The next morning Gandalf entered Sam’s bedchamber to find a greatly refreshed hobbit sitting up and anxiously awaiting his arrival. “Well bless me Mr. Gandalf, I’ve been a waiting you. Will I be able to see Mr. Frodo when we are done with all this retelling sir?” Sam asked eagerly.
Gandalf could not help but smile at Sam’s devotion to his master. “Yes Samwise, today you’ll see your Mr. Frodo. First I have questions that need answering.”
Sam was quite ready to begin and was anxious to not waste any time so Gandalf began his inquries. “Sam, you’ve told me of what transpired when you met up with Faramir. How is it that you traveled through Cirith Ungol?”
“Well sir, Faramir could not offer up any solid reason why we should not go that way. It was the only other path that was presented to us from that stinker Gollum and Mr. Frodo was becoming more and more anxious about the time sir.” Sam replied.
“Why did Frodo feel that he could trust Gollum at all?” Gandalf asked, thinking it curious that with all of Frodo’s previous trepidation about the creature Gollum that he should trust him so completely.
Sam stared at Gandalf a moment before answering. “Why sir, I think it was something you said to him back in the mines of Moria. Frodo and Gollum had a kind of way of being with each other that I did not really understand. Frodo had decided that your words about Gollum ‘having a part to play’ meant that he was supposed to help us. I knew that Gollum’s ‘helping’ came only from his desire to have the ring. Now don’t misunderstand me sir, Frodo was smart to Gollum’s ways….it was you he trusted to sir.”
Gandalf sighed deeply. He’d knownthat Gollum would play a part. He’d only been able to guess at the toll this part would take on the fellowship, on Frodo.
“What happened next Sam?” Gandalf asked.
“As we came closer to Mordor it soon became harder for Frodo again. He grew quieter each day. There was some days where he might not have spoken at all. He was finally able to confide in me that the ring was growing heavier on him again. The closer we drew to that horrid place, the harder the burden was on Mr. Frodo.” Sam paused with a far away look on his face…the cloud of yet another painful memory passed over his brow….and he continued ” I kept him going best I could and then we came to the winding stair that led to Cirth Ungol. We climbed until I thought we’d go straight through the sky, and then kept on climbing. When we reached a resting spot we were both so tired we just fell asleep.” Gandalf watched Sam’s face intently and saw a look that almost spoke of wonder alight on the hobbits features. “I was awoken by Gollum gently touching Frodo’s knee….he had a look that almost made you want to feel sorry for him. I wasn’t able to feel that….I was just protecting Master Frodo so I’m afraid I had some harsh words with the stinker, Mr. Frodo needed his rest and I was just suspecting that Gollum was busy hatching some kind of evil plan. Well, hatching he was and if I’d a known what he was going to do to us I’d have been a lot harsher with him and that’s a fact” Sam said angrily.
“Go on please Sam” Gandalf urged gently.
Sam’s voice became quieter and Gandalf had to lean closer to catch all that was being said. ” We went into a terrible cave. The air was foul and both of us had all we could do to keep moving forward instead of turning tail and running out. It was dark as the blackest night and we talked to one another just to keep our presence known. Gollum was beoming more and more quiet, until we did not hear any snuffle or throaty sounds a coming from his way…no grunting…no shuffling feet, just quiet. ” Sam looked to Gandalf ” I was never more frightened in my whole life….but Mr. Frodo just kept on moving and so I followed. One step and then another….we started to sense a great evil and there was a feeling like we was being watched, but we kept on moving. Finally the feeling that we were being watched by some great and terrible creature became overpowering. We turned and saw tiny eyes, hundreds of them coming at us. We both panicked and began to run. Mr. Frodo soon realized that the eyes ran when we did…he called on me to stop…that running would do no good. I found myself thinking how good a bit of light would be when I suddenly remembered the star glass that Lady Galadriel had given to Frodo in Lothlorien. I reminded Frodo of the light and he grasped the light in one hand and Sting in the other and walked towards those eyes…head held high and sword at the ready.” Sam paused and took a deep breath when he remembered the courage of his master “Well Mr. Gandalf, it was the making of a song to see the way Frodo walked down to meet the terror of those eyes. I started to follow him, then could see that he was a getting too far ahead of me and the eyes were coming back towards him, I shouted ‘watch out master’ but at that same time I was pulled to the ground. I fought off the stinker Gollum and snapped my walking staff over his back. ” Sam paused briefly and then continued.
Sam continued with a sad, strained quality to his voice ” I ran up to find Frodo but it was too late. The giant Spider who’d been hunting us had him wrapped up in her horrid webs and was about to pull him to her nest when I grabbed Sting from the ground where it’d fallen and challenged her. The giant beast Shelob had stung Frodo and he was lying there waiting to be taken to her lair. I had never been so mad Gandalf. I swore I’d get revenge and I stood with Sting, steady like, while she dropped Frodo and came after me. I can see it so fresh sir…” Gandalf looked intently at Sam and notice a tear sliding down his check. Gandalf waited a moment for Sam to pull himself back from the depth of that sad moment.
