For anyone who has not read my other stories, to understand this vignette you need only to know a little bit about the white jewel that was given to Frodo by Arwen. In my series of stories, the jewel is a gift which allows the giver to share in the heart of the recipient to help bear their burdens. The gem, which came from Galadriel, through Celebrían and Arwen, to Frodo, is now being passed to Sam. To read more of this “history,” see the links at the end of the story.
“Where has the time flown?” thought Frodo as he held the weeping Sam in his arms. His eyes turned up to the ancient stone statues and delicate carvings that looked down upon the quay. The silent beauty of the Grey Havens seemed to deny that there could even be such a thing as “time.” “But we have come to the end at last,” he told himself, squeezing his eyes shut against the pain in his heart. Still, he felt no despair or fear, for a small ember of hope burned again in his heart–a hope that had been rekindled as he had stood at Rosie’s bedside seven months before. It seemed that it was only yesterday.
Sam shuddered and Frodo pulled him tighter, praying now that he had been right in leaving Sam’s pain until the last possible moment. Gratitude welled up in his heart for Gandalf’s taking of matters into his own hands and sending for Merry and Pippin. Though it had been unknown to his cousins, Frodo had said his last good-byes to them the week before his birthday, for he had feared the extra burden of grieving for them all at the quay. But Gandalf’s wisdom had been greater, for their presence did not add to his sorrow, but rather lightened it, and far more important, he saw that Sam would surely need them.
At last Frodo loosed his hold, and taking Sam’s head in his hands, he kissed him on the brow. Then he bent his own head to take the fine chain with its gleaming gem from his neck. Looking into the tear-filled eyes that rose to meet his, he placed the chain over Sam’s head, his hand sliding down to rest upon the white star stone. And the weight of Sam’s sorrow fell full upon him and his own sorrow with a force he thought would drive him to his knees. He feared for a moment that he would not survive Sam’s grief, for he fell …down …down into sorrow deep. But then he saw that it was not black with despair, for it was pure and sweet, and it washed over his soul like a cleansing flood. And he plunged further still into the sorrow that grew brighter and lighter as he fell. At last it was a silver stream, deep and swift, and mingled in colours both bright and soft. And he knew then, that it was Sam’s love that he saw. It was wide enough for the Shire and small enough for the tiniest herb or flower that grew in the garden. It was bright with song and laughter, and soft with all the tenderness he felt towards Elanor. There was passion and undying devotion that were Rosie’s claim to his heart. … And he saw also the love that belonged to him. It was more solid than the rocks of the earth, born in long years of lesser love and remade in fire. It was a thing that would remain unbroken though mighty seas and time itself might separate them.
And Frodo heard a voice whisper to him, “sing.” He did not know if it was one last call from Arwen or if it was another that spoke to him, but he struggled to find his own thoughts amidst Sam’s breaking heart.
A day from the distant past, warm and scented with the blossoms of spring, came to him as a vision. He was reclining in the shade of a newly clad oak trying to read, but Sam was bent on getting his attention.
Frodo had come to Bag End only three months before, but had easily fallen into the relative quiet and peace after his years with the Brandybucks. Here, there were books to read and time to think if one could get away from a lively, little hobbit neighbor on occasion.
The ten year old Sam was a constant wonder of dirt under his nails, and flowers and frogs in his pockets. Sam had decided that they were best friends from the moment of Frodo’s arrival, often knocking eagerly at the door to ask for him before the breakfast had even been removed from the table. And Frodo had gladly accepted the friendship of the youngster, for, though Bilbo drew him as close as his old bachelor heart would allow, he missed his cousins terribly. Sam had an endearing and yet often comic way of talking about anything and everything that gave Frodo all the distraction from loneliness that he might need. Indeed, he liked the lad very much, but at times he was just needed to be alone. After all, Frodo was a tweenager now and would soon be grown, or so he thought. His frustration over not having any time to himself had finally been solved, by a highly amused Bilbo, who had offered to teach Sam to read just to give Frodo a much longed for break.
This should have been such a time. Frodo had escaped to the woods to try and find some peace and quiet for his book, when who should appear, but his little shadow.
“I found you Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, jumping suddenly from behind a gnarled elm. “I been lookin’ everywhere for you.”
“I thought you had your lesson with Mr. Bilbo,” said Frodo, annoyed. He flicked at the tall grasses at the base of the trunk against which he was leaning.
“We finished early `cause Mr. Bilbo got some other comp’ny.” Sam skipped joyfully up to Frodo’s feet, his hands clasped firmly behind his back.
“Well I’m reading right now. Can we play later?”
But I’ve got to show you this purty flower I found,” said Sam, pulling a matted bunch of weeds with a single purple blossom from behind his back. He abruptly shoved the flower up under Frodo’s nose.
Frodo pushed it away and shook his head. “Not now, Sam,” he said angrily.
