Chapter one; Just a little girl.
Disclaimer: Much as I’d like to, I don’t own Tolkien Characters. But I invented Cath Gamgee. She is Sam Gamgee’s little sister, and two years younger than Pippin. In my story Cath would be six, Pippin would be eight, Merry fourteen, Sam sixteen and Frodo twenty seven.
In which Cath is upset, Sam explains, Merry’s assumption goes horribly wrong, and the lads are embarrassed.

“But I want to go with you!”

Sam turned round and glared in exasperation at the small figure glaring resolutely back at him. His six year old sister stood strident in front of the coat hanger, her angelic face aglow with anger. Frodo suppressed a smirk as he remembered the fact that Cath’s chubby face and bright eyes caused most people to underestimate the little scamp. Just once.

Sam groaned, half in annoyance, half in sympathy. “I’m sorry Cath but you can’t come with us this time. Remember the mess we got into last time?”

This time Frodo could not stop himself from bursting out laughing at the memory of Margaret’s (Sam and Cath’s grandmother, from the fathers side) face when Cath came home, sopping wet and looking very ‘unladylike’, Margaret’s favourite phrase. Needless to say, Margaret was not very amused. But Frodo was denied the further pleasures of the memory by a sharp rap on the door. He skirted round the small hobbit lass, and opened the door. It was Merry and Pippin.

“Hullo Frodo,” said Merry, grinning. Then he looked down and the grin vanished. “Ah,” he muttered, glancing down at Cath. “I assume Cath wants to come with us.”

“Aye,” Frodo chuckled, “But according to Margaret that would be too..”

“Unladylike!” the two chorused.

Hearing her least favourite word, Cath spun round to look at the newcomers.

“Merry?” she asked, using her sweetest, and therefore most deadliest, voice, “Are you taking Pippin with you?”

“Yes, but..”

He didn’t have time to finish. Cath spun her head from one side to the other, glaring in turn at all four hobbit lads.

“Then why can’t I go! I’m only two years younger than Pippin, and I complain an awful lot less!”

Pippin glared at her, then shot back at her with, “Well, you’re only not coming because you’re a silly girl!”

I don’t think anyone understood at that moment how much that remark stung for Cath. Her hands were slowly clenching, her skinny frame was stiffening, and only Frodo, who had noticed the warning signs more than even Sam, put his hand on her shoulder, gently but firmly, just to show her that this was not the time to go tearing Pippins head off in an angry rage.

Footsteps coming from the larder made the elder four turn their heads, distracting them from Cath. Which was a shame, because they, especially Pippin, would have seen something of interest.

“Morning chaps!” Bilbo called cheerfully, arms laden with pies and sugared fruits, “I got these for you to eat on your walk…….Why Cathy? What on earth’s wrong?”

Four curly-haired heads spun round to Cath again, where, to their surprise, the little hobbit-lass was gulping back sobs.

” Th-they,” A chubby little finger suddenly whipped out and pointed at the lads, ” don’t want me come…… and if I d-don’t come then I’ll have to go to Grandmother’s tea party…and I hate the tea parties…..’Cause all the…the ladies say horrid thing about all my friends..and say how ungrateful I am……and how I’m stupid…w-with being a tomboy…..’c-cause they…they hate tomboys…..and they say that it’s m-my fault that I’m not a girl….and P-Pippin said that I couldn’t come because I was a girl!”

The last part she blurted out in a rush, half sobs, half words, then she buried her head in her handkerchief and started to cry again.

Bilbo nodded slowly. He knew what Margaret Gamgee’s tea-parties were apt to be like. But at the moment he was more concerned about what Pippin had said.

“I don’t think,” he said, slowly, ” that you should have said that, Pippin.”

Pippin was taken aback. Bilbo knew that, for all their squabbles, Pippin and Cath were good and firm friends. Many times he had seen Pippin fall over badly, and instead of going to Merry, running to Cath, who acted more than her age in sensibility and care. Making her cry, Bilbo knew, was not something to be taken lightly.

