂ’t stay here in the Shire forever and I think Frodo knew that too. He just had grown so fond of you as I know you did of him.” Sam said softly. He then reached under his shirt and pulled out FrodoÂ’s gem. He pulled the chain up over his head and took it off holding it in his hand.
“He left this too.” Sam said walking over to Lily. He held out his hand and Lily held hers under his. Sam turned his hand over and FrodoÂ’s necklace fell into LilyÂ’s hand. Lily closed her fingers tightly over the gem as she looked to Sam with tear filled eyes.
“He left it behind knowing that where he was going he wouldnÂ’t need it anymore. The only thing he bore with him when he sailed away was the very necklace you left for him upon his return. That is yours now. Keep it with you always.”
Lily closed her hand upon the necklace and a smile came to her face. She embraced Sam and held him close.
“Thank you.” Lily replied softly. She then took the necklace from her hand and placed it over her head. “This may be the only thing I have left of him Sam, but he will always be in my heart.”
“Just as he said of you.” Sam replied quietly. He then watched as Lily held the gem in between her fingers watching as the fire shone upon it. She then tucked it under her shirt and turned to Sam. His face seemed deeply saddened.
“You miss him donÂ’t you Sam.” Lily said quietly.
“That I do.” Sam replied. “It seems as if a part of me is missing without him here.”
Lily sat quiet for a moment looking back to the fire. She pulled her knees to her chest and sat her chin upon them. A deep sigh passed her lips. Just then Merry came to the doorway and knocked. Lily turned to the door and seen him there holding something behind his back.
“What is it Merry?” Sam replied.
“Pardon the interruption Sam, but Rose thought Lily might like to have these.” Merry replied coming into the room. He took his hands out from behind his back and held out LilyÂ’s shawl and knapsack. A smile came to her face.
“Here you are.” Merry said handing Lily her things. She laid them at her side and took Merry in her arms embracing him tightly whispering many thanks.
“If it wasnÂ’t for Merry we would have never found your bag.” Sam replied.
Lily let Merry go and he straightened out his clothes with a smile.
“And Sam found your shawl.” Merry replied. “He kept it close to him all the way home.”
Lily looked to them both and smiled.
“I canÂ’t thank you enough.” Lily replied. “These things mean everything to me. TheyÂ’re all I have left from my stay here and at my uncleÂ’s.” Lily then yawned and stretched. She was growing tired.
“Would you like a bit of rest?” Sam replied. “You can come and lie on the bed if you like.” Sam said standing up.”
“I would.” Lily replied. “Though I just woke up I still feel as if I havenÂ’t slept in weeks.” Lily then began to stand up. Her legs felt weak and she almost fell back. Merry came rushing to her side and took her arm.
“You can lean on me if you need.” Merry replied. “IÂ’ll help you to the bed.”
“Thank you.” Lily replied placing her hand on MerryÂ’s shoulder. He held her around her waist and by the arm as she made her way to the bed. She sat down and pulled her legs up onto the bed. Sam couldnÂ’t help but notice how weak she seemed.
“Are you well?” Sam asked as he covered Lily with a blanket.
“IÂ’m afraid not.” Lily replied softly. “It appears my old wounds never really seemed to heal.”
“I wonder why.” Sam replied softly. “You seemed well when you left.”
“IÂ’m not really sure Sam.” Lily sighed. “After I came home I began to grow weak. Maybe I just need more rest and perhaps then I will be well once again.”
“Perhaps.” Sam said with a smile. “But I should leave you now for you and I need some rest. I will see you with the Â‘morrow Lily.”
“That you will.” Lily said pulling her covers close. “Goodnight Samwise and sleep well.”
“And you.” Sam replied. He then closed the door leaving Lily to sleep.
With the light of the new morning Sam awoke and went to see Lily. He opened the door to the study and found her still sleeping. He walked inside and sat down in a chair beside the bed. When Sam sat down it creaked with old age and Lily opened her eyes.
“Hello Sam.” Lily replied with a yawn. “Did you sleep well?”
“That I did.” Sam said smiling. “It has been quite a few nights since IÂ’ve had a good rest.”
Lily stretched and then sat up in the bed. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and put her feet down on the floor. She sat there looking around the room and then she looked back at Sam.
“Nothing has changed since I left.” Lily replied.
“Quite right.” Sam said looking around. “I intend to leave it just as Frodo did the day he left. It makes me feel like a part of him is still here when I come into the room.”
“That it does.” Lily replied softly. She then grew silent and sat looking off into the distance. Sam looked to her with concern. She no longer seemed the same as she had been when she was last in the Shire. He had so many questions he wished to ask about while she was gone but he couldnÂ’t seem to force them past his lips. For an hour he sat silent and then a deep sigh passed his lips.
“Lily.” Sam said quietly. “If you donÂ’t mind me asking, what happened to your uncle.”
For a moment Lily did not answer but the words soon found their way to her mouth.
“He had stood at the east gate every night while I was away hoping I would return. Not even the rain would keep him away. I saw him there when I returned and I came to him running into his open arms. Just a few weeks later he fell ill. Everyone said it was from him staying out in rain and the snow so often while I was away.” Lily replied with a tremble in her voice. “I sat with him by his side every night hoping he would come around. Then one day I came to his room and he had passed. His breath was still and his body cold. It hurt so much losing him after being away from him so long. If only I had come home sooner, I kept telling myself, then he would still be alive.”
“ItÂ’s not your fault dear Lily.” Sam replied placing his hand on hers. “These things are meant to happen at their chosen time.”
“But it is.” Lily replied. “If I had come home when I should have he wouldnÂ’t have become so ill. When he died I just couldnÂ’t bare the thought of being left alone once more so I took a horse from the stables and headed here. I had been riding for almost a day when I fell from the horse. She bolted away so I started the rest of the way on foot. Then it began to snow. It was so cold out and I couldnÂ’t seem to remember the way. I remember dropping my knapsack somewhere in a field but the snow was coming down so hard I couldnÂ’t see where it had fallen. I can barely remember what happened from then on, but I recall coming up to the back door here and then falling down. From then on I remember nothing until I woke last night.”
“You had opened your eyes the night we brought you in.” Sam replied. “But you seemed to see things far away and didnÂ’t realize I was here. You were calling out for Frodo.”
Lily was silent looking away as if trying to find a lost memory. She then turned to Sam as a sigh passed by her lips.
“I remember now.” Lily said looking into SamÂ’s eyes. “His face had appeared in my dream and then it seemed to fade away. That is when I called his name.”
Sam let out a sigh.
“It seems we have both lost so much within these few short months.” Sam replied softly.
“We have.” Lily said looking down at Sam. “But now we have each other.”
That evening Sam sat before the fire in the den with Merry and Pippin. Merry was once again reading through BilboÂ’s book and Pippin was catching a nap in a chair. Sam then heard a door creak open and he stood up from his chair. He looked down the hall and seen Lily peeking out of the study door.
“Could you come and help me Sam.” Lily replied. “IÂ’m feeling a bit weak in the legs.”
“That I will.” Sam replied coming to Lily. She stepped out of the study and placed her hand on SamÂ’s shoulder. “Would you like to come and sit with us near the fire?” Sam asked.
“I would love that.” Lily said looking down at Sam. He then led her into the den and took her to FrodoÂ’s empty chair. She sat down slowly and let out a sigh.
“So many memories.” Lily replied.
