Elements: Dreams of the Dead, Visions of the Living - chapter 1
This not-for-profit work was written purely to amuse…and in this case, to make the reader think. I own nothing; I just like to visit my friends in Middle-earth. New Line, Peter Jackson, and the Tolkien Estate own all intellectual property. All I own is a love for the works of JRR Tolkien and his wonderful characters.
Elements: Dreams of the Dead, Visions of the Living
The First Element
The Trees of the Earth
“Do you dream?” Pippin asked.
“Why, of course.” This was the voice. Whose voice Pippin could not actually pinpoint, but it sounded very nice. The voice was a deep, warm voice, one so deep and warm and welcoming that one might sink into it, like a cozy feather bed.
“Of what do you dream?”
“Many things, even things for which there are no words.”
“That is no answer,” answered Pippin.
The voice laughed, and then it asked, “What would you have me tell you, then?”
“Only, just what is it you dream of? If you have not a simple explanation, then just tell me what the best dreams are about.”
“Well, the best dreams are the ones in which I am dying.”
Pippin woke with a cry lodged firmly in his throat.
“Papa?” said his son, Faramir. “Are you well? Did you have a bad dream?”
Pippin ran his fingers through his mop of curls, now long turned silver. “I——I cannot say. If it was actually a bad dream, or just a surprising dream, or perhaps something else, that is. It was… it was just a dream.”
“You seem to be having lots of those of late, Papa.”
“So I have, so I have.” Pippin patted his son’s hand. “Don’t worry about me, my dear lad. You should be worrying about my grandchildren and your dear Goldilocks, not your old father. Please, do not fuss so. I am well, I am well!”
“Well, if you say so. Still, you have been working far too much, teaching me all I must know as Took and Thain,” Faramir said. “But you will only scold me for saying so. Take a little time for yourself, Papa; you have well earned it, after all these years. I shall bring you some nice hot tea and a few biscuits.”
“Yes, you do that, dear lad, that would be lovely.”
“I’ll be back in a trice,” his son smiled.
“I should like to carve a little whilst you do so, would you hand me my box?”
“Certainly, Papa,” Faramir said. He took down from a shelf the little box containing his father’s knives and the little figurines he had been carving for so many years. Papa has the cleverest hands in all of the Shire and every village and country lane all around it, thought Faramir, running his palm gently across the emblem of the White Tree which his father had carved on the lid in bas relief. He placed the box in his father’s lap almost reverently. Wrapping a shawl about his father’s shoulders, Faramir kissed Pippin’s cheek affectionately, and then left to fetch tea and biscuits. Before he could get through the door, Faramir heard his father speak and grinned at the familiar words.
“You needn’t fuss so! I may be old, but I am yet quite hale and healthy.”
“I know,” Faramir said. The words exchanged were well known by now, but none the worse for wear. “I don’t fuss over you because I think you old and weak, I fuss over you because you are my dear Papa.”
Pippin returned Faramir’s smile with one of equal warmth, their green eyes, so like, locked affectionately. Faramir turned and trotted down the long hall. Pippin lifted the box to his lap and opened the lid. He ran his hands lovingly over the small wooden figurines inside. There was to be one for each of them: the Fellowship. Only two pieces were unfinished. Pippin held the first of the two, turning it this way and that, letting himself slip away to when he had first begun to sculpt his little wooden figurines.
He had taken up carving shortly after returning home from the Ring War. It kept his hands busy when his mind drifted away to memories best left alone. Of course, it had started with one bit of wood. Pippin had picked it up while walking one day. Sitting beneath a tree, he took a small knife out of a little sheath in his pocket and idly began to whittle. Looking back now, he did not know how long he had been there on that warm autumn day, but it must have been some time, for when he looked more closely at the bit of wood, he could see that it had taken shape in his hands. Obviously, this was a person, though he could not tell who, if anyone, the figure resembled, for the wood had not yet revealed its secret. Shrugging, he slipped the wood into his pocket with his knife and pipe and strolled home. When he was idle and his mind wandered into dark places, he would take the figure out and carve on it, and little by little, it took shape, and the shape was familiar. He remembered one day looking more closely at it when he saw the beginnings of the finer details revealing themselves: it was Boromir. He remembered quite well his reaction. Far from feeling saddened, he had smiled broadly.
“Hallo, Boromir!” He traced a finger across the face of the little carving. “How wonderful it is to see you again, my friend. We shall spend a great deal of time catching up, you and I.” And so it had begun.
He remembered well the day he had shown the finished piece to dear Merry. “Why, Pippin,” Merry grinned. “You have been hiding your talents from us all these years! Why look, you have even carved his horn, and the silver collar with that white stone set in it.” Merry traced a finger down the side of Boromir’s face with a fond but silent tear, and soon Pippin wept as well. It had been months and months since Boromir had died. They had not had the chance to weep for their friend during the time of the Ring War, and afterwards, they had both shied away from thinking about it very much. But sooner or later, even the most cheerful of hobbits must weep tears long held in check. This was such a time, and the pair was grateful to be together when it finally came.
Pippin scrubbed at his cheeks roughly, as if to do so thoroughly would be to banish the sadness in him. Of course, it did not; it only gave him red cheeks to match his red nose and red eyes. “I often wondered about that stone,” he said. “I never got to ask him about it, and afterwards… well, you know how the tale went.”
“Aye, that I do,” Merry said, and shared a look with Pippin. It was a look which one soldier recognizes immediately in another soldier: the look that is fifty leagues long. Hobbits they were, and hobbits they would always be; but they were remarkable hobbits. They were hobbits who had gone to war, hobbits who had been willing to lay down their very lives for all that is good in the world. This set them apart, for even among hobbits who had fought to free the Shire, this pair had seen and done things few hobbits, if any, had done and seen. In this, they were together, yet alone, for among their kind, only Frodo and Sam knew what they had gone through.
“Will you be carving more?” Merry said at last, as if nothing at all had passed between them, for this is the way of hobbits, to never let such grief take them as it sometimes did elves and even men.
“Well, now that you mention it, I suppose I could,” said Pippin, his face once more bright and chipper. “I should like to carve them of the same wood, from the same tree. I know the tree from which the branch was broken. Would you like to go with me to cut some more pieces?”
"I think I would like that very much," Merry said. "Such wonderful things trees are." They gathered a few things---a jug of water, a few apples, some seed-cakes, a small saw, and a hand ax---and soon were on their way. There was a bit of work deciding where the best places to harvest the wood from Pippin's tree, for they were ever mindful and respectful to the trees of the earth.