“But I didn’t mean to!” exclaimed Pippin, “I didn’t mean it Cathy, I wasn’t really being horrid, I was just a bit irritated, and I didn’t mean to make you cry ,honest; and what did you mean they say it’s your fault you’re a girl?” he ended with confusion.

Cath opened her screwed up eyes and looked around in horror. Merry and Pippin were looking at her expectantly. Sam sighed in exasperation.

“We’ll tell you later. Don’t groan like that Cath, you’ve let it out now, they’ll want to know, you’ll have to accept that. Now are you going to face Grandmothers tea party like a good girl?”

“I guess,” Cath said dolefully, ” Of course it wouldn’t be as much fun as with you lot, or Mama or Nana, but I’ll put up with it. Will you take me next time?”

“Alright” grinned Merry cheerfully, “When we aren’t going into the Old Forrest.” Seeing Sam’s irritated face he just shrugged “Well, she needs a break.”

Bilbo made to close the door but looked out towards three, Bagshot Row, where the Gamgees lived.

“Why, it’s Ponto Goodbody, the Healer!” he cried happily, “Going to see the Gamgees, eh?”

Ponto nodded happily, but more noticeable were the ‘shushing’ movements coming from Sam and Frodo while Merry tried (not successfully) to distract Cath.

“Erm, it might be a good idea if you did come with us Cath,” said Frodo, rather nervously, “We don’t want you getting in Ponto’s way, do we?”

“Yay!” squealed Cath. She was halfway through hugging Frodo when she jerked her head up and said, rather suspiciously, “But why is Ponto coming to our house? He’s a healer, and nobody sick at home?”

“Don’t worry about that,” Sam said hurriedly “Now come on, or we’ll never get there.”

“Good!” the hobbit lass nodded vigorously, “I did pack my own bag you know.”

“Well done!” Merry laughed, propelling the younger two children through the door. Bilbo turned to the older two and said “Haven’t you said anything? About your mother, Sam?”

“No sir,” He sighed “Ponto doesn’t know what the illness is, all we know is that she’s dying. Cath hasn’t noticed that Pontos been coming every week, we always get her outside. And we just say that Mum’s tired.”

“Ah. Well it would be kinder to tell her, otherwise it’ll be a terrible shock. Go and catch up, both of you.”

He watched them dash outside, and fixed his eye on young Cath, now swinging from Frodo and Merry’s arms.

“Lord bless that child.” he murmured quietly.


“There’s Mrs Heatherton! And Bill Brockhouse! And…oh, get down!”

“What for?” Merry asked Cath, who was staring round the corner of the street they were walking down.

“Cause Lobelia Sackville-Baggins is walking down the road,” Cath grimaced, but with a wink at Frodo as the five ducked behind a bush, while Lobelia walked up the road, “She’s probably going to Grandmother’s tea-party to discuss what an ungrateful little swine I am. Or maybe they’re going to plan how steal Bag End off you and Bilbo, Frodo. ”

“Maybe,” said Frodo, chuckling, “Look she’s gone now, so we’d better hurry if we want to get to Bywater Pool by lunch-time.”

Hurry they did, and sat down to eat their lunch. It was only when they had sat down next to the three-farthing stone, and Cath had remarked “Why is it called ‘Three Farthing Stone’ anyway? There are four farthings!” and Sam was explaining (not very well) why, that Pippin remembered.

“So what did you mean when you said that it was your fault that you’re a girl? ‘Cause Sam said he’d tell us later and now is later.”

Merry, the more observant of the two, noticed that Cath had suddenly buried her head in her bag, as though looking for something. But her eyes did not look, and a single tear seeped out, a tear that only Merry saw.

“Well,” said Sam, pausing as though he was not sure quite how to say it, ” Grandmother never really liked Mother to begin with. Said she liked Tooks and Brandybucks too much, ” (Bella Gamgee’s best friend was Esmerelda Brandybuck, Merry’s mother), “But she said that, fine, you can marry my son, but only if you go by my traditions. One of which was that both the eldest and youngest child had to be boys.