“Yes. There have been many fond memories shared with Frodo from that very spot.” Sam replied as he sat down. He looked at Lily and noticed she seemed bent and worn. She seemed happy though. She looked down at Merry sitting on the floor and Pippin snoring away in his chair. She smiled and looked down at her hands lying in her lap. She rubbed them as if they ached and then she sat quiet.
“Lily.” Sam said quietly. “It troubles me knowing you came all the way here with as weak as you are. How did you ever manage?”
Lily looked up at Sam and gave a soft laugh.
“Well I never thought IÂ’d lose my horse.” Lily replied. “Then I left in such a hurry from Bree that I forgot to bring my crutch my cousin Rowin had made for me. It was very useful in helping me get around.”
“What a walk it must have been.” Sam said.
“That it was Sam.” Lily replied in return. “I kept falling in the snow and I could barely manage to get back to my feet again. There were a few times I just wanted to lie there and never get up again but I would think of Frodo and I would get to my feet once more. If it wasnÂ’t for my longing to see Frodo I donÂ’t think I would have ever made it.” Lily replied softly.
“It just hurts me that your journey was in vain when you found Frodo was not here.” Sam replied.
“It was not in vain.” Lily said quietly. “You were still here as was Rose. And it was a surprise to see dear Merry and Pippin who I only seen but a few times while I was last here.” Lily then grew quiet. She took out FrodoÂ’s necklace and smiled.
“But Frodo is still here.” Lily said placing her hand over her heart smiling.
Within the days that followed Merry and Pippin journeyed back home. Sam had also made Lily a large walking stick with an arch at the top that she could place it under her arm to help her walk when she grew weak. Lily smiled brightly when Sam presented it to her for he had carved large beautiful flowers upon it with ivy vines sweeping up along the sides. She used it often and even when she was able to walk freely she carried it with her always. The cold of winter soon passed followed by a warm and refreshing spring. The flowers blossomed with a gleam of beauty surpassing the blooms from the year before. The cool rains of April swept through the Shire and burst forth the golden flowers from the silver mallorn tree behind Bag End. Merry and Pippin came by now and again and Sam soon noticed that they had become fond of LilyÂ’s companyÂ…especially Merry. He would often sit with her near the fire telling her of his great deeds in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The days were passing quickly and Lily soon found herself growing restless. She longed to be outside walking through the grass breathing in the cool spring air. That day she came to Sam as he sat in the study writing.
“Sam.” Lily replied softly walking into the room. “I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is that dear Lily.” Sam replied turning around in his chair.
“I want to go for a walk outside.” Lily said looking down to the floor. “I know what youÂ’ll say but I canÂ’t bare to stay indoors a moment longer. If you want we can walk under the cover of the moonlight as I did with Frodo.”
“That shouldnÂ’t be necessary.” Sam replied standing up. “WeÂ’ll go have a walk now out back for a moment in the light of day. I think we shall be safe from the eyes of anyone back there. At this hour everyone is more than likely inside enjoying their supper.” With that Sam made his way to the back door and Lily followed with her staff in hand. She reached to the hook by the door for her cloak and fastened it at her neck. Sam then opened the door and they made their way outside.
The sunlight warmed LilyÂ’s face as she stepped out the door and into the soft green grass. The little mallorn tree reflected the sunlight off its blossoms shining golden hues upon the ground. Lily took in a deep breath enjoying the fresh crisp air. She took a few steps out into the field and stood silently looking out into the western sky.
“Do you suppose heÂ’s thinking of us Sam?” Lily replied quietly.
Sam then came to LilyÂ’s side and looked into the distant horizon.
“That I do.” Sam replied. “Frodo never really wanted to leave but he knew the Shire could one day be healed and he could not.” Sam then heard a yell shout out behind him and he quickly turned around. There near the edge of the field stood Mirabella Bolger, a young hobbit lass still in her tweens. She took off running back for home dropping the basket that she was carrying.
“Quick!” Sam shouted. “WeÂ’ve got to get back inside.” Sam said hurrying Lily along. They rushed inside and Sam quickly locked the door and closed all the shutters tight. Rose hearing all the commotion came out into the den where Sam stood with his back against the front door.
“What is going on?” Rose replied coming into the den.
“ItÂ’s Mirabella.” Sam replied trying to catch his breath. “She seen Lily and I outside and she took off running for home.”
“Oh dear.” Rose said shaking her head. “That young lass has the fastest mouth in all of Hobbiton. Everyone will know LilyÂ’s here before the day comes to an end.” Just then a loud pounding knock came to the back door. Sam didnÂ’t dare answer it but it came again and this time with a loud voice calling out his name.
“Farmer Cotton?” Sam yelled out.
“Open this door Samwise Gamgee before I break it down!” Farmer Cotton shouted banging on the door once more. Sam ran to the back door and opened it letting him inside.
“What are you trying to do?” Farmer Cotton yelled pointing his finger at Sam. “You trying to scare everyone out of Hobbiton bringing strangers into town?”
“No sir.” Sam replied a bit shaken. “ItÂ’s just Lily is all.”
“FrodoÂ’s Lily?” Farmer Cotton asked looking down the hall trying to see if she was really there.
“Aye.” Sam replied. “She came her to see Frodo only she didnÂ’t know he had gone.” Sam then leaned close to Farmer Cotton and whispered in his ear.
“Begging your pardon though sir.” Sam said softly. “Her uncle passed away and she has no where to go. IÂ’ve had a mind to let her stay here with me.”
“Well youÂ’d have a lot of convincing to do. You know how no one feels as if they can trust strangers anymore.” Farmer Cotton replied. “I know she means no harm but no one else knows that.”
“That I know.” Sam replied. “I had thought of calling everyone together and explaining to them that she is a long time friend from Bree and that she means no harm.”
“Well you better get started.” Farmer Cotton said as he turned around and opened the door. “I wasnÂ’t the only one heading this way.” He then left closing the door behind him. Moments later a knock came to the front door followed by another. Then Sam heard the bell ring. Lily peeked out of the study into the den and seen many faces peering in the front window. She quickly hid back inside and Sam took in a deep breath as he made his way to the front door.
“Where you going?” Lily whispered as Sam walked by the room.
“To tell everyone youÂ’re here and that you mean no harm.” Sam said stopping by the door. “You donÂ’t want to stay hidden in here forever do you?”
Lily shook her head no and watched as Sam walked away. She then went and sat down on the bed in the study listening contently as she heard Sam open the door and walk outside.
“Who are you hiding in there Sam Gamgee?” Moro Proudfoot yelled from the back of the crowd.
“Tell us!” Many voices shouted back in return. “We want to know!”
Sam looked over the crowd who had gathered in front of Bag End and seen more coming down the path. He held up his arms and yelled out above the chattering crowd.
“I donÂ’t know what youÂ’ve heard.” Sam began. “But IÂ’m not hiding anything. A friend of mine has come to stay with me from Bree and she means you no harm. She is a friend of mine and of Master Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck.” Sam replied.
The noise of the crowd soon grew as everyone gathered at the front door began chatting among themselves. Wilcome Hornblower then came to the front of the crowd and held up his hands. Everyone grew silent.
“If she is a friend of yours and of Master Took and Brandybuck then she is a friend to us.” Wilcome replied. Everyone then cheered. “Bring her before us.” Wilcome said coming up to Sam. “And let us welcome her to the Shire.” Sam then turned around and went back inside. He went to the study and found Lily inside sitting on the bed.
“Come Lily.” Sam replied holding out his hand. “Everyone wants to welcome you here.”
“Everyone?” Lily replied with a quiver in her voice.
