Rosemary, daughter of Adalgrim Took, was playing with her younger brother and sister while her two older sisters and parents were at the marketplace. She was 20 years old. Paladin was 15, and Esmeralda was 12. They were playing a game called Stones in which they had to hit targets with stones from a certain distance.
Right then it was Rosemary’s turn. Paladin and she were tied with 10 points each. Esmeralda had 8 points. Rosemary aimed very carefully, remembering how much it would cost her if she missed– a whole game perhaps! Her thoughts were disturbed when her brother yelled, “Come on, Rosie, we don’t have all day!” She threw the stone. She missed. Then it was Esmeralda’s turn. She scored. It was Paladin’s turn then. Rosemary yelled, “Careful Pal, Meri’s gonna catch you!” Paladin missed, and the game went downhill for Paladin and Rosemary from there.
Esmeralda won with 22 points, while Paladin and Rosemary were still tied at 10. Esmeralda said, “Well, you both lost, so you both have to do one task that I give you, as we agreed.” At this reminder, Pal and Rosie both groaned loudly. Ignoring this, Meri continued, “Pal, I want you to clean my room. Rosie, you will weed the garden for me. Thank you very much!” With a large smile on her face, Esmeralda walked away.
It took her 3 hours, but she was finally done. Rosemary stood back and looked at the garden. There were no weeds to be seen. She surveyed herself and realized how desperately she needed a bath.
“Meri, I’m finished! Come and see!” she called to her sister.
Rosemary’s parents and older sisters, Primrose and Ellarose, had just gotten home. They had gotten gifts for each of the children. Paladin had gotten a box of chocolate, Esmeralda got a bracelet and a necklace, and Rosemary had gotten a book about Elves because she was so interested in that subject. Rosemary wondered if she would ever meet an Elf. She decided she would find a way someday. Cousin Bilbo knows a lot about Elves. He went on a journey about 8 years ago, didn’t he? I’ll go talk to him. Soon.
The next week, Rosemary convinced her mom to let her go see Bilbo. He was, after all, her 2nd cousin. It took a lot of convincing because of his oddities, but, in the end, Rosemary was allowed to go.
She had always liked Bag End because it was a very comfortable and pretty place. She knocked on the shiny, beautiful, green door. Too bad I live so far away, she thought. She had to walk all day just to get there.
“Who is it?” Rosemary heard Bilbo ask. “Bilbo, it’s me, Rosemary, your 2nd cousin!” She hoped he would remember her.
“Come in,” Bilbo replied. He shut the door and led her into a large room. There was a great view of the garden on the left-hand side, and many passages were branching off of the long hallway nearby. Bilbo motioned for Rosemary to take a seat as he sat in a chair not too far away.
“Hello Cousin Bilbo!” Rosemary said. “I’ve come to ask you about Elves. Have you seen Elves in your travels?”
“Yes; in fact, I have. I–“
“Where were they? Where did you see them?” Rosemary interrupted, forgetting her manners in her excitement. After all, she was only just into her tweens.
“I saw Elves in Rivendell, my dear. I went to Rivendell after my meeting with the trolls.”
“What are Elves like?” asked Rosemary.
“Well, in Rivendell there were many Elves. There was plenty of singing, story-telling, sleep, work, and food there. The Lord of Rivendell was Elrond, who was fair and noble like an Elf, strong like a warrior, as wise as a wizard, kind as Summer, and as venerable as a king of Dwarves.
“On my journey, as well, I met Elves. In fact, the Dwarves were all imprisoned by King Thranduil of Mirkwood, an Elven-king, but I wasn’t. I managed to sneak in, you know, and free the Dwarves. During the Battle, the same Elves who had imprisoned the Dwarves were allied with us. The Elves were very deadly fighters and their spears and swords shone with a chill flame because of the Elves great hatred for their foes. Even with the Elves help, we were losing steadily. Then the Eagles and Beorn came and we won. Still, it was a very bitter battle, with great losses on both sides.
“At our parting, I gave the Elven-king a necklace of silver and pearls. Then he named me Elf-friend. Afterwards, I returned to Rivendell. The Elves were very merry, and I had an enjoyable time there. After staying for a week I left. One day I think I will return to Rivendell again.”
“Oh, I would love to see Elves myself! Where is Rivendell?”
“It is in a valley at the beginning of the Misty Mountains. To get to it, you have to follow a path marked with white stones.”
“I would like to go there someday, Cousin Bilbo. Would the Elves let me in?”
“I’m sure they would let you in if you found it. If you look hard enough you will find it. If you really want to, I’m sure you’ll see Elves one day.”
“Thanks, Bilbo! I’ve got to go because I promised Mom I wouldn’t stay long. It’s a long way back, you know. I hope I can see you soon. I don’t know why Mom thinks you’re queer; I think you’re very nice. Bye!” With that, Rosemary left. She ran all the way home. It was exactly 9:00 when she got back: her curfew.
I just barely made it, she thought.