Hal Sees a– Something…

‘Samwise, I’m telling you, this time I really did see something!’ Hal pleaded with his cousin to hear him.

‘Hal, you always say that.’ Sam replied as he yanked up another weed from the Bag End garden. ‘How am I supposed to trust you ever if you insist on fibbing all the time?’ He punctuated his sentence by thrusting his hand trowel into the dirt.

‘But Sam, this time, I swear I ain’t fibbing! Come on, just hear me out.’

Sam sighed in defeat and faced his cousin, giving him his undivided attention.

‘All right, let’s have it.’

Hal grinned and began his tale.

‘It all started last week, I was going hunting up on the north moors, like I always does, you know? And I packed a nice little lunch, too, a bit of chicken, some pickles, a loaf of bread, some nice jam, oh, and a couple of apples, and then some strawberries, and a flask of nice ale, from the Green Dragon, of course, and–‘

‘Hal!’ Sam shouted. ‘I didn’t want to hear your luncheon menu! Just get on with it.’ Hal glanced pitifully at his cousin before continuing his tale.

‘All right, then, I had just finished a lovely picnic, so then I took up my bow and began the hunt. Now, several hours later, I guess, (as I was starting to get hungry again), I was starting to get discouraged, as I hadn’t seen any good game yet, when I spotted the biggest stag you’d ever seen! It must have been twice my height, not including the antlers, they looked like tree branches, and were big as ’em too! Anyways, I held my breath as I aimed my shaft, and… I let it go! But miserable luck! I missed! The arrow stuck fast in a tree, and the noise it made scared the stag so that it ran off. I slung my bow over my shoulder and started to give chase. And just as I ran past the tree that I’d hit, lo and behold! it uprooted itself! As plain as anything, it flew up in the sky and came back down seven feet away! Believe me, I was scareder than I’d ever been in my life, and I knew this was no hallucination! Now, the whatever-it-was started walking off the same way the deer had gone, seven feet to a stride if it was an inch! Naturally, I followed it, as the deer was that way too, and when I had gotten out of the thick trees, I saw the whole creature at once. It was as tall as– no taller!– then an elm tree, and its skin was brown like bark, and wrinkly like it too. But the thing that really struck me was the eyes. Slow and solemn, they was, but– oh, I don’t know, something like water, and something like the sky, but mostly the eyes of a watcher, of someone who stood by and saw and noted everything, yet fair and sparkling, like a young lass at play. But anyways, it kind of squatted over a little patch of garden that was so beautiful, I thought it must have been tended by you, Sam!’ The gardener blushed red to the tips of his ears.

‘Oh, just keep going, would you?’

‘All right, all right, moving on. So it looked to me as the tree-thing was tending the garden, pulling out weeds, bringing it bowls of water and watering it. Then one time, it straightened up and turned my way, and I could’ve swore it smiled at me! Leastwise, the place where its mouth its mouth should’ve been crinkled up kind of like a smile.

‘I never got the stag, pity it was, but all the way home, I couldn’t think of anything but that tree-thing. I swear I’m not crazy, but that’s the way it really happened!’

‘And that’s exactly what he said.’ Sam finished his tale for his Green Dragon audience. There was some scattered clapping from the more gullible of the crowd, but Ted Sandyman clunked his mug back down on the table.
‘I don’t believe a word of it. Your Hal’s always saying he’s seen things; and maybe he sees things that ain’t there.’
‘Didn’t you hear anything? This thing was bigger than an elm tree, and walking, I tell you, seven yards to a stride if it was an inch!’
‘Then I bet it wasn’t an inch! What he saw WAS an elm tree, like as not.’
‘But there ain’t no elm tree up on the North Moors.’ Sam retorted.
‘Then Hal can’t have seen one!’ Ted said, getting some laughing and clapping as a response. The audience seemed to think that Ted had scored a point, and he leaned back in his chair, balancing it on only its two back legs and obviously thinking he had the upper hand, if not the win by now. But by the look on Sam’s face, he was nowhere near defeated. The talking started up full force again, retorts and objections flew from one side to the other and, at times, even the audience didn’t know for whom to cheer. And meanwhile, Gandalf the wizard was arriving at Bag End with news of the mysterious Ring in Mr. Baggins’ possession.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email