The next morning Sam, as arranged, came to Bag End midmorning. He found Bilbo and Frodo already hard at work in the Study. He gave Frodo a big smile “Morning Mr. Frodo, how’s yer sneezing?”
Frodo flashed a quick smile in return “I’ve had worse Sam and suspect that there’ll be worse where this sniffle came from” he replied with a quick laugh and a slight cough. Sam noticed that the newest resident of Bag End looked pale and without his walking coat on looked even more slender.
“Come, come Sam” interjected Bilbo “where did we leave off last?” he said as he busied himself moving books and papers from his table to make room for his yound student.
“Ye was learning me my elf letters…ya said when I’d learned ’em all you’d tell me more tales of Rivendell” Sam answered with great enthuasism.
“yes, quite right you are Sam…sit here a moment while I go and fetch a scrap of parchment and a sturdier pen nib” Bilbo directed.
Sam sat as asked, next to Frodo. He looked over at the book Frodo was working from. “Why Mr. Frodo, that’s the book Mr. Bilbo’s been writing in” Sam said surprised that Frodo was already so far along in his lessons.
“Yes Sam” Frodo replied “I’ve been exchanging books with my Uncle for some time…you see no one at Brandy Hall had any interest in such things.” Frodo paused to cough a bit then continued with a far away look in his eyes “I lived much of my younger years in the pages of books. They brought me comfort and kept my mind off…” he paused trying to explain but finding it difficult “well off what I was missing most.” He stopped and grabbed his handkerchief and coughed again.
Sam passed him a clean handkerchief from the stack of neatly folded ones at the center of the table. As he did, their hands briefly touched and he noted how hot the young master seemed to be. “Mr. Frodo, you’re sick sir!” Sam said suddenly.
“Sick?” Frodo questioned absent mindedly “Yes, I suppose I am Sam…but ’tis not bad…and I do so prefer to be here with you and my books. You’ll not tell Bilbo will you?” he pleaded with what seemed urgency to Sam.
Sam thought it strange how this new Baggins could seem so old and yet so young at the same time. “That doen’t set right with me sir, but if it’s what you want…” Sam’s voice trailed off.
“Thanks Sam” Frodo Whispered as he clapped him on the shoulder. Just then Bilbo came back and Sam was given his task; to copy an Elvish poem and then memorize it with Frodo’s help. Frodo was to review Bilbo’s latest poem and translate the westron writing into it’s Sindarian form.
After giving his pupils their tasks for the morning, Bilbo went out to the garden to speak with the Gaffer about his new herb beds.
Frodo spent a few moments translating the Elvish poem for Sam, to help him memorize it, then set back down to start his prescribed task. His head ached and he was having some trouble focusing his mind on the poem in front of him.
The poem was about the creation of Arda and was rather well written ‘for a hobbit’ Frodo thought to himself. Frodo paused in his thoughts….’for a hobbit, by the valar what put that thought in my head?’ he wondered.
He focused on the words in front of him ‘ By the sea and stars’ he read and then wrote Ed’ i’ear ar’ elenea . He rubbed his eyes, the words on the page before him began to swim. I’ll just rest my eyes a moment he thought as he suddenly felt the room begin to sway before his eyes. He heard a voice growing in his head that sounded like the tinkling of bells. ‘Lle naa i’er . He turned to see if Sam had spoken, but Sam had his pen nib clutched tightly in his hand and was absorbed in his work.
Sam looked up and his eyes met Frodo’s ‘Clear as the blue sky they are’ he thought to himself, but he noticed them start to glaze over as he looked “Mr. Frodo?…are you alright then sir?” Sam asked.
Frodo heard Sam’s voice as if from a great distance. The musical bell like words grew in his head ‘Lle naa i’er…..Lle naa i’er ‘ growing louder ’till he could no longer hear Sam’s insistent inquiries.Frodo stood up unsteadily and covered his ears with his hands, trying with all his might to block out the voice in his head. Lle naa i’er….Lle naa i’er…Lle naa i’er ‘
The room wouldn’t stop spinning and the voices could not be stilled. As Sam watched in horror, Frodo reached his hand out to him and as he fell unconscious to the floor his hand reached instead to the books and papers on the table which fell with a great clatter.
“Frodo, Mr. Frodo” Sam Screamed and knealt by his side. Just then Bilbo and the Gaffer came running in.
“Good heavens Sam, whatever is the matter?” Bilbo asked as he entered the room. His eyes quickly took in the sight of Frodo lying huddled on the floor amidst the books and papers, his body shivering as if with great cold or fear. Bilbo knealt quickly by his side “Hamfast, go fetch Old Prody Goodfellow, the healer, quick!” Without a word the Gaffer ran from the room.