“Everyone.” Sam said with a smile. “Come now. LetÂ’s go outside.” Sam took LilyÂ’s hand and she walked along with him holding her staff in the other. Seeing everyone outside Lily took a step back hesitant to go further.
“IÂ’m scared.” Lily replied. “What will they say?”
“Nothing.” Sam said urging Lily to go forward. “They just want to say hullo.”
Lily then took in a deep sigh and went on her way. She and Sam soon came to the front door and she bent down so not to hit her head on the doorway as she went out. When she came outside everyone was in silence but then a loud cheer and a clap of hands came over the crowd.
“Welcome to the Shire.” Wilcome replied bowing low. “Any friend of SamÂ’s is a friend of ours.”
Lily didnÂ’t know what to say as he faced blushed red. A few of the onlookers then began making their way back for home and others stayed whispering among themselves. Sam led Lily back inside and he closed the door. The day was coming to an end and the sun was starting to fall. Lily went and sat down in FrodoÂ’s chair placing her staff down on the floor beside her.
“Well when something is going on around here, everyone wants to be the first to know about it.” Sam replied as he sat in his chair with a smile.
“It seems that way.” Lily said with a soft giggle. She then yawned and reached her arms high above her head stretching.
“If you donÂ’t mind Sam, I think IÂ’ll go and have a bit of rest.” Lily replied standing up. “I seem to be rather tired this evening.”
“Go and rest.” Sam replied. “ItÂ’s been quite a day for us both. I too think I shall go and have a nap.”
“IÂ’ll see you in the morning Sam if I donÂ’t wake before then.” Lily replied as she made her way to FrodoÂ’s old room.
“And I you.” Sam said as Lily walked away closing the door behind her. Sam then stood up and made his way for the study where he laid down on the bed soon falling into a peaceful sleep.
Weeks soon passed and then months. The warm of summer came bringing soft rain showers with the evening and the song of birds in the day. Sam would often find Lily in her room sitting on her bed looking through the things she had within her knapsack. One evening he noticed Lily lying on her bed with a rather large stack of papers. She was reading through them smiling to herself. Curiosity soon got the best of him and he knocked softly on the open door.
“May I come in?” Sam replied.
“You may.” Lily said sitting up on the bed. “I wondered when you might stop and say hello on your many passes by my door.” Lily replied smiling. Sam blushed.
“I didnÂ’t want to bother you.” Sam replied. “But I couldnÂ’t help but notice the smile on your face while you read through your papers and I wondered what was upon them.”
Lily picked up a few of the papers and handed them to Sam. The writing looked very familiar and the words were the very same ones within the book lying upon his desk in the study.
“Why itÂ’s a copy of Mr. BilboÂ’s book.” Sam said looking to Lily. “Frodo copied it for you.”
“He did.” Lily replied. “Each and every page. He promised I would hear it again once it was finished.”
A tear fell from SamÂ’s eye as he handed the pages back to Lily.
“He cared so much that you were happy.” Sam replied. “I never knew he did this for you, but then again he has managed to keep one or two secrets from me.” Sam replied with a smile.
Lily took the pages and placed them in their proper place within the stack. She then placed them on the table beside her bed and looked to Sam who seemed to be troubled. Just then a knock came on the front door. Sam looked to Lily.
“I wonder who that could be at this hour?” Sam replied walking out of her room. Sam went to the door and opened it. Merry was standing there soaking wet with rain.
“Well come in here out of the rain.” Sam said laughing at the sight of Merry. “Go and sit before the fire and dry yourself off.”
Merry came in and shook the rain from his clothes. He stood before the fire and looked back at Sam as he was shutting the door.
“WhereÂ’s Lily?” Merry replied. “I have something for her.”
“SheÂ’s in her room.” Sam replied. “IÂ’ll go and fetch her.” Sam then went to LilyÂ’s room and poked his head in the door. “Lily, Merry is here to see you, he has something for you.” Sam said softly.
“Does he now?” Lily replied cheerfully. “What is it?”
“He didnÂ’t say.” Sam said as Lily came walking up to him. He took LilyÂ’s hand and held onto it helping her out into the den. Merry still stood before the fire drying himself as they walked in. Lily smiled seeing him soaking wet with rain.
“Hullo Lily.” Merry replied turning around. “IÂ’ve brought something for you.” Merry said as he reached within his jacket pulling out a folded piece of paper. He handed it to Lily.
“Sorry that itÂ’s a bit damp but I tried to get here as fast as I could.” Merry replied. “Go on. Open it!”
Lily sat down in a chair and opened up the paper. The writing was a little blurred but she could still read the words.
“ItÂ’s from my cousin Rowin!” Lily yelled. She continued on reading the words aloud.
It is so nice to hear that you are well and staying with friends in the Shire. I have been worried about you for quite some time and was delighted to hear from your friends Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. I hope youÂ’re keeping well and that you will stay in touch while you are away.
Lily stood up and came to Merry embracing him tightly.
“Thank you so much!” Lily replied. “How did you ever manage to get this?”
“Well.” Merry began. “Pippin and I seemed a bit bored with things back home so we went to the Prancing Pony a few days back. I remembered when we were there last a man said your cousin Rowin went looking for you when you left so I asked for him. It seems that heÂ’s running the place now. I told him that you were here and that you were well. Later on that night he handed me that note and asked me if I would bring it to you and I took off early yesterday morning to bring it here.”
“So where is Pippin?” Sam asked realizing he wasnÂ’t there.
“Back at the Pony.” Merry said with a laugh. “He didnÂ’t want to leave his ale.”
“Just like him!” Sam replied with a smile. He then sat down in his chair and took his pipe from the table nearby. Merry then took his shirt in his hands and began wringing out the water.
“I would offer you a change of clothes Merry, but I think they may be too short on you.” Sam replied laughing.
“Ah thatÂ’s alright.” Merry replied. “I have a change of clothes in my pack outside on my pony. I was just thinking about going out there to get them.” Merry then stood up and went out the front door and came back inside carrying his pack that was soaking wet with rain. He sat it down in a chair and opened it. He pulled out a fresh shirt and a pair of trousers and laid them on the back of the chair.
“Do you care if I take a bath Sam?” Merry asked pulling off his wet shirt. “I havenÂ’t had one in days and a warm bath would hit the spot.”
“You may.” Sam replied. “But be sure to keep all the water in the tub!” Sam chuckled.
Merry laughed and picked up his clothes heading back to the tub. He closed the door and soon a song filled the halls as they heard the splashing of water. Lily smiled and sat back in her chair. Sam lit his pipe and blew large smoke rings into the air filling one with another that was a bit smaller. Merry soon returned from his bath and he placed his wet clothes before the fire to dry. He sat in a chair and let out a sigh.
“I feel refreshed.” Merry replied stretching his arms above his head. He then yawned and leaned his head back in the chair.
“You can stay if you like.” Sam replied noticing Merry was tired. “ThereÂ’s no need for you to go back out there in the rain tonight. You can take the bed in the study.”
“Thank you Sam.” Merry replied standing up. “I think IÂ’ll go there now.” Merry then disappeared down the hall and into the study. Lily yawned and stood up from her chair.
“I agree with Merry.” Lily replied. “IÂ’ll see you in the morning Sam.” Lily said walking to her room.
“Goodnight.” Sam said as Lily went into her room. She then shut the door leaving Sam in the den where he later fell asleep in his chair.