So Mum and Dad had me, and when Mum got pregnant again Grandmother
said, fine, but only if it’s a boy. Well, Mother had Cath, and my brothers and sisters were real glad, and Mr Bilbo, and Mr Frodo, and all the Cottons and all our friends were as happy as could be. And Nana, Me, Mum and Dad were real happy too.” He put his arm round Cath, who was still staring into her bag, “But us four knew that Grandmother was not going to be happy.

It was really scary what happened next. Me and Nick Cotton hid under the table, so he knew everything.”

“What did your grandmother do?”
“She went mad. She yelled at Mum, saying that it was her fault, that she said that she’d have the youngest as a boy, that Mum had broken her promise. Mum was awful upset, but Nana and Dad defended her. She really did need defending, ’cause Grandmother threw a pot at her. That was scary.”

“How awful.” muttered Pippin
“I know. But all through Cath’s life Grandmother has been bullying her, saying that it was her fault that she was a boy, until she believed her.

At Cath’s fourth birthday came round, Grandmother changed her track. From then on she’s been pulling and prodding her into being a fine young woman. But it hasn’t worked very well.”

There was a silence, while Cath sniffed a bit and Pippin and Merry sat and thought. How awful it must be, to have a Grandmother who despised you because you were a girl!

Finally the silence was broken by Frodo saying,

“Erm, shall we get on then?”

None of them answered, just got to their feet and started walking. It was nearly 11 o’clock by the time they found a good camp spot, and when they went to sleep, the last thing Merry heard was Cath snuffling into her pillow.


“Well that was good wasn’t it?” Frodo asked enthusiastically.

The others nodded happily. It had taken them another two days to get to the Old Forest, and when they eventually did get there, it took a good quarter of an hour trying to get Pippin to go in the massive place. He “wasn’t scared of the forest just of the trees”. Cath had laughed, but secretly agreed with him. The trees were tall and menacing, and she could have sworn that some of them moved.

“What are you thinking of, Cath?” asked Pippin.

“Nothing.” Cath said, grinning.


“Hurry up Pippin, it’s not that high!” shouted Merry, “There you go. See not far at all, eh?”

Pippin nodded half-heartedly, glanced nervously at Cath, who instead of clinging to an older relative was sitting quite freely on the branch, swinging her legs wildly.

“Look, Pippin, you can see across the lake from here. Hurry up Sam, it’s easy to get up from here. I’ll help you up.”

Sam glanced up from the branch he
was currently resting on. “It’s easy for you to say ‘it’s easy’. And don’t try and help me up or I might fall….”

Too late. Cath had grabbed the nearest hand and pulled, transferring Sam’s’ hand from a sturdy branch to a not so sturdy arm. Before she had the chance to pull, Sam had fallen out of the tree, into a pile of waiting bushes.

Cath and Pippin both burst out laughing, grabbing the side branches so as not to fall to the same fate as their companion. Merry was keeping a straight face, though for how much longer nobody could say. Frodo sighed, looking down at the disgruntled Sam.

“Honestly Cath, when will you learn? Don’t worry Sam I’ll help you out of….”

As Frodo climbed down he rested all his weight on one branch. It was quite a pity, however, that it was the branch that Sam had crashed into on his decent down. Another hobbit crashed down to his doom.

This time there were no polite straight faces. The three younger hobbits were nearly crying with laughter. Eventually Merry looked down at two VERY put out hobbits.