“Well that beast had hurt my master and I was ready to hurt back….so when she hovered her great bulk over me I just stood as strong as I could with Sting in the air and as she sat to squash me she gave herself a nastly poke and then scuttled off.” Sam took a deep breath and Gandalf noted the pain that flooded the young halflings face.
Sam continued….” I went to my Mr. Frodo, I called his name, rubbed his hands, felt his brow. I cut the cords of the spider and listened for his heart. I heard nothing and saw no sign of life…there was nothing sir, nothing of Frodo was left. There was no breath, no heartbeat, my master was dead and I went a little wild in my grief and when I came back to myself sir it was the cruelest sadness I’d ever known. I realized that I was alone and in the ‘worst part of the story’ as Mr. Frodo had called it.” Sam paused for a long moment, trying to decide how to tell his darkest thoughts to one of his most respected friends. “I wanted to join him sir, join Frodo and for a moment I looked long and hard upon the point of Sting….and then decided that Mr. Frodo had given up the quest for more than that…there was a bigger reason for his death. I knew I had to find a way to help rid the world of the evil of the ring. So, I gave my master one last kiss, folded his hands upon his chest and promised to come back and die by his side as soon as I’d gotten rid of the evil thing once and for all.I gently took the ring from around Mr. Frodo’s neck and when I saw that he did not move or struggle in my taking of the thing I knew for sure that he’d given up the quest and had journied to other lands. As I walked away I could see a kind of soft glow come from the place Frodo lay….a quiet light that showed me that he’d found his peace…that my dearest master was beyond the pain of the world now. ” Sam rubbed his hand across his eyes to wipe away the tears that stubbornly would not fall. ” He had his reward Gandalf….he had his quiet and restful place. That gave me a kind of hope and so I went on. I walked up the tunnel a few hundred feet or so until I heard the sound of Orcs; lots of ’em. I put on the ring to hide myself. When I put the ring on I could see the world in a cloudy way but I could hear all they was saying. A great cheer went up from the Orcs as they found Mr. Frodo…they hoisted him on to their shoulders and off they went with him.”
Sam looked down at his quietly folded hands ” I know what evil things Orcs are capable of sir and I couldn’t let ’em take Frodo…I just couldn’t.” Sam paused yet again and then continued ” I was ready to lay down the quest sir, I know that taking the ring to Mordor would have been the right thing to do, but I could not leave Mr. Frodo sir, I just didn’t have the heart” Sam finished quietly.
Gandalf laid his hand on Sam’s head and stared into the tear filled eyes of the loyal hobbit “you were there with Frodo and did as your heart told you….there can be no truer friend than that” Gandalf continued “What happened after Frodo was taken by the Orcs?”
Sam wiped his tears and continued ” I followed ’em sir. It wasn’t hard to do…they were so loud. As I followed I overheard them talking and one of them wondered aloud what sport was to be had with a captive that was dead….when the other answered that Shelob hadn’t killed this one, only stunned him so she’d have fresh meat later. ” Sam stared at Gandalf “He was alive, happier words I don’t think I could have heard. Until I realized that they were taking him to the dungeons of Barad Dur. They carried him through a gate that I could not find my way beyond and although I threw myself at the gate over and over again it did not budge and again I found myself unaware of my surroundings. When I came to I finally found a way into the Orcs lair and crept along through the tunnels as quiet as could be. I expected to be discovered at every turn but found only the bodies of Orcs who’d died during some great uprising.” Sam continued speaking as if in a trance ” I heard a few screams now and again but all I found was bodies. I found myself wondering , everytime I heard a scream, if it was Mr. Frodos’s last sounds I was a hearing” Sam’s eyes glazed over at the memory of how scared he’d been and he took a moment to close his eyes and collect himself.
While Sam paused, Gandalf looked up to see Aragorn standing near the side of the hobbits bed.
“Gandalf” Aragorn softly interjected ” Elrond needs to speak to you of Frodo’s condition. He has asked that I stay here with Sam.”
Gandalf nodded silently. “Stay here with him, allow him to rest, this has been difficult for him I fear” and he slid quietly from the room.
Sam, who had been lost in his memories, opened his eyes to find Aragorn standing vigil. “Strider” Sam exclaimed “Where’s Gandalf off to? I want to finish this story so that I may go to see Frodo.”
“All in good time master Samwise, I’ve been told to help you rest” Aragorn replied.
“Rest?! not on your life, my Mr. Frodo will be needing his Sam….so I’ll continue this story whether Gandalf’s here or not” Sam stated emphatially. Aragorn doubted not Sam’s intention to continue his tale and quietly resigned himself to hearing of the horrors of the final days of the quest.