The following morning Sam awoke and went to the study to see if Merry wanted to join him for a morning walk. Sam opened the door but Merry was no where to be found. Sam went to LilyÂ’s room and opened her door quietly. She was still lying in bed fast asleep. Sam then looked in the den. MerryÂ’s bag and clothes were still lying near the fire so he knew he hadnÂ’t left. Sam went to the front door and opened it walking outside. He took a few steps and then noticed someone in his garden crawling around on their knees. Sam reached for his rake and crept down the steps towards the garden.
“Get out of there!” Sam yelled holding his rake up in the air. The individual quickly turned around and Sam laughed upon seeing their face.
“Dear me.” Sam replied laughing. “Mr. Brandybuck I almost clobbered you with my rake. I thought you were a ruffian tearing up my flowers.”
Merry was holding up his hands covered in dirt. He had a look of sheer terror on his face. A smile then found its way to MerryÂ’s face and he began laughing.
“Sorry Sam.” Merry replied. “I was just trying to pick some flowers to bring to Lily but I just couldnÂ’t seem to choose. They all look so beautiful.”
“That they do.” Sam said setting his rake down. “She really loves roses Merry.” Sam replied. “SheÂ’s often out here taking in their sweet scent.”
Merry stood up and brushed the dirt from his trousers. He went to the rose bush near the side of Bag End and cut two beautiful red roses from the bush. Merry walked back to Sam and they both walked back inside. Lily was sitting in the den in FrodoÂ’s chair.
“What was going on out there Sam?” Lily replied. “Your yelling woke me up.”
“It was nothing.” Sam said smiling. “Just thought someone was out there digging up my flowers and here it was Merry crawling around in my garden.”
Merry then held out his hand that he had been hiding behind his back.
“These are for you.” Merry said handing the roses to Lily. “I wanted to leave you with something before I left on my way back home.”
Lily took the roses from MerryÂ’s hand and held them to her nose taking in their sweet aroma. She leaned over in her chair and gave Merry a kiss on his brow.
“Thank you Merry.” Lily replied. “They are beautiful.”
“As are you.” Merry said with a smile. He then went and picked up his things from in front of the fire and put them in his bag. He put his bag under his arm and came back to Lily taking her hand in his.
“I shall come back to visit you often Lily.” Merry replied leaving a kiss upon her hand. He let her hand go and then headed to the door. “Until we meet again.” Merry said as he opened the front door. He waved and then left closing the door behind him. Lily looked to Sam and smiled.
“He is very sweet.” Lily replied smelling her flowers once more.
“That he is.” Sam replied. “I think heÂ’s become rather fond of you.”
Lily blushed and sat the roses in her lap.
“Do you think so?” Lily replied.
“I do.” Sam said sitting in his chair. “He always seems more cheerful when youÂ’re around.”
Lily smiled. Her heart was once again feeling whole after all the losses within her life. She reached up to her chest and placed her hand over FrodoÂ’s gem. The Shire was now beginning to feel like home.
A few weeks later Sam found Lily sitting in her room writing. He passed by her door many times over the hours wondering what she was writing but he didnÂ’t dare bother her. On what seemed to be his hundredth pass by her room Lily put her writing down in her lap and yelled out at Sam.
“It does you no good pacing back and forth wondering what IÂ’m up to.” Lily replied. “All you have to do is come in and ask.” Sam then came in the room clasping his hands behind his back. Lily smiled at him and put her hand down on the bed.
“Come Sam, sit here with me for awhile.” Lily replied. Sam walked to the bed and sat down beside Lily placing his hands in his lap.
“IÂ’m sorry Lily.” Sam replied looking down to the floor. “It seems IÂ’m too curious for my own good sometimes.”
“No harm done.” Lily said patting SamÂ’s leg. “Here take a look.” Lily said handing one of her papers she was writing on to Sam. Sam looked over it and smiled.
“Why youÂ’re writing your own tale about your stay here.” Sam replied putting the paper down in his lap.
“That I am.” Lily replied. “FrodoÂ’s book just didnÂ’t seem complete without this story in it so I chose to write it on my own. ItÂ’s not finished though.” Lily said taking the paper from SamÂ’s lap. “IÂ’ve only written a few pages so far but it seems as if this story will never come to an end.”
Sam looked up at Lily and softly repliedÂ…”The best of them never do.”
Several months passed and the golden hues of autumn shone throughout the Shire. Lily still sat within her room many nights adding to her story. Merry returned often as he had promised bringing word back from LilyÂ’s family in Bree. Lily in turn would write long letters that Merry would return to her cousin Rowin back at the Prancing Pony. Lily and Merry would often walk along the path through town stopping to carry on conversation with anyone who would listen. Lily made many friends while she stayed in Hobbiton and she became well loved among the children who took joy in following her on her walks. Yet Sam seemed to notice as MerryÂ’s visits came less seldom LilyÂ’s walks seemed to grow shorter. She leaned on her staff more often than usual and she would often stop and stand looking into the distance for hours at a time. When Lily returned she would lay in her bed holding FrodoÂ’s gem in her hand drifting into sleep. She would often seem herself in the morning when she awoke but as the evening drew near she would become her unusual self once again. Many nights passed like this before Sam finally came to Lily one evening while she sat within her room.
“Lily.” Sam replied quietly as he walked into the room. “Are you feeling well?”
Lily said nothing for quite some time and then she turned to Sam.
“I am ill.” Lily said softly. “I donÂ’t know why, but I feel more weak than I have in all the time IÂ’ve been here.”
“You may have been walking too much.” Sam replied sitting in a chair by LilyÂ’s bed. “You have been out and about quite often while youÂ’ve been here.”
“That may be Sam.” Lily said with a sigh. “But I feel strange.”
“Just rest.” Sam replied placing his hand on LilyÂ’s arm. “You may feel better if you stay inside and rest awhile.”
“IÂ’ll do that.” Lily replied. “Until I feel better IÂ’ll stay inside.”
“Then itÂ’s settled.” Sam replied standing back up. “IÂ’ll come for you in the morning to see how you are fairing.”
“Thank you Sam.” Lily said softly. “Goodnight and sleep well.”
That month passed quickly and it brought little change for Lily. Every day was the same. She would wake in the morning feeling well but by the evening she would be weak and hardly able to walk even with the aid of her staff. Sam hardly knew what to do. He hoped she would become well as days passed but his hopes always seemed to fade away with the setting of the sun. Merry came by with Pippin the following month and Lily did seem to become her old self again while they were around. A few weeks later however Merry came by with some unexpected news.
“IÂ’m leaving for Rohan in the morning.” Merry replied as he came into LilyÂ’s room. “IÂ’m going to see King Eomer but I shall return in the spring.” Lily said nothing. She just lay on her bed clutching at FrodoÂ’s gem. Merry let out a deep sigh and turned around leaving the room closing the door behind him.
“She wonÂ’t say a word to me.” Merry replied coming into the den and sitting down next to Sam. “I told her that I would be back in the spring and she just laid there on the bed holding FrodoÂ’s necklace in her hand.”
Sam looked at LilyÂ’s closed door and sighed.
“Wait here.” Sam replied. “I shall try to get a word out of her.” Sam then stood up and made his way to LilyÂ’s room. He opened the door slowly and peered inside. Lily was still lying on the bed holding FrodoÂ’s gem in her hand staring blankly at the ceiling. Sam came into the room and closed the door behind him. He went to LilyÂ’s side placing his hand on her shoulder.
“Speak to me Lily and tell me what is troubling you.” Sam said softly. He looked at Lily and a tear fell from her eye. She let go of FrodoÂ’s gem and let out a sigh.
“So many hardships.” Lily whispered. “So many that never seem to end.” Lily then rolled over never speaking another word. Sam took in a deep breath and sighed. He turned around and left Lily in her room to her thoughts. He came back into the study and sat in his chair.
