Rosemary Took, A Hobbit-maid - Chapter 3: Rivendell
As the sun rose and shone down through the trees, a ray escaped onto Rosemary's face. With a start, she awoke. She looked around drowsily and wondered where she was. After a while, she remembered the adventures of the night before and decided to look for the way out again since she was feeling refreshed. She began to walk in what was her best guess of the direction in which the path lay. As all Hobbits do, Rosemary had a good sense of direction. Maybe, like Bilbo, she also had a good amount of luck. This may explain what happened. Rosemary had only been walking in the direction she chose for a short time before she came out of the woods. She was overjoyed. She sat down to eat and celebrate her strange fortune.
Rosemary did not seem to be making much progress. She never seemed to get any closer to her destination, and, worst of all, her food was beginning to run out. She had not thought the journey would take so long. She could do nothing but go on. Then the weather took a turn for the worse. There were great thunderstorms, and she decided it would just be best to wait. Days passed, and finally the weather relented. It was also around that time that Rosemary's food reserve was depleted. She felt hopeless and miserable. Things just were not going as planned. With no food, she began to get weaker. She had to rest more often and travel less. But then her luck came into play for her once again. She found a bush with berries growing on it. That was very strange because most berry bushes were only budding. She felt that she ought to celebrate. So she began to sing:
"Never did a fear compare to the one I met back there. Now, at last, sweet food I see, and life is returned to me.
"Now I go to Rivendell to see the Elves that there dwell. The Elves are wise, fair, and free; I do hope they don't mind me."
Rosemary ate and then filled her pack with all the berries she didn't eat. It felt so strange for her to have food in her stomach that she wasn't able to consume much. She began skipping gleefully along the path in spite of her weariness. She had hope now, and that counted for something. She got farther that day than she gotten in a very long while. She missed her family. She wondered how friendly Elves were. She remembered Bilbo mentioning their fierceness in battle, wisdom, and merriness. She began to talk to herself. "I suppose if Elves are merry, then they might be friendly. Hmm--" she thought for a moment. "--Oh, I remember now! He said they were kind. If they're kind, they must be friendly. I hope they will let me stay. Maybe they'll let me sing with them. And dance, too, perhaps. Do they do that at Rivendell? I wonder.... I would love to their stories as well. I bet they're true and exciting like Bilbo's stories, or even better!" With that, she stopped to rest.
One day, as she was walking, Rosemary realized that the path she was on was lined with stones. She began to follow it eagerly. The mountains in the distance began to loom closer than before. The scenery was still the same. The mountains were closer. She was nearly among them, and she was tired. Then the scenery changed. Valleys suddenly began opening up at her feet. She wouldn't see anything until she was right at the edge of one. More than once, she slipped and nearly fell down the steep sloping sides. Day by day, she became more anxious. Had she already passed it? Was she going to end up getting lost in the mountains without any food (her berries had run out some time ago)? What would she do then? But her luck saved her once again. It was past the time Rosemary normally stopped for the night, but she felt compelled to go on. She looked up at sky and saw the stars shining brightly in the heavens. It was getting late, and she had just decided that she would stop for the night, when her foot slipped. She quickly reached out to take hold of something to stop her swift descent, but found nothing. As she slid rapidly down the slope, she wondered why she had been looking up so foolishly when she should have been looking down. Then she noticed lights in the valley. What could that mean? She had no time to think just yet. She saw a tree root and grabbed onto it. Then it hit her. She had made it! This was Rivendell! She slowly hauled herself up and grabbed onto the tree trunk. She stood up and gazed into the valley. Soon Rosemary was walking carefully down the slope towards the lights. She heard singing. It was so exciting to finally be in Rivendell! Then another thought struck her: one not nearly as pleasant. She had been wandering in the wilderness for over a month. Her hair was tangled, her clothes were ragged and worn (as well as too big for her now that she had been starving for some time), and she was dirty. I must look awful, she thought. And she was appearing before the Fair Folk in this condition! It was ridiculous, but she could do nothing about it. She was ashamed. The Elves were still singing, but she didn't hear it. All she could think about was how bad she looked. The song stopped, and an Elf came out of the trees to address her. She was taken to the Last Homely House where Elrond Halfelven lived. Elrond could tell she was weary and famished, so he didn't ask her any questions yet. He simply welcomed her to Rivendell.
Rosemary was feeling better in her newly washed clothes. However, they were badly worn and travel stained, so the Elves planned to make her new ones right away. Nonetheless, it was good to be clean. She had soaked in the bath for a long while. It had felt so nice. She had gotten cuts and bruises from her fall into the valley, and the bath had helped to ease the pain. She was combing through her tangled curls. Soon she would be ready to eat dinner. It smelled so delicious. Her stomach ached from the smell of it. She gave up working on her curls and went downstairs. She would work on them later. She seated herself at a small table that had been placed for her. She was the only one eating because all the Elves had already eaten. She ate slowly and very little because her stomach was no longer used to food. The food tasted amazing. It tasted better than anything she remembered eating before. Even with the little she ate, she felt very full. When she finished eating, Rosemary returned upstairs. She found her bed to be quite soft. It was so refreshing to feel the crisp, clean sheets and the soft mattress underneath her instead of hard, dry, rocky ground. Somehow it seemed that she had never felt anything so comfortable in all her life. She could still hear the Elves singing sweetly outside. As she listened, she drifted off into the realm of sleep.
At noon the next day, Rosemary awoke. She got dressed and went downstairs to eat. She was just in time. This time she ate in the company of Elves at a much larger table than the night before. As she took her place among the Fair Folk, she felt a sense of awe that lingered with her throughout the meal and after. None of the Elves spoke to her at all during the meal. She hoped that they would speak to her eventually. After her meal, Elrond summoned her. "What is your mission here?" he asked. "Who sent you?" "I came to ask your leave to stay here for a time. I learned the way from Bilbo. I asked him of Elves and of where he had seen them. When he spoke of Rivendell, I wanted to come here and see it. Bilbo didn't think you would turn me away if I got here. It took me more than a month, but now I am here," responded Rosemary. "If you wish to see Elves, you may; there are many Elves here now. Bilbo is right: I will not send you back. You are a friend of Bilbo's?" "Actually," Rosemary replied, "I suppose I am, as well as being his second cousin..." So they talked for a while, and it was decided that Rosemary would be allowed to reside in Rivendell.