“Sam, get me a blanket from the couch…good….that’s a boy. Now let’s wrap him up” As Bilbo tucked the blankets around the shaking hobbit in front of him he gradually rolled him to his back and found himself staring into eyes that did not see him. Suddenly Frodo’s body stopped shaking and in a voice that sounded far away he said “Amin i’er “.
Bilbo felt a chill run down his spine. Frodo closed his eyes and shuddered…. he whispered plantitively ” help me Uncle” and then was still. Bilbo held his nephew’s hand and stroked his pale cheek, “I will lad, I will”. He whipered softly.
Sam, who’d been kneeling on the floor by Frodo, was of a sudden uneasy and feared for the safety of his friend. “What’s happening to ’em Mr. Bilbo….what was that Elvish piece he spoke?”
Bilbo was clearly shaken , ignoring Sam’s questions he asked hoarsely “Whatever happened Sam?”
“Well sir, we was sitting down, doing our work as ye’d asked when all of a sudden Mr. Frodo stood up and held his hands to his ears…with a funny look in his eye and then collapsed as he was reaching for me.” Sam paused a moment and continued with a guilty tone in his voice ” I knowed he wasn’t feeling perky, but I didn’t know he was so poorly or I’d not have agreed to keep it from you Mr. Bilbo…honest I wouldn’t have.”
Bilbo patted Sam’s hand “No matter Samwise, let’s just see the lad through this.” A thought occured to Bilbo “Sam, I’d ask that you not talk of this to others….I’m not sure the folks of Hobbiton would understand…I’m not sure I understand” he muttered under his breath.
Sam looked to the still form in front of him ” What did happen? Mr. Bilbo, what did he say?” he asked.
Bilbo took a deep breath, “Well Sam, I think he was spoken to by the Valar.” Sam’s face went pale. Bilbo continued ” What he said just now was ‘I am the one’ although I do not understand what he meant by it. We’ll just have to wait till he’s better to question him more, that is if he remembers” Bilbo mused.
The elderly hobbit swept a sweaty lock from his nephews pale face “where is Old Prody?” Bilbo felt Frodo’s forehead, ” he really is quite warm. Come on Sam, perhaps together we can carry him to his bed.”
Soon the Gaffer returned with Prody Goodfellow, the healer who’d worked in the service of the Baggins family for as long as any could remember.
“What have we here?” Prody said loudly ” A sick hobbit lad? already? Why Bilbo he’s only been a guest here for about a day or so…is this your notion of hopitality?” he quipped.
“Now Prody, I am worried about the lad. He collapsed and seems quite feverish…what can be done for him?”. Bilbo asked with concern in his voice.
Prody examined his patient and consulted his well worn book on healing arts for a few moments before turning back to Bilbo. “Well Bilbo, he is feverish and has a sickness of the lungs. He’ll fever and toss with chills a few days and no doubt will need some time to recover his strength…get what food and drinks you can into him and these herb infusions I’ll leave with you….but I feel there is more.”
“What ?” Bilbo asked anxiously.
The healer looked intently at the master of Bag End. “It’s what’s in his mind that weighs most heavy on him…I’m guessing that to build his strength you’ll need to give him time to go about the business of being a boy….take his mind away from the things that sadden him…or make him worry.”
Bilbo looked to his friend the healer and nodded with understanding. Pulling Sam aside while Prody set out his herbs and such, Bilbo spoke to the young hobbit “I’m going to stop the lessons Sam” seeing his young student’s crestfallen expression he continued “To help Frodo…he needs time to play and just be a lad…but I’ll bet that Frodo himself won’t be able to stop teaching you. So I am asking you for a favor…” “Just name it Mr. Bilbo, you know I’ll do all I can to help you and Mr. Frodo too” Sam said ernestly.
“You’re a steady lad Samwise, upright and full ‘o good hobbit sense. Frodo…well…he spends his time living out of books…it seems to me that you both have got something the other one wants and needs. I know that Frodo will share his stories and book tales with you, but you must share your sense of fun and the companionship of the other boys of Hobbiton. Frodo may find it difficult to make his way with the boys around here….but with your guidance he’ll find a way to form some frindships….am I right?” Bilbo asked.
If I’ve got anything to say in the matter Mr. Bilbo, he’ll be the very center of the Hobbiton lads afore you know it!” Sam said with a determined look on his good natured face.