“Anything?” Merry asked as Sam sat down.
“She spoke of hardships that never seem to end.” Sam replied. “Nothing more.”
“What do you suppose that means?” Merry replied. “She has seemed so happy while she has been here.”
“I do not know.” Sam said looking to the fire. “She seems to be thinking a lot about the past. IÂ’ve often seen her clutching at FrodoÂ’s gem and those are the very thoughts that drew FrodoÂ’s hand to his chest. I can only imagine the gem brings the same peace to Lily as it did to Frodo on those many nights.”
“But will she ever be herself again?” Merry asked quietly.
“I can not say.” Sam replied. “Only time can give us that answer.”
The following week Lily came into the study while Sam sat at the desk writing. She quietly went to the bed and sat down. Sam turned around in his chair and smiled.
“It is nice to see you out of your room.” Sam replied.
“I was growing tired of looking at the walls.” Lily replied softly. She then turned and looked out the open window facing the garden. “FrodoÂ’s birthday is in two days is it not?” Lily said softly.
“That it is.” Sam replied. “What made you think of it?”
“I remember it as the day I awoke seeing FrodoÂ’s face for the first time.” Lily replied turning back around. “And I would give so much to see that face once again.”
“As would I.” Sam said softly. He then sat quiet for a moment and then looked up at Lily smiling.
“Do you feel well enough to ride?” Sam asked standing up from his chair.
“Ride?” Lily replied. “But to where?”
“To the Havens.” Sam replied. “Where Frodo set off over the sea.”
A tear fell from LilyÂ’s eye as she smiled at Sam.
“Would you really take me there?” Lily asked.
“That I would.” Sam replied putting his hand on LilyÂ’s as they lay folded in her lap. “Though you can not see his face you will stand at the very last place his feet fell upon the Shire.”
Lily took Sam in her arms embracing him tightly.
“There are no words to tell you how I feel.” Lily whispered to Sam through her tears.
“No words are necessary.” Sam replied. “We shall set out this afternoon and arrive there on the twenty-second. ItÂ’s the least I can do.”
“Thank you.” Lily replied standing to her feet. “IÂ’ll go and get my pack ready.”
“IÂ’ll go and fetch a horse for you to ride.” Sam replied. “Once I return IÂ’ll come for you.”
“I shall see you then!” Lily replied walking slowly out of the study. Her heart once again seemed happy unlike it had felt in the past weeks. She walked down the hall humming to herself and gathered some things for the journey ahead.
Sam returned a few hours later and came inside to find Lily sitting in the den near the fire. Her eyes were closed and she was singing softly to herself. Sam came to her side and placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Are you ready to set out?” Sam replied quietly. Lily opened her eyes and smiled.
“That I am Samwise.” Lily replied. “But first I have a favor to ask of you. I need a bottle with a cork.”
“A bottle?” Sam said in wonder of her odd request. “Whatever for?”
“YouÂ’ll see.” Lily replied standing to her feet. Sam went to the pantry and came back holding a clear glass bottle.
“This is all I could find.” Sam said with a gentle laugh. But it still lingers with the smell of wine.” Sam replied as he handed the bottle to Lily. She placed it in her knapsack and then draped it over her shoulder.
“Come now Sam.” Lily replied. “It is time for us to go.”
Lily and Sam rode on into the western sky through the afternoon and into the night. They soon came to rest along the path where Sam started a fire to cook their evening supper. Lily sat on the ground near Sam looking out into the distant star filled sky. She sighed and reached for her staff at her side. She stood up and walked out into the field near a large tree. She stood there silent for some time before Sam came to her side handing her a warm cup of tea.
“What is troubling you?” Sam replied sitting on the ground near LilyÂ’s feet.
Lily let out a sigh and then took a sip of her tea.
“Just thinking about the past.” Lily said softly. “I have lost so much within these last few years and I think itÂ’s finally all catching up with me.”
“You shouldnÂ’t trouble yourself with the past.” Sam replied looking up at Lily. “You have so many tomorrowÂ’s ahead of you.”
Lily took another sip from her cup and let out a sigh.
“YouÂ’re right.” Lily replied sitting down on the ground. “Why should I let the past worry me when I now have you.”
Sam looked at Lily and smiled.
“That you do dear Lily.” Sam replied with a wink. “And you always will.”
The following morning Sam and Lily set out once again traveling into the western sky. They rode on throughout the morning and into the late hours of the afternoon before they came to a rest. Sam made a fire and handed Lily some cakes he had baked. She ate at them slowly taking in the cool air around her. They rested for many hours before finally setting off once more. Sam helped Lily up onto her horse and they made way for the Havens. In the late hours of the evening Sam looked over to Lily as she rode along side of him. She kept closing her eyes longing for a bit of sleep and then she finally leaned forward and rested her head upon her horseÂ’s neck. Sam smiled and rode close to Lily taking her reins from her hands. He held onto them leading her horse along the path all through the evening and into the dawning of the next morn. As the sun rose over the horizon the edge of the sea came into view as a cool wind swept through SamÂ’s hair. The sounds of the sea brushing up along the shore echoed into SamÂ’s ears as he drew close to the gates.
“WeÂ’re here.” Sam said softly coming to a stop in the path. Lily lifted her head and opened her eyes slowly. A vast blue sea lay before her eyes as the sun rose shining its golden hues upon its shimmering waters. A veil of mist seemed to cover the land around the shore reflecting the sun within its dew. Birds sang sweetly as they soared high above the sea taking in the warmth of the rising sun. Lily looked to Sam as a tear found its way down her sun-kissed cheek.
“ItÂ’s beautiful.” Lily whispered.
“That it is.” Sam replied taking in a deep breath. “Come, let us ride down to the shore.” Sam said handing Lily the reins to her horse. They then rode down the hill and through the gates down to the lonely shore. Sam came to a stop and came down off of his beloved Bill and walked out onto the sand. Lily too came down from her horse leaning heavily on her staff as she followed behind Sam. Sam soon came to the edge of the water standing there in silence looking out into the vast endless sea. The waves rushed in around his feet and he sighed deeply as Lily came and stood at his side.
“This is the very spot.” Sam said with a whisper. “Right here is where I left him and here is where I stood until I could see him no more.”
Lily looked down to Sam and placed her hand on his shoulder. Sam reached his hand up to hers and smiled. Lily then took her knapsack from her shoulder and placed it down in the sand. She bent down and opened it taking out the bottle that Sam had given her. Lily held it in her hand and reached back inside her bag taking out a rolled up piece of paper. She placed it inside the bottle and then sealed it shut with a cork. Sam watched as Lily walked along the edge of the shore stopping near a large rock. Lily looked out across the crystal blue waters and then closed her eyes. A cool wind blew around her kissing her lips with dew. Lily smiled. She could see FrodoÂ’s face as if she was with him far away in a distant dream. Lily opened her eyes drawing the bottle up to her lips. She left a kiss upon its neck and lifted her arm up casting the bottle out into the sea. She stood there watching as the waves circled around the bottle drawing it further out into the clear waters. A deep sigh passed LilyÂ’s lips and she turned back to Sam who was still standing near the edge of the shore. She came to his side and turned back towards the sea looking out as the sun rose higher in the sky.
“I never suppose it will be found.” Lily replied softly. “But if it does I hope it comes to the hands it was meant for.”
“And who might that be?” Sam asked looking up at Lily.
Lily smiled and looked down at Sam with a wink.
“As if you didnÂ’t know.” Lily replied.