“Come on then.” he chuckled, “Have another go.”

~~~~~~~~End Flashback!~~~~~~~

Cath groaned, rubbing her back.

“Someone should put a sign up or something in there,” she grumbled, “It’s very painful!”

Merry winced remembering.


“Come on you two,” Cath yelled at Sam and Merry.

“We aren’t that stupid!” Sam called back, while looking down at the roots that Frodo, Pippin and Cath were clambering over, “In case you haven’t noticed, those ‘harmless roots’ are hanging over a huge pit!”

“Aww, come on Sam!” Pippin laughed, “It’s not that bad!”

“Yeah, it’s not exactly that deep either. Look, I’ll see for you!” His sister yelled, poking her head between a gap. “See, it’s not that deep, only twelve-feet dee…..”

Frodo groaned, dragging a couple of roots out the way and stared down.

“You IDIOT, Cath!” Sam yelled, dashing over to the hole where Cath had fell down. Cath looked up from the bottom of the twelve foot deep pit.

“Sam,” she grinned, “It is quite comfortable down here.”

“Are you all right Cath?” asked Merry trying hard not to laugh again.

Cath thought for a bit before saying “It hurts to fall into a pit.”

Pippin thought for a moment. “I know! We could just leave her there!”

Merry groaned. This was going to be a LONG walk.

~~~~~~~End Flashback!~~~~~~~

Merry shook his head, grinning at the attempts to get Cath out of the pit. His curly hair whipped into his eyes, making him yelp.

Frodo noticed, “Come on Merry, getting your hair in your eyes isn’t usually that painful!”

“Yeah, but then my hair isn’t usually sopping wet, is it, PIPPIN?” Merry scowled at his cousin.

Frodo sighed. He remembered.

~~~~~ Flashback!~~~~~~~

“How do you properly skim stones, Merry?” Sam muttered, as another stone flopped into the water.

“Well you aren’t supposed just to lob them like that,” Merry answered, “You’re supposed to flick your wrist and let go, just like that.”

“OK,” Sam said, sailing a stone into the middle of the lake, “But that was a pretty light stone, you and Frodo can skim really heavy stones.”

“You need a lot of practice to do that,” Frodo informed him, “Heavy stones are very tricky to skim. They usually just flop.”

“I can skim heavy stones can’t I Merry!” called Pippin, standing a way back from the bank.

“Of course you can Pip.” Merry called back.

Pippin nodded smugly, tossed the stone he was holding a couple of times, took aim, and threw.

The stone sailed through the air, heading towards it’s destination in the lake. However the stone hit an obstruction. That obstruction being Merry.

“Ow!” yelped Merry, as the flying stone hit him. “What the…Arrgh!” He teetered off balance for a second, and it looked like he’d be alright. But as he slid forward his arm caught Cath in the head, causing her to crash into Sam, who in turn bumped into Frodo.

Pippin stood stock still as the entire party tumbled into the water. Then as Merry and Cath both turned in irritation to glare at the young Took, he burst into unstoppable giggles.

Merry sighed. “Okay Cath,” he said, turning to the lass, “I’ll hold him, and you can punch.”

“Hey…er…guys…” stuttered Pippin, as the two got to their feet and headed towards him, “Err.. I didn’t mean….”

Frodo looked on as the two proceeded to chase after Pippin, fists raised. “Well,” he said, turning to a sopping wet Sam, “I recon that by the next hour we should have Perigrin Took hanging up in the nearest tree.”

~~~~~~End Flashback!~~~~~

“D’you think Grandmother will be angry that I’m so wet, Sam?” asked Cath, grinning.

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” he replied, squeezing water out of his coat, “She’ll also be mad for you tearing your coat, making your hair looking like a birds nest, and getting scratches on every part of your face.”

Cath grinned.

The two siblings turned simultaneously towards Merry, who was trying without success to hide a yawn.

“I’m sorry,” he said, noticing the stares from the two, “But I’m awfully tired. Couldn’t we take a short-cut?”

“The only short-cut I know of is through Framer Maggots farm, and you couldn’t make me go in there if you paid me. His dogs are more savage than a cave full of goblins, and the man himself would gladly slice open any trespassers he came across.” declared Frodo with a decided air.

“Oh come on Frodo!” argued Merry, “He’s not that bad, and if we carry on this road we’ll be getting to Bag End next week!”

Frodo looked around. Pippin and Cath were, as always, eager for an adventure. Sam, however, was looking petrified at the very thought. It was true, though, that this road took them the long way round, so the only thing to do was to say,

“Oh, all right, but on your own head be it, and don’t blame me if old Maggoty chops off your head with that axe he always carries round.”

