Still Round the Corner: A Lord of the Rings Fan-Fiction Story
The following account was found among the marginalia of a late Fourth Age manuscript of The King’s Book of Findegil, quite possibly based on a now lost journal or letter;
I am Tuor Artirion, of the Citadel Guard of Minas Tirith, son of Galdor Artirion, lately of the White Company of the Prince of Ithilien. I am the last of mortal men to enter the land of the Halflings while that country lasts, unless it be that the King decides to grant such a grace again, and this is my tale.
I awoke in the morning at the Prancing Pony Inn, in the thriving free city of Bree, to find that mist had descended upon the valley, and covered it in deep fog. This dampened my spirits a bit, as it was the first of Narquelië, and the bright sun of summer faded into autumn more quickly in these northern lands. I clad myself in a simple blue tunic and trousers, and the black cloak of the Guard. My helm, hauberk, breastplate, vambraces, and greaves were stored in my saddle bag, my only weapon on my person being my father’s sword. I broke the morning fast with the innkeeper, and then set out through the west gate upon the final road of my journey.
Perhaps you are wondering why I should journey to the Westlands, and visit the land called in the common tongue, the Shire. My father had fought in the Battle of the Black Gate, and was almost slain by a vile troll while fighting alongside Captain Beregond on the hills of the Morannon. His life was saved by the valiance of Master Peregrin the Halfling, and I had made my petition to the High King Elessar to lift this once the ban forbidding men to enter their Country, that I might look upon the land of my father’s friend. Thus after correspondence in letters with Lord Samwise, Master of the Shire (Mayor as they term it), I was given permission and the King’s grace on my adventure.
By the time I had reached the bridge spanning the river Brandywine, the sun had lifted all fog, and the day grew splendid as it were of high summer. Across the bridge spread out before me lush hills rolling toward the west, covered in farms and those holes which formed the Halflings’ dwellings, with little pockets of cultivated forest in which could be heard the song of birds unknown even in Ithilien. As I drew nearer, I saw two short figures in simple but elegant clothes, mounted upon their ponies in a lordly manner, and I hailed them, “Well met Halflings! Could you direct me to Lord Peregrin, Thain of the Shire?”
The taller of the two (I now perceived the other was but a child of eight) answered with glad voice, “There is no need, sir, you’ve found him right enough as it is. I take it you’re Tuor Artirion, well please, call me Pippin,” and with a gesture to his companion, “This is my son, Faramir. You’re named after that great hero that old Bilbo wrote about in his Elvish translations, aren’t you? Could never read the whole thing myself.”
I assented and asked, “Whither shall we be bound?”
“To Bamfurlong in Marish- you could scarce find a better table in the whole Eastfarthing than that of Farmer Maggot- and on the morrow, to Hobbiton.”
Down the Causeway we rode, and fell easily into song or jest, as the Brandywine flowed lazily beside us. Beneath a glade on the river’s bank we dismounted just after midday, and filled our pipes with what Thain Pippin called Old Toby leaf. “How is young Bergil?” asked my Hobbit guide.
“Well indeed. He is now a valiant soldier of the White Company.”
“Dad, tell the story of Gandalf and the Witch-king!” the young Faramir asked quite eagerly, though it was evident he had heard it many times.
As the tale was told we remounted and had journeyed southwards and little westward, while the land became more of a marsh around us. “Of course he’s gone now, good old Gandalf. And Bilbo and Frodo too. And Sam will take the white ship someday I suppose. He had the Ring too, you know, for a little while.”
I replied that this was not among the tales of Gondor. “Master Pippin, you must hasten and return to the City to correct this fault.”
He looked wistfully towards the East. “I will return to the White City one day- but here, we’ve arrived.”
The sun was setting, and the music of drums and violins, flutes and fiddles was in the air. Beyond the hedge was a long low farmhouse bright with lanterns. Hobbits, hobbit lads and lasses, gathered about for the mushrooms, venisons, and all manner of simple but delicious foods, eating and dancing into the night. Among the guests, I found I was not the only friend there who was not a Hobbit. Bright blue jacketed, yellow booted, with a long swan feather in his hat, was he, forever singing and circling in the dance. “Him? That’s old Tom Bombadil, who guided us through the old forest. He always comes on Frodo’s birthday.”
“Quiet!” interrupted an excited young hobbit, “I want to hear the story.” Indeed Farmer Maggot had gathered hobbits of all ages about him to tell the story of “Mad Baggins, who’d quick as ye would blink disappear, an’ just as soon return with a Smial full o’ jools.”
Despite staying up long after Eärendil had guided ship to herald the morning, we got an early start back North to reach the East-West Road. Unlike the day before, our trip was mostly silent as we breathed the fresh Shire air, and drank in the beauty of the fertile fields and hills, and heard it seemed the Music of the Powers in the little river they called The Water. About us hobbits went about their simple comfortable lives, not without their own small problems, but overall in peace.
At last we passed over Bywater Bridge and came to the Hill, and round the corner to a small almost secret path, through a gate hidden in a wall of green living hedge, and then… I saw it. It was the Tree, the last Mallorn tree West of the Mountains and East of the Sea. A beauty of white and gold that nowhere else now exists in Arda, save in Valinor alone.
When at last I returned to Bree, and passed again through the West Gate with the stars shining brightly above me, I could hear a curious song, coming from the Inn, that gladdened my heart (though I know not why) with the thoughts of my hobbit friends;
There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.
By The Hapsburg Restorationist
(Read more from The Hapsburg Restorationist at The War for Christendom)