A few hours later Lily and Sam still stood at the waterÂ’s edge looking out to the distant horizon. Sam then began singing softly as his words were carried on the windÂ…
In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring
The trees may bud, the waters run
The merry finches sing
Or there maybe Â‘tis cloudless night
And swaying beeches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair
Though here at journeyÂ’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep
Beyond all towers strong and high
Beyond all mountains steep
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell
I will not say the Day is done
Nor bid the stars farewell
Sam stood there silently after finishing his song almost as if he was waiting to hear an answer carried back to him on the cool sea air. He then sighed deeply and looked up at Lily.
“Come now, we should make back for home.” Sam replied. “The day can not come soon enough when I can have another taste of my RosieÂ’s cooking.” Lily smiled and made her way to her horse. Sam went to Bill and lifted himself upon his back and soon they rode off into the eastern sky.
Upon their return home Rose greeted Sam and Lily at the front door with a bright smile. She took them inside and sat them before the table bringing out a dinner to surpass all the ones they had eaten along their journey. As the days passed Lily began working on her writing once more. When the days would allow she would sit outside near the garden with her pen and paper in hand. She was rarely ever bothered but Sam would often come to her and sit near her side smoking his pipe while she wrote. Two months soon passed and Sam took notice that Lily began to long for word from her cousin Rowin. She would often speak of him and look down the path as if she was waiting for another letter to arrive with Merry. But she knew Merry was far away and that he wouldnÂ’t return until the Spring. It was on November tenth when Sam came to Lily while she sat in her room writing offering to ride with her to Bree to see her cousin. Lily still grew weak from time to time and Sam just couldnÂ’t see letting her ride there alone. Lily was delighted and they set out for Bree the following morning. Two days later they arrived in Bree where they met Rowin inside the Prancing Pony.
“It is so nice to see you again cousin!” Rowin said taking Lily in his arms as she came inside the door. Sam stood silently behind Lily smiling at the happy reunion.
“What has it been?” Rowin replied. “Almost a year has it not?”
“That is has.” Lily said with a smile. She then turned around to look for Sam seemed to have slipped away from her sight. She then noticed him standing quietly near the door. She held her arm out to him and motioned for him to come near.
“IÂ’d like you to meet Mr. Samwise Gamgee.” Lily said as Sam walked to her side.
“So you are the one IÂ’ve heard so much talk about from LilyÂ’s letters.” Rowin replied looking down to Sam. “It is nice to see she is fairing well in your care.”
“That I have.” Lily replied putting her hand on SamÂ’s shoulder. “But my legs have seem to grow much weaker than they were before. If it wasnÂ’t for Sam I would not have this lovely staff to aid me while I walk.” Lily replied showing it Rowin.
“A fine piece of work if I say so myself.” Rowin replied looking over the staff. “The one I made for Lily was never as fine as this.”
“I thank you for your complements.” Sam said with a smile. “But my hands fair much better tending to my gardens.”
“I can imagine so from the beauty Lily spoke of them in her letter this past summer.” Rowin said putting his hand on SamÂ’s shoulder. “Come now, enough of this talk by the door!” Rowin said leading Lily and Sam into the common room. “Come in and sit with me and tell me more of the Shire.”
Many hours passed while Sam and Lily sat in the corner near the fireplace talking with Rowin. Nob soon came around finding great interest in their conversation. Rowin showed him back to his duties and continued on with talk of Hobbiton.
“What about Mr. Brandybuck?” Rowin replied. “I have not seen him around for some time, what has become of that merry young hobbit?”
“He went away to Rohan.” Sam said quietly. “HeÂ’ll return in the Spring.”
“I wondered why I had not received more letters from you.” Rowin replied. “But now I know. It seemed as if you had disappeared all together.” Rowin said with a laugh. Rowin then called for Nob and asked him to bring around another beer for himself and Sam. Nob soon returned with pints in hand setting them on the table.
“Another pint for you Samwise.” Rowin replied placing the beer before Sam. “IÂ’ve heard word of your love for my fatherÂ’s ale.”
“Aye.” Sam replied. “None finer in all the parts IÂ’ve traveled.” Sam took a drink and sat the mug down on the table.
“Will you be staying for some time?” Rowin asked as he took a drink from his beer.
“Only another day.” Sam replied. “I promised my Rose I would be back by the end of the week, but Lily can stay longer if she likes.” Sam said taking another drink.
“I would love to!” Lily replied. “A stay of a few weeks would be just fine.”
“That it would.” Rowin said smiling. “Seeing your smiling face in the Pony would make it feel like old times again.”
“Then it is settled.” Sam replied. “IÂ’ll come this way again for you in a few weeks for I donÂ’t want to see you travel all the way to Hobbiton alone.”
“Thank you Sam.” Lily replied. “YouÂ’re such a dear friend to me.”
“As you are to me.” Sam said smiling bright.
They then spent many more hours together within the common room before sleep finally drew them to their rooms where they slept late into the next day.
The following afternoon Lily bid Sam farewell as he left on his way back home. She gave him a kiss upon his cheek and wished him a safe journey home. Lily stood in the street as Sam rode away through the gates of town. Sam stopped near the top of the hill on the western edge of Bree and looked back with a smile. Lily was still standing there and if Sam could have seen her face a tear was falling from her eye. Sam waved and Lily smiled. Sam was at the very spot where Lily had last seen Frodo when he waved his last goodbye. Sam sighed deeply and then turned away making his way down the lonely path home.
On the night Sam returned home a soft rain had begun to fall. Sam put Bill in his stable and returned to Bag End feeling empty without Lily at his side. Sam walked up the front path and opened the door slowly coming inside. Rose was sitting in the den reading. Little Elanor came running up to Sam and he took her up in his arms.
“Where is Lily?” Rose replied noticing she was not with Sam.
“She is staying with her cousin for a few weeks back in Bree.” Sam said coming into the den sitting down in his chair with Elanor. “IÂ’m going to go back for her then.”
Rose smiled and then looked to Sam. He seemed lost in thought.
“It was hard leaving her behind was it not?” Rose replied.
“It was.” Sam said with a deep sigh.
“The days will pass quickly.” Rose replied. “Then you shall leave and return with her by your side once more.”
The days did indeed pass but they drew by slowly. Many of them were filled with rain and Sam often stood near the window looking out into the distant sky. Thoughts of Lily came to him often and he wondered how she was fairing far from his care. Sam would soon tire of his thoughts and he would go away to the study for hours at a time writing within the pages of BilboÂ’s book. One evening Sam sat within the study listening to the rain fall outside as he read over his writings. In three days it would be time for him to set off for Bree to see Lily once again. The rain came down softly gently falling upon the window. The night was growing long and Sam was about to leave the study when he thought he heard someone calling out his name. He stood there silent for a moment listening. It was coming from outside. Sam rushed out into the den and to the front door. He opened it quickly and looked outside. Sam came down the front walk looking onto the road through town. A small cloaked figure was riding quickly down the path, holding a lantern high in their hand.
“Master Samwise!” The figure called out into the night. “Where may you be?”
“Here! Here!” Sam yelled to the figure waving his hands. The figure rode up to Sam and jumped off their pony falling down to the ground below. Sam came and helped the figure to his feet.
“I am so glad I found you!” They replied standing up.
“Nob?” Sam replied hearing the familiar voice.
“That it is.” Nob replied taking his hood down from his head. “YouÂ’ve got to come with me quick!” Nob shouted taking SamÂ’s hand. “ItÂ’s your Lily sir!”