“Good! Alright guys, come on then!”

Pippin and Cath dashed off, eager to be the first ones to get there. Sam was not joining in the general chase, but rather staring at Frodo as though the tweenager was completely mad.


“I don’t care what you say Merry, this is a really bad idea!”

“Relax Sam!” came the nonchalant reply as the young Brandybuck lifted up another bag of mushrooms, “After all, Farmer Maggot has so much of the stuff that he’ll never notice if a few bags are gone! There’s mountains of the stuff!”

Sam groaned. A simple walk was turning out to be a disaster.

It had turned out with Pippin chasing a sparrow out of the field; right into the path of one of the Maggots largest storehouses. Merry and Pippin were both looking at it happily, when Cath, who had been lagging behind, suddenly came up to their side and, without noticing the storehouse, started out about being ‘starving’. Well that was it. If Cath was hungry, then Merry and Pippin would just have to get some food for the poor girl, wouldn’t they? And any other little titbits would just be an added bonus.

“Come on! You’ve got all your food, if Cath has one more pea she’ll burst, and we can’t stay here any longer!” moaned Frodo, who was looking anxiously round the corner of one of the food mountains.

“Alright! Alright! Honestly you Bagginess are such scaredy cats!” Merry easily dodged the punch from Frodo, swaggered round the corner, looked up, and sped back round again.

“What is it!”

“Farmer Maggot. And he’s got all of his dogs with him.” swallowed Merry. Cath peered round, and sure enough, there was the farmer with Grip, Fang and Wolf, the three terrifying dogs the farmer owned.

“We’ll never make it out of here alive.” moaned Sam

“Nonsense,” Merry reassured him, ” He’s only coming to check the stock. All we have to do is just wait for him to leave and we can run.”

Sam was about to give a sarcastic reply when a loud voice made them all jump. “I know you’re in here you scally-wags!” it boomed, “You can’t stay here forever. I’ll catch you!”

“Oh perfect! What do we do know, oh great and knowledgeable Master Meriadoc Brandybuck?”

Merry beckoned, “Follow me.”

They followed him round the other side to where a tall window was situated. Without talking, Cath Pippin and Sam jumped out, taking the bags with them. As Frodo was pushed up by Merry, Farmer Maggots voice burst out.

“THERE YOU ARE! Wait ’till I get my hands on you!”

As the two cowered, Pippin’s head popped up. “What are you two waiting fo….oh yikes.”

Farmer Maggot opened his mouth, probably to yell a command to his dogs, when suddenly Frodo yelled “Now!” Merry leapt up through the window, Frodo fast on his heels, and with Merry grabbing Cath and Pippin by the scruff of the necks, Frodo yanking up Sam, the five scrambled down the hill, with the three dogs in hot pursuit and the farmer struggling through the window.

“Hurry up, he’s gaining!” yelped Sam, “Come on, down this hill!”

“Not there Sam!” shouted Merry, “It’s too stee…..arrgh!”

The other three gave yells of surprise as they too plunged down the steep hill after Merry and Sam. They tumbled down one after the other, the bags of stolen goods tumbling after them, crashing about them.

“Arrgh! Ouch! Eeeoow! Oooof!”

The five’s journey came to an abrupt stop as Sam’s head crashed into the ground, and the rest landed next to him. The two younger ones moaned as they help their various cuts and bruises, then simultaneously whipped their heads up to glare at Merry. Frodo, however, immediately stared up the hill, checking if the enemy was near. Finally he looked down again.

“It’s alright, he’s gone. Merry, why did you go in there?! Honestly, if you would just think for two seconds you would realise that some things can actually be dangerous. Can’t you just grow up?”

Merry, who had got over the fright of being faced with Farmer Maggot, just shrugged lazily. “Cath was hungry. You didn’t want her to be upset did you? Besides, Pippin wanted to go in there just as much as me, and I don’t see you berating him.”

Pippin cowered from his elder cousin, but Frodo only snapped, “Pip didn’t know better, you did. I don’t see why you always try to take the easy way out and blame someone else.”

