Borin carried the elf child into his house and laid her on the couch where she would be safe while he found something suitable for so young a child to eat.
Being a solitary dwarf, save for his wife, he kept several animals for food. Chickens, goats, and for the moment a pig. He went into the goat’s shed and took down a pail. This part was easy. He had milked goats for most of his adult life. The problem was how to get the milk into the child.
He soon had a full pail of goats milk. Now to try and feed it to the baby. He walked in and awkwardly cradled the baby in one arm and took a bowl of milk in the other. He placed it to her face and did a wonderful job of getting her clothes soaked and drenching her face in milk. Kis stared at him with enormous eyes for a moment and began to cry.
The Dwarf bounced her and patted her back for a moment and she calmed down. Then he sat down to think. There had to be an easier way to do this. There had to be a way to feed her without drowning her in the process. He could not nurse her. That much was plain. He had no way of finding a wet nurse. There had to be some way to make a bottle of some sort.
He rubbed his temples for a moment and then he jumped up snapping his fingers. Then he set the child on the couch and went back out to the goat shed. There he found himself a small square of clean leather and an old wine bottle. Then he took the kettle from over the fire and washed the wine bottle out and filled it with the warm goats milk.
Next he took the leather and poked a circle of holes in it with a needle and fastened it over the neck of the bottle and went back over to the baby. Kis lay there staring up at him with those heart melting eyes and gave a soft coo. A smile tugged at the dwarf’s lips and he gathered her up again. He gently placed the bottle neck into the elf’s mouth and went over to the rocker that he had made for his wife when they had learned of her condition. In a deep rumbling bass voice he began to sing to his child in Dwarvish.
Kis suckled and slowly drifted to sleep listening to the sound of Borin’s voice. Within a half an hour the bottle was empty. He gently patted her back and she yawned and laid her head on his shoulder.
Kis sat in the yard in front of the cottage and played with her pet goat kid. It was a gray and white four month old female. She held her in her lap and laughed as the kid tried to eat her dark curls. The kid bleated and the elf child laughed again.
Borin watched her from the window that overlooked the yard. Warm delight seeped through his being. Only on thing had marred the past five years for the old dwarf. The fear that the elves might come looking for the missing child and her father. He doubted that he could bear it if she was taken from him.
He sighed and pushed that thought to the back of his mind. Then he looked up at the sound of approaching hoof beats. Fear entered his heart.
Kis looked up as the sound approached. Father had told her what to do if she ever heard that sound. She lept up with the goat kid in her arms and ran for the woods. Then she found a large razzberry bush and hid behind it. The goat bleated in confusion. Kis shivered and hid her face in its side. She didn’t know what that sound was, but she knew something terrible would happen if she was discovered.
Borin looked out and sighed with relief. Kis had disappeared, taking her pet with her of course. He watched as the tall, proud, somewhat shaggy horse came trotting into the yard. A weather beaten ranger dismounted and strode to the door. Borin got up, wiping his hands and smiling. He knew this particular ranger very well. Arathorn, chief of the Rangers of the North. Other wise known as the Dunadain.
“Welcome, Arathorn! It has been too long, my friend!”
“Greetings Borin. It is good to see you again! Where is wife, my friend? Last I knew she was expecting a child.” The Ranger smiled down at the Dwarf, expecting him to proudly produce his offspring.
Borin’s face fell and he sighed heavily. “It is a long tale, Arathorn. Please, go inside, I have something to take care of. I will return in a moment.”
Arathorn looked worriedly at his friend and nodded. He had to stoop to enter the cabin door.
Borin went in to the woods and called softly, ” Kis! Kis! Come here child!” He had to depend on her to show herself, as an elf she was an expert in keeping herself out of sight. Her hearing was about ten times as keen as Borin’s and her sight was just as sharp.
Kis crawled out from under a razzberry bush with leaves in her hair and her fingers stained with razzberry juice. She had the little goat kid under her arm. He smiled and gently pulled her out and shook the leaves out of her curls.
“Now Kis, I am going to introduce you to some one. He is a friend. There is no need to be frightened.” She nodded and tucked her hand into his.
Borin walked up to the door his heart pounding. There was no telling what Arathorn might do, but he didn’t think he would take the child from him. She would be unhappy, even among her own kind if he did. He was doing this for Kis’ sake. Arathorn was the one person that he could show her to. Maybe he would know who her father was. Not that he intended to tell her how he had found her yet, but she might appreciate the information when she was older.
On the other hand, Arathorn might decide that she would be better off among her own kind. He might take her to Rivendell. Then Borin might never see his child again. She was his. He stood a moment in indecision. Should he tell Kis to go back to her hiding place in the razzberry bush, or should he show her to his friend?
He chewed his lip. Arathorn was a good man, he wouldn’t take the child away. Not if she truly wanted to stay. He looked into Kis large, dark, starry blue eyes and pushed the door open.
“Arathorn, I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Kis.”
The man looked up startled. He had expected to see a stunted, frizzy haired, stout Dwarf. Instead he saw a small, curly haired, willowy, fair faced elven child cradling a gray goat and staring at him with large blue eyes almost too big for her face. His jaw dropped.
“I see there is a tale behind this,” he said. “Perhaps Kis would like to go and play in the yard while we talk, my friend.”
Kis nodded and went outside to play with the goats again and soon the sound of clear, slivery laughter came from the yard.
Borin brought out a mug of beer for his friend and one for himself. Then he plunked himself down on a chair accrossed the table.
“All right, Borin, what happened. No matter what you say, that was no Dwarf. I have seen Elf children in the past.”
Borin swallowed and took a gulp of his beer. ” So you noticed. I thought you would”
“It was rather hard not to. How did you get her? I hope you did not steal her.”
Borin looked up, mildly offended. “No, of course not. I would not do such a thing. I found her. Under a pile of pine branches.”
Arathorn raised his eyebrow, ” Pine branches? What in Arda was she doing there?”
“I assume her father put her there when the Orcs began to attack.”
“Orcs? What are they doing out of the Misty Mountains?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. He was fighting them when I came. We slew all of them, as far as I could tell. But he was slain in the process.”
“When was this?”
“About five years ago. I never learned his name. I built a cairn over him and his weapons and when I was about to leave I heard her crying. I brought her home and I have cared for her since.”
“What has become of your wife? I have not seen Kis since I came. She was expecting a child when I last was here.”
Borin face clouded over, “She died in child birth, the same night I found my child. My daughter died a few minutes later. I named the Elf child after her. She is my daughter. I will teach her all I know.”
Arathorn looked shocked, then sad, “I am sorry. I did not know.”
They sat in silence for a few moments then Arathorn spoke again, ” But Borin, she is not a Dwarf. She is an Elf and you cannot keep it from her forever. She will have the instincts and reflexes of her kind. She is an Elf. She should have an Elven name.”
“She is my child. I do not care what her background is. She will learn to be a Dwarf. She is strong. I will not keep it from her forever, but for the time being, there is no need for her to know. You will not take her from me will you?”
“No, it is not my place, Borin, but the Elves will, more than likely, if they find her here.”
“They won’t find her. Not until she is old enough to tell them she doesn’t want to go with them. Now, what has kept you away so long my friend?”
“I have a wife and son now,” he said, not without a goodly measure of pride in his voice. “His name is Aragorn, after my grandfather.”