Peeping around a large tree Frodo’s blue eyes shone and sparkled with merriment. He had lost Robin. Poor Robin Bracegirdle had been desperately trying to win a game of tag over the infamous Frodo Brandybuck. Very few people called him by his real last name: Frodo Baggins, the Orphaned Child.
Frodo laughed softly to himself, being very pleased with his successful activity he named, “Trying-to-make-Robin-run” game. This one game had been very successful.
Young Frodo turned and ran further into the woods till he came to his favorite tree. He stood there, looking up into it’s heavy boughs and it’s mighty, ancient trunk. He lovingly touched it, running his small, delicate fingers over it’s rough grey bark. He jumped up to the nearest limb and swung on it for a while before pulling himself up onto it. He sat with his back to the tree, closed his eyes, and listened to the mysterious sounds of the forest: The wind blowing through the boughs, leaves swishing, trees singing. Now that he was alone he could relax.
Frodo loved the forest. In here he felt safe, relaxed, and not bothered with the noise and clamor as it was at Brandy Hall.
Frodo began to examine himself. His pant leg was ripped, his once clean and white shirt was dirty, grass-stained, and torn in two places. A button was missing. Frodo smiled gleefully. He thought of what Violet, his nurse, would think of him…
“Ooh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear, dear!” Violet exclaimed, putting a shaking hand over her mouth. “Frodo, my child…what have you done? Played with the pigs?”
Frodo stood in the middle of his room, dirty hands in his pockets, filthy shirt, ripped breeches. An ashamed and embarrassed look was planted on Frodo’s smudged face. A huge, but rather forced tear fell down his face and dropped onto his little feet. Violet gave in to this unknown fluke and hugged Frodo tightly. “Oh, you poor child. I had no right to scold you,” she kissed his cheeks. Frodo’s face scrunched up in a disgusted frown. He was not a child anymore. He was well close to his tweens. He was weary of being treated like a young hobbit child.
“After all, after your parent’s died in that boating accident -,” Violet began, she clapped a hand over her mouth. She had said to much. Frodo stared at her. She had never said anything about his long-passed parents except once. Frodo had run away and showed up a morning later with Farmer Maggot dragging him in dirty, crying, and shouting so that it caused his nurse to feel faint.
Frodo did not like being treated differently than the other lads his age. He often found himself longing to be scolded, punished, and even whipped sometimes like his other friends were when they misbehaved. But not poor Frodo. He had been spoiled. He often and every time got away with whatever he wanted, and was never scolded. His friends envied him, but Frodo envied his friends more, but he never said so.
After his bath, Frodo went to bed, his head whirling with thoughts.
“Tomorrow is the Mid Summer party,” he said softly to himself, “And I wonder if Rory will let me go.” But then he laughed. No one and nobody could keep him from going to one of the biggest events in the history of Hobbiton, Buckland, and all the Four Farthings. He would’ve snuck out the window if he had to (which he had done many times).
Frodo rolled over onto his side and looked out the window across the room. The moon slithered in through the shutters and cast a very thin silvery line across the floor. Frodo suddenly threw off his covers and jumped out of his warm bed and walked to the window. He looked through the crack in the shutters and glanced up at the moon.
She’s very bright tonight, Frodo thought. And She did. Frodo pulled the shutters wide open and a fresh, cool breeze met his face and ruffled his dark hair. The moon gazed down on him shone off his icy blue eyes, making them glitter and twinkle even more than usual. Frodo closed his eyes and breathed deeply the fresh air. For a moment all his hostility and spoiled pride disappeared, and the moon washed him in a pure, clean light and the wind blew away all the wrights that whirled around him and clung to his soul. Frodo felt strangely older and more responsible.
Frodo soon quickly realized he was leaning very far out the window. He stumbled backward and fell to the hard floor, missing the soft carpet with a thud. A light came on across the hallway. Frodo scrambled to his feet, and silently closed the window, jumped back into bed by the time Violet walked into his room. She was holding a low burning candle, and her night cap was knocked sideways. She glanced at Frodo then at the window, and assuming he was sleeping, she drearly stumbled back to bed.
Frodo rolled over, glaring at the door. He forgot the feel of the breeze on his face and the silvery light of the moon. It had all disappeared, and when he tried to remember it, he couldn’t. So, very tired and very frustrated, Frodo rolled over and finally drifted back to sleep, not knowing what would become of him in the morning…
“But I have to go! All of my other friends are going!” Frodo shouted, banging his fist on the desk. Rory Brandybuck looked at Frodo, his frown unchanging. He had never been this firm with the boy, and for an instant impulse he nearly gave in to Frodo’s demands, but he stood firmly.
“No, Frodo, not after yesterday. Master Maggot came by early this morning and told me all about yesterday morning.”
Frodo’s red-flushed face suddenly turned white. He very slowly sat down in the chair beside the table.
Frodo had been asked as soon as he woke up to visit Rory in his study, and he sleepily stumbled down to meet the old Hobbit, but got an unexpected and very unpleasant morning greeting. Frodo was furious, but now all of his anger was washed away with dread. How could’ve Maggot tattled on me?Frodo thought with discuss.