As the two bickered, Sam, who had been worrying quite badly since they had fell,
interrupted, “Much as I hate to interrupt your argument, but when you said the Farmer was gone, he may have gone down here a non-steep way, and be watching us with those three maniac dogs.”

Merry swallowed, all trace of valour gone beyond recall, “You’re right. Come on you guys, we don’t want an encounter with old Farmer Maggot, do we?”

“That’s what I’ve been saying…well come on!” Frodo muttered angrily.

As they walked, with the two older hobbits arguing with the next youngest, Cath and Pippin shook their heads at the stupidity of their elders.
“Your Grandmother is going to slaughter you when she finds out you’ve been going into the Old Forrest,” grinned Merry, as they trudged through Hobbiton, “But I guess you’ll have about an hour to escape, she’ll be ready for another tea-party round about now.”

“Yeah I guess. But if……Oooh, hello Rosie! Hello Essy!” she suddenly shrieked, as Rosie Cotton and Estella Bolger came walking round the corner. Pippin and Frodo couldn’t help but snigger as they watched Sam turn a bright red as he said hello to Rosie. Merry sniggered along, but his toughness disappeared in an instant as Estella greeted him.

“I’ve been going into the Old Forrest!” Cath announced proudly, now being carried in Estella’s arms.

“Honestly!” murmured the hobbit lass, “And you’re soaking wet too! You have been taking care of her, I hope?” she finished, looking sternly at Merry. There was a coy smile on her face that had won the heart of the hobbit lads she came across, and Merry was no exception.

“Oh, err, yes of course we have! She’s fine, honest!” swallowed Merry, rather nervously, swallowing with embarrassment, and his face turning an even brighter shade of red.

Frodo chuckled. “The great and brave master Merry is so brave when he comes up against three demons in dog form, and a cave-troll in the shape of a farmer, and then trembles at the first simple word from a mere girl that’s a year younger than him!” he muttered, loud enough for Pippin and Merry to both hear, but nobody else. Pippin sniggered, while Merry glowered, a promise of a fight when they got back to Bag End on his face.

“We’d better get you home. Or to Bag End. Is Mum awake?” Sam asked Rosie. Rosie knew what that meant.

“She’s still asleep. You go with the boys Cath, and take care of them!” It was a common joke that the four could not cope without Cath to ‘take care’ of them.

As the two girls carried on down the road, Estella could hear Cath saying, “You know, if Mum doesn’t wake up soon, she’ll go on sleeping forever.”
It was a sinister proclamation, though nobody knew it then.

Sometimes I feel you’re not listening
Sometimes I feel you don’t understand
But I think I’ve got the answer
Already know what you’re gonna say

‘Cause I’m just a little girl you see
But there’s a hell of a lot more to me
Don’t ever underestimate what I can do
Don’t ever tell me how I’m meant to be
You say I’m just a little girl, just a little girl

How can I compare? What do I know?
What have I got to share?
But there’s nothing in this world, nothing in this world
That could hold me down, can’t you hear me?
Don’t you understand
That I wanna be myself, wanna be the girl,
Wanna be the one that you can rely on
How I wish that you could see all there is of me
How I long to hear that you take me
For who I am

‘Cause I’m just a little girl you see
But there’s a hell of a lot more to me
Don’t ever underestimate what I can do
Don’t ever tell me how I’m meant to be

‘Cause I’m just a little girl you see
But there’s a hell of a lot more to me
Don’t ever underestimate what I can do
Don’t ever tell me how I’m meant to be
Sometimes I feel you’re not listening
Sometimes I feel you don’t understand

‘Cause I’m just a little girl you see
But there’s a hell of a lot more to me
Don’t ever underestimate what I can do
Don’t ever tell me how I’m meant to be

‘Cause I’m just a little girl you see
But there’s a hell of a lot more to me
Don’t ever underestimate what I can do
Don’t ever tell me how I’m meant to be

Lyrics; Just a Little Girl, by Amy Studt

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