“Lily?” Sam replied pulling his hand away. “What happened dear Nob?”
“No time to explain!” Nob said getting back on his pony. “Quickly now, go tell who you must, but make haste we must ride on!”
Sam quickly ran inside and woke Rose telling her he must leave. All he could say it that it had to do with Lily and he would return when he could. He took his cloak from its hook by the door and fastened it around his neck and quickly ran back outside. He went to the stables for Bill and rode back to Nob who was still waiting for him in the road. They both then rode off together at an unyielding pace straight through the evening and through the next day.
Nob and Sam arrived in Bree in the early hours of the night the day after they had set out. They were greeted at the gate by a man named Thomas who led them to the stables. There they found Rowin waiting at the stable door.
“You made good time.” Rowin replied helping Nob down from his pony. “I feared that you would not make it back in time.”
“Why, what has happened to my Lily?” Sam replied jumping down from Bill.
“Much I am afraid.” Rowin replied leading Sam out of the stables. “Come with me and I shall tell you all I know.”
Sam followed Rowin as he lead him towards a house that sat behind the Prancing Pony. He then began explaining what had happened.
“She has not been quite herself since you left her here in Bree.” Rowin began. “IÂ’ve often found her sitting alone clutching at that gem she wears around her neck. I asked her time and again if she wanted me to ride with her back to the Shire but she said she would wait for your return. One night I came to her room and she was gone. I searched for her all evening and finally came upon her in the hours of the early morn. She was lying out in a field on the far western side of town unconscious.” Rowin replied coming to a stop at the front door of the house.
“She hasnÂ’t opened her eyes since I brought her back here.” I sent Nob for you that very day hoping she would wake knowing you had at last come for her.” Rowin said opening the front door. “Come now, I shall take you to her.”
Rowin led Sam into the house where many people sat within the front parlor watching him as he came inside. Sam looked to each face in the room. Every face seemed full of despair. Rowin led Sam down a hall where he stopped in front of a closed door. He reached to the knob and turned it slowly. Sam peered inside and seen Lily lying within the room on a bed. Many candles were lit shining upon her face with an amber hue. Sam walked slowly to her side. He looked up at Rowin and let out a sigh. LilyÂ’s hands were folded upon her chest and her eyes were closed shutting out the world around her. Sam reached up and placed his hand upon LilyÂ’s. She seemed cold but a soft shallow breath still passed her lips. Lily, feeling a small hand upon hers opened her eyes and smiled.
“Sam.” She whispered.
“IÂ’m here.” Sam replied through his tears. “IÂ’ve come.”
Lily turned her head to Sam and a faint smiled shown upon her lips.
“I never thought I would see you again.” Lily replied softly. “So many dreams have filled my mind while you have been away.”
“Shhhh.” Sam replied placing a finger to her lips. “I am here now and that is all that matters.”
“That you are.” Lily said quietly looking away. She took in a deep breath and let out a sigh. She looked back to Sam and another smile shone upon her face.
“I seen him often in my dreams.” Lily whispered. “I heard his voice singing to me.”
“Frodo?” Sam replied softly.
“Yes.” Lily answered. “His song spoke of passing by secret gates and then at last taking one that ran west of the moon and east of the sun.”
“I remember it well.” Sam replied. “Those words fell upon my ears as we made our way to the Havens. It was the last song I ever heard pass through his lips.”
Lily then reached behind her neck and pulled FrodoÂ’s necklace up over her head. She took SamÂ’s hand and placed the necklace in it closing his fingers over top of the shimmering gem.
“This will bring you comfort Sam.” Lily replied softly. “I shall not be needing it any more.”
Lily took in a deep breath and reached up to her head which ached with pain. She felt weak and very ill. Her eyes seemed to want to close upon themselves and she fought to keep them open.
“IÂ’ll never see it again will I?” Lily replied quietly.
“See what?” Sam replied.
“Home.” Lily said softly. She then took in a deep breath and looked to Sam. Her eyes seemed pale and dull. A soft smile came to her face and she reached up gently touching SamÂ’s face. Sam placed his hand over hers as her eyes closed and a faint breath passed over her lips. Tears streamed down SamÂ’s face as took LilyÂ’s hand down from his face and laid it across her chest. She was gone.
Many hours passed while Sam sat within LilyÂ’s room lost in a veil of tears. Rowin came to Sam placing his hand on his shoulder. Sam looked up at Rowin and dried the tears from his eyes.
“Come dear Sam.” Rowin replied. “No tears can bring Lily back now. Let us leave her now and we shall lay her to rest in the morning.” Rowin said leading Sam out of the room. Sam looked back at Lily as she lay upon her bed. The glowing light from the candles filled the room shining upon her beautiful face. A deep sigh passed over SamÂ’s lips. He then turned around and walked out into the hall as Rowin closed the door behind them.
The following morning Sam awoke lying on the floor beside his bed in the Prancing Pony. He sat up rubbing his eyes as the sunlight spilled into his room warming his face. Sam stood up and made his way to the window. A sweet song of a finch came from the tree near the window as Sam looked outside into the clear blue sky. A faint knock then came to his door. Sam turned around and the door slowly opened. A familiar face peered inside.
“Dear Pippin!” Sam yelled running to the door and taking him in his arms. “It is so nice to see you.” Sam replied through his tears.
“And I you!” Pippin replied holding Sam tightly. “This loss should not be yours alone.” Pippin said looking at Sam.
“But how did you know?” Sam replied pulling away.
“Rowin sent word to me a few days ago that she was ill. Nob met me at the gate when I arrived early this morning telling me that she had passed so I asked to see you and here I am.” Pippin replied.
“But alas poor Merry.” Sam said with a sigh. “He will come back in the Spring only to find Lily no longer here.”
“IÂ’m sending word to him tonight.” Pippin replied. “I wish I could take the news to him myself but I would rather be here with you.”
“His heart will be broken.” Sam replied looking to the window once again. Soon another knock came upon the door. The door slowly opened and Rowin came inside.
“We are ready.” He replied softly. Sam took in a deep breath and placed his hand upon PippinÂ’s shoulder. They then followed Rowin down the hall and out the front door of the Prancing Pony. Standing outside were many folk lining the street with their heads bowed low. Sam came around the side of the inn and there in the street sat a wagon holding his dear sweet Lily. She was dressed in a pale blue gown that shimmered in the light of the sun. Her light auburn hair was full of many small braids and pulled over her shoulders. Her hands lay folded upon her breast and a look of peace shone upon her sweet face. A tear fell from SamÂ’s eye as he took notice that his beloved Bill was tied to the wagon ready to pull it away.
“I hope that you do not mind.” Rowin replied softly looking down to Sam. “He followed me out of the stables when I came for the wagon and I thought no other pony than your own should take Lily to her final resting place.”
Sam said nothing. A smile came to his face and he dried away his tears as Pippin came and stood at his side. Rowin led Sam and Pippin in front of the wagon and took BillÂ’s reins in his hand.
“Would you do us the honor?” Rowin replied handing the reins to Sam. Sam nodded and took the reins in his hand as a deep sigh passed his lips. Rowin then began his way down the path leading Sam and Pippin down the street as many saddened faces bid Lily farewell. They traveled down the road all the way through Bree until they came to a large elm tree on the eastern edge of town. There were many men and women gathered at the tree and Nob came walking up to Rowin with tears in his eyes.
“Is everything ready?” Rowin replied softly.