“B-but this is the most important event of the year, besides the Winter Feast here at Brandy Hall,” Frodo pathetically protested. But Rory went on.
“My boy, this is the price to be paid for stealing and plundering the Maggot’s crops and fields. You cannot go for that reason…” Rory said, pausing to glance at Frodo. Frodo’s face was ashen as he stared across the table at nothing, his words spinning around in his head. Rory had always been ever so kind and caring towards Frodo, but now he seemed a whole different hobbit. For an instant, Frodo hated him. Such an incredible malice brewed inside Frodo’s usually kind heart that it was all he could do to keeping himself from rushing out of the room cursing Rory’s name.
“Now,” Rory finished, “Go upstairs and prepare for breakfast. Instead of making merry and casting pranks on people, today you will help in the stables. It is time that you started learning some responsibility.”
Frodo numbly nodded and stood. Before he disappeared out the door, he cast a deadly glance at Rory, but Rory had his back turned.
Frodo ran down the hall and pounded up the stairs. He was far to angry to cry as he slammed the door to his room and pulled on some old clothes. As he made his way to the stable, he heard snickers and laughter behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw some lads pointing and laughing at him. Frodo’s ears turned red as he marched on to the stables.
Joyful whinnies reached his ears as he walked into the well kept and beautiful stables. The ponies were hungry, and they hung their heavy but elegant heads over their doors. Frodo tried to ignore their playful nips and large, liquid brown eyes. Frodo stopped at the end of the barn and picked up a wheel-burrow and pushed it into one of the stalls, then furiously began picking up the dirty bedding and flinging it into the burrow. Frodo whipped sweat from his forehead, making a dirty brown smear on his rosy cheeks .
Frodo glanced up at the pony who’s stall he was cleaning, then gasped. It was not quite a pony, for it’s withers reached far above Frodo’s brown head. The animal was a brilliant grey with a long mane and flowing tail. Rippling muscles bulged out from under it’s silky coat. Frodo reached out to touch the animal, who turned it’s head around and whiffed Frodo’s hair; making it stand on end. Frodo laughed quietly. He touched the pony’s soft black nose with his two fingers. The beast’s eyes were like none Frodo had ever seen before: So intelligent, so large and, Frodo thought, they seemed to know what he was thinking. Frodo suddenly remembered his conversation with Rory, and quickly frowned, taking his eyes off the beautiful animal and began to finish his work.
His job was strangely pleasant, though, with the magnificent animal at his side, every now and then turning away from his food and sending long, warm breaths into Frodo’s cheek. Giggling, Frodo playfully pushed it’s head away. When he had finished the grey pony’s stall, Frodo turned one last time to look at the incredible animal. He was looking at him intently, almost as if he was thinking. Frodo wondered as he wheeled the cart out of the barn, where the beast came from, who did he belong to, and why was he here?
Suddenly, a sharp and painful blow hit Frodo on the back, and he toppled over into the grass, just only inches away from a pile of animal waste. Painfully pulling himself onto his elbows, Frodo looked over his shoulder. Standing there a few yards away, laughing and pointing, was Tom Brandybuck. Tom was one of the few large and mean tweens in Brandy Hall. His other friends flanked him, laughing at Frodo as well.
Frodo’s face flushed an incredible red as he examined the back of his shirt. It was covered in dry waste where the boys had thrown it. Scrambling to his feet, Frodo angrily brushed the dirt off his shirt, his eyes never leaving the bullies in front of him.
“So, you’re finally pulling your own weight around here, are you, Baggins?” Tom asked, a smug look on his round face. His other pals laughed and mimicked their leader. Frodo took a step closer to Tom, his fists curling together. Tom and his friends were much larger and rounder then Frodo, and obviously stronger. But Frodo was small a slick, and could pack a wallop on one if he had to. But he was not the fighting type.
“Common, then, what’sa matter, Baggins, to afraid to fight?” Tom said, pushing a large finger into Frodo’s chest, chasing the air out of his lungs. Frodo staggered backwards, coughing. He desperately looked around for an adult, but there were none around the back of the stables. He had to face this fight alone. Looking up into Tom’s smug and round face, Frodo met his eyes with a piercing stare. For a moment, Tom and his fools backed up, amazed a shocked at this weakling’s cool, icy stare. But then, with a grunt, Tom pulled his fist back a let it go in Frodo’s stomach. All the air rushed out of him, and Frodo fell to his knees, clutching his stomach and gasping to breath. The ground began to swirl and his vision blurred, but he hung on. As he desperately began to stand, the bullies gasped with amazement at this little hobbit’s will. When Frodo was at standing level, his face began to flush with immense fury. Without thinking, he swung his fist into Tom’s fat face with an incredible force. For a moment Tom stood there, stunned, until he spat out two teeth and fell to the ground, sobbing like a little child.
Frodo was just as stunned. He stood with his fist still in the air, amazed at the damage his small fist had done to the huge bully. Tom’s pals began to retreat, running away from Frodo as if he was a ferocious predator.
Frodo’s breaths came in short gasps, then he suddenly turned and ran. Not knowing where to run, he ran into the woods, away from Brandy Hall. He ran for quite a while before he collapsed in a glade with a beautiful spring running through it. He was winded, and sat there for awhile to