Rosemary Took, a Hobbit-maid - Chapter 2: A Walk in the Woods


The morning after her talk with Bilbo, Rosemary went outside to read her Elf book. It told several different tales, including the tales of Beren and Lúthien and Idril and Tuor. She loved tales like the ones in her book. But everyone thought she was a little queer because of that. So that was why she was lying alone under a tall tree and reading. After a time, she heard footsteps and looked up. A small group of Hobbit-children around her own age had surrounded her. "Whatcha readin'?" asked one dirty-looking young boy mockingly. "Yes, Reddie, tell us what nonsense you're into now," said a girl. "I'm reading history," replied Rosemary cheerfully. "It's about how Beren and Lúthien took the Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth, so they could be married. Would you like to read it?" "No, of course not! But that's not history, that's a tale. Do you actually believe that?" asked the boy. "Are you really so naïve that you believe in Elves and dragons and things like what old Bilbo is always talking about?" asked the girl incredulously. "Yes, I do." "I guess red hair has its effects on the wearer just like my mom said," said another boy, laughing. "Yep. Redheads are always the odd ones, or so I've heard. I s'pose this is proof enough right here," said another girl. "Yes," they all agreed as they went away laughing. Rosemary tried to resume her reading as if nothing had happened, but she couldn't forget what they had said. It really hurt to be the only red-headed Hobbit, no matter how dark her hair was.

*~*

Rosemary was getting ready for her big birthday party. 13 years had passed since she last spoke to Bilbo. Not much had really happened. She had spent most of her time cooking food with her mother and sisters, taking long walks through The Shire, and reading whatever she could find about Elves. She still didn't understand why her mother and father were so opposed to Bilbo. But it didn't matter now because she was going to talk to him today. Today she was an adult, and she could talk to whomever she wished. She hoped he would come to her party. She had invited him, but she didn't remember whether he had said he was coming or not. So many had accepted that she just couldn't remember, so she would just have to wait and see. Guests began arriving. Rosemary had to stand at the gate and welcome them in. Esmeralda was handing out presents. Rosemary's older sisters, Primrose and Ellarose, were setting out food on tables. After a large dinner, Rosemary's parents got up and spoke a few `suitable words' before letting Rosemary begin her speech. "Friends and family, you are all gathered here today to celebrate my 33rd birthday. Today I have come of age, and I am considered an adult. I trust that you are all enjoying yourselves, and I thank you all for coming. I am quite fond of every one of you. I hope to have the chance to spend more time with all of you as time passes." With that, she walked back to her seat and sat down-- amid loud cheers and applause.

*~*

After the party, Rosemary thought about her talk with Bilbo. He definitely didn't seem any older than he did 13 years ago. She mentioned her desire to go to Rivendell, and Bilbo encouraged her to go. She wondered if she really should sacrifice her reputation just to see Elves. She wasn't sure she was ready to do that just yet. She decided to continue to live with her mother since Primrose and Ellarose had gotten married and moved to their own homes. Only her brother Paladin and younger sister Esmeralda were at home still. Besides, she thought, if I really do decide to leave I won't have to worry about my home being invaded and my stuff being taken like what happened to Bilbo. I will only leave my room.

*~*

3 years later, Rosemary was feeling restless. Although it meant risking her reputation, she still felt she had to try. It wasn't that important or even that good anyway. She was finally going to see Elves! The thought spurred her into action. She packed her small pack (the one she used whenever she wanted to have a picnic lunch). She decided it would be a good idea to travel light since the road to Rivendell was a long one. Bilbo's instructions were running through her mind constantly. Early in the morning, before her family was awake, Rosemary departed. She was excited to finally be on her way! Maybe the Elves will accept me, she thought as she walked along. Maybe red hair is not unheard of among them. They know a great many things, so they must know of red hair. I hope that they are friendlier than my Hobbit-friends. Soon Rosemary stopped for a meal. She was very hungry because she had forgotten to eat breakfast in her hurry to set out on her journey. She ate a small meal composed of a slice of bread and an apple. It was a poor meal for any Hobbit, but she had to save her food: she wasn't sure how long her journey would take. It had taken Bilbo about a month, she recalled. After a short rest she began again.

*~*
After a few days, Rosemary was out of The Shire and on her way down the road Bilbo had taken. As she traveled, she thought about Bilbo's travels. She hoped that she would not meet any trolls and wished she had a pony to ride, for her feet were sore and her back ached from the weight of her pack. She was all by herself, and she didn't like it. If this is what an adventure is like, I'm not sure I really wanted to go on one, after all, she thought to herself. She barely noticed that she was crossing the river Bilbo had mentioned by the ancient bridge. Why did I ever leave my beautiful, sunny hobbit hole? It's so dreary out here. I'm sure I'll never get to Rivendell before my food runs out, and, on top of that, I'll probably end up getting into some kind of trouble, just like Bilbo did. Very soon, too, I'm sure. As Rosemary was thinking those dreary thoughts, it began to rain softly, making everything seem a whole lot drearier to the poor Hobbit-maid as she surveyed the gray clouds and the approach of night. She decided to shelter under the trees like Bilbo had when it started to drizzle. She also tried to make a fire, but to no avail. She finally just decided to eat a meager dinner of an apple and maybe go to sleep. But Rosemary couldn't fall asleep despite all her efforts. She began to walk around and then an idea came to her. She would find the stone trolls Bilbo had mentioned! So she began her search. She started walking in what was her best guess at being the right direction. She was right. After a short time, Rosemary glimpsed mounds of stone through the tree trunks. When she was close enough, she could tell that they were the massive and terribly ugly trolls Bilbo had described to her before. Even now they terrified her, lest one should suddenly come alive and espy her standing alone. She wondered what would have happened to her if she had been in Bilbo's place. Well, there's no reason to stay here, so I should go now. I think I can sleep now, too. She headed back the way she had come, or was it? Her mind was muddled with exhaustion, and she finally just had to lie down. At once a light and troubled sleep took her. She woke often in the night and drifted into sleep again, but her dreams were evil and she got very little true rest.

*~*

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