“It is.” Nob said quietly. Four men then came from the crowd to the wagon where they took Lily in their arms carrying her away towards the tree. Sam followed closely behind them. There at the foot of the great elm tree lay LilyÂ’s final resting place. She was gently placed inside as a soft melody was sung. As the grave was covered Sam turned away burying his face into PippinÂ’s shirt as tears filled his eyes. Pippin held Sam tightly as his eyes too filled with tears of sorrow. Rowin came to Sam and Pippin and knelt down taking them both in his arms.
“It is over now.” Rowin replied. “She has been laid to rest where she will at last find peace from all her hardships.” Sam turned away and looked to the grave freshly covered with a mound of dirt. He then walked to the great elm and stood there silently looking down to the ground. He then reached into his coat pocket and pulled out FrodoÂ’s necklace. He held it in his hand as the sunlight touched the gem casting its iridescent hues upon SamÂ’s face. Sam then placed the necklace over his head with a heavy heart.
“You will be here.” Sam whispered softly placing his hand over his heart. “Here with the memory of my dear master Frodo.” Sam then turned back to Pippin and Rowin. He drew in a deep breath and walked back to them and stood by Bill rubbing his hand along his velvet nose.
“Come now Sam and Pippin.” Rowin replied. “Let us have a bit of rest and share her memory by the warm fire.” They then turned away and made for the inn where they spent the hours of the day away next to the fire.
Later that afternoon Pippin left heading back to Buckland and Sam too grew weary of his stay. He quietly made his way out of the Prancing Pony to the stables to fetch Bill. He took him from the stables but could not find the will to ride upon his back on the journey home. He took BillÂ’s reins in his hand and began leading him down the road through town when he heard someone call his name. He turned around and seen Rowin coming out of the inn with LilyÂ’s walking stick in his hand.
“DonÂ’t think you can sneak away so easily.” Rowin said with a slight smile. “Here.” Rowin replied handing Sam LilyÂ’s walking stick. “You made this for her and I canÂ’t see letting you leave without it.”
“Thank you Rowin.” Sam replied taking the staff in his hand. “But what of you? Do you not care to keep it in her remembrance?”
“Nay dear Sam.” Rowin said placing his hand over his heart. “She lives still within me here.”
Sam smiled. He then turned back to the path and began his journey home without his dear Lily.
It was three days later when Sam finally came back to Hobbiton. Along the way he found himself stopping often to look back down the road which he traveled longing to see Lily following closely behind him. When he came up upon the walk in front of Bag End he could see a light burning in the window. He sighed deeply as he made his way up the path and to the front door. He reached for the knob and turned it slowly opening the door. He came inside and hung his coat on the hook near the door and dropped his pack down on the floor. He then walked into the den and propped LilyÂ’s staff against FrodoÂ’s chair. He then sat in his chair next to the fire. Sam heard a door creak open and Rose soon came into the den rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“YouÂ’re home.” Rose said with a smile. “Is she in her room Sam?”
Not a word passed SamÂ’s lips. He sat looking into the flames of the fire lost within his thoughts.
“Sam?” Rose replied. “Are you alright?”
Sam turned around and Rose seen a tear fall from his eye.
“What has happened Sam?” Rose said rushing to his side. Sam took Rose in his arms and rested his head upon her shoulder.
“She is gone.” Sam replied through his tears. “Gone forever.”
“What do you mean?” Rose replied taking SamÂ’s head in her hands and drying his tears.
“She has passed dear Rose.” Sam said softly. A tear then fell from RoseÂ’s eye catching the light from the glowing fire. She drew Sam close and held him tightly kissing his brow.
There they sat for many hours within each otherÂ’s warm embrace until the night drew them to their bed.
In the morning Sam awoke and found his hand clutching tightly to FrodoÂ’s gem. He sat up rubbing his eyes and then he looked out the window to the morning sky. It was a pale shade of blue with not a cloud in sight. A soft breeze seemed to fill the air as it blew through the leaves lying upon the ground. Sam stood up from bed and walked out into the den. LilyÂ’s staff still rested against FrodoÂ’s chair and a small fire still burned within the fireplace. Sam then looked to LilyÂ’s room. The door was closed not having been opened since she left. Slowly Sam made his way to her room gently opening the door. He looked inside feeling a vast emptiness come over him. Sam came into the room and sat on her bed. FrodoÂ’s book that he had written for her was lying on the bed tied together with its leather cord. Sam then noticed some papers lying on the chair next to the bed. He reached down for them and took them in his hand. It was LilyÂ’s story. Sam read through the pages and when he came to the last page a tear fell from his eye as he read the final words written by LilyÂ’s handÂ…. Â‘no matter where my path takes me, my heart shall always be at home in the Shire.Â’
A month soon passed and with it came the cold of winter. A new year had almost come when Sam heard a knock come upon the front door in the early hours of the morning. Sam awoke from his sleep and came to the door yawning. When he opened the door a weary face peered out from under a grey cloak.
“Merry!” Sam yelled taking him in his arms. He drew him inside and took his cloak draping it over his arm as he led Merry to the fire to warm himself.
“It seems I had left too soon dear Sam.” Merry replied as he stood before the fire. “I rode back at once when I received the news.”
“I only wish the news that came to you was not with ill tidings.” Sam replied coming to MerryÂ’s side.
“I wished that too.” Merry replied. “But I chose to come back to see if you would ride with me to Bree so I might pay my final respects.”
“That I will.” Sam replied placing his hand on MerryÂ’s shoulder. “You shouldnÂ’t need to journey there alone.”
With the rising of the sun the following morning Sam began to pack a bag for his journey with Merry to Bree. He went to Rose as she sat within the den and left a kiss upon her cheek. As Sam left the den he took a glance at LilyÂ’s staff resting against FrodoÂ’s chair. Merry came to SamÂ’s side placing his hand on his shoulder. Sam turned back and went to the door opening it to the crisp December air. He pulled his cloak tight around his chest and headed down the path to the stables. Sam took Bill by his reins and led him out of the stables. Sam lifted himself upon BillÂ’s back and him and Merry began their long journey to Bree.
As the day drew on they came to rest along the path in the early afternoon. There Sam shared stories with Merry of the last few months Lily spent within the Shire while he was away. He told Merry of their journey to the Havens and of the bottle that Lily cast out into the sea.
“Did she ever tell you what was written on the paper?” Merry asked.
“Nay.” Sam replied. “She never told me what was written upon it. But I know in my heart the words were meant for only FrodoÂ’s eyes to read.”
“Do you suppose it will ever be found?” Merry said looking into the distant sky.
“It may.” Sam replied. “With Lily to guide it along the way I suppose one day the bottle may be discovered by the very hands meant to find it.”
A few hours soon passed while they rested along the path and they began on their journey once more. Along the way Sam seemed lost in thought and often closed his eyes clutching at FrodoÂ’s gem that he still wore around his neck. As the setting of the sun drew near Merry looked to Sam and he seemed to be humming to himself. It was a song unfamiliar to Merry, one that he had not yet heard before.
“What is that you are humming?” Merry replied.
“Something I thought up while we have been on the road.” Sam said looking over to Merry. He then closed his eyes and began singing softly as his words were carried away on the cool breeze.
When the cold of winter comes
I will walk this lonely way
As the setting of the sun
Passes yet another day
In your footsteps I shall trod
From your journey to find me
As they lead me where you rest
Underneath the great elm tree
Years shall pass along the way
Though my journey will not end
When the cold of winter comes
I shall walk this way again
“That was beautiful.” Merry replied with a tear in his eye. “What shall you call it?”
“NamÃ¡riÃ«.” Sam said softly. “My farewell to Lily.”