Eyes wide with surprise and hurt, Sam backed away. “I just wanted you to smell how beautiful it smells,” he said, burying his own nose in the flower and inhaling deeply.
Frodo looked back to his book, but dropped it a second later as Sam screamed. He looked up to find the small hobbit clutching at his nose and running wildly in circles, bawling loudly. Frodo leaped up and caught him by the waist. Holding him tightly, he pulled his hands down to reveal an ugly red welt rising on his nose.
“Oh! …poor Sam! A bee has stung you,” said Frodo, sitting down and sweeping him into his lap. But Sam sobbed forlornly and would not be consoled. He tried rocking the little fellow, but he really didn’t know how to comfort him. Slowly, words seemed to come to his mind, and he began to sing. Sam quieted down to listen as Frodo wiped away the tears from his dirt stained cheeks.
You saw something beautiful
That I just could not see.
I’m sorry now for all your pain,
But glad you still love me.
Dry your eyes and smile again;
Put far away this sore,
And we shall run in dreams of joy,
Best friends forever more.
And Frodo was back at the Havens. He had been singing softly to Sam, and as the vision began to drift away, he realized that the heaviness of their hearts had grown much lighter. As Sam looked at him in wide-eyed, teary amazement, Frodo knew then that he would not falter under the burden of the jewel …for, more than a burden, it was also a blessing.
“I didn’t know you remembered that day,” said Sam, catching his breath in wonder at the silvery light spilling from Frodo. The very air around them seemed to shimmer and dance with it.
“I didn’t know that I remembered it either …until just now,” said Frodo, coming slowly from the last of the dream. “It was a simple child’s song, but somehow it seems to fit, at least everything but the start of it. You are the one who knew from the beginning what dear friends we should come to be. I was not near so wise as you. But now …now I see a thing too strong to be broken by something so small as the sea.”
“Yes,” nodded Sam, wiping at the tears. “It can’t really come between us, can it?”
“No,” said Frodo, with a shake of his head, “not forever.” Then he smiled though the tears still glittered in his eyes.
And Frodo boarded the silver-white ship. As he looked out to those who sorrowed on the dock, Galadriel came to place her hand on his shoulder. “Annanto, Gift-giver, I name you, Frodo, for you give a great gift this day,” she said. “Yet now–now you perceive that you take a greater gift with you.”
Frodo turned his depthless blue eyes up to gaze at the great Lady, who was enrobed in ageless light, as of the stars. “Yes,” he said. …I see much clearer now. I know that even if I had no gem to leave with Sam, I would still take the gift of his love with me.”
“Indeed, a gift of love is all that can endure,” she said. Then she gently brushed the curls from his brow and lifted his chin to peer into his eyes and heart. “But you carry much sorrow now, so we must sing …for you …and for Sam.”
As Frodo stood at the bow, Sam saw Galadriel come to him and rest her hand upon his shoulder, and the lights of the two merged into one. Soft came their voices on the breeze and then …they were singing. He felt his sadness lessen again, and a knowing came to his heart; …it was right that Frodo leave. “Nothing has ever felt so wrong, and yet been so right,” he thought, his hand wandering to the gem at his neck. As the ship began to pull away, Frodo took his star glass from his vest pocket and they were mingled in still greater light. Sam could not turn his eyes from them. Long he stood in soundless thought, held fast by his heart.
“No, Mr. Frodo,” he said aloud at last. “It’s not just the end of the song that fits. I did see something beautiful …and it was you.” He took no care for the crystal streams sliding silently down his cheeks and falling to wet the paving stones beneath his feet. “…And I’ll love you always,” he whispered.
Then Sam pulled up the jewel that Frodo had placed at his neck, and he held it tightly, and the brokenness of his heart was eased. “We will be together again …someday,” he promised to the now small light on the horizon.
Night too shall be beautiful
And blessed and it’s fear will pass.
I must leave must leave, must cross this sea,
The love you gave is all I take with me. — Use well the Days
Thanks to all who have followed me to the end, and given me such wonderful comments. This series of stories is complete for now, though there is one other lurking in the back of my mind, about what happened to Arwen when Frodo gave away the jewel. Perhaps I will tell it someday. A special thanks to Narcalimon for the Quenya word for Gift-giver, and to my beta, Morganna.
Eyes to See tells of Frodo’s October illness.
The Chosen Path reveals more of Arwen and Frodo’s relationship and the history of the White Jewel.
A five part story, dealing with dreams and hopes and letting go, tells of the three weeks surrounding Frodo’s March illness.
To Open Every Door – Gandalf, the Unexpected Visitor
To Open Every Door – Rosie Breaks Her Silence
To Open Every Door – Sam’s Beautiful Dream
To Open Every Door – Frodo Faces the Night
To Open Every Door – Rosie’s Gift
Circle of Light is a poem which speaks to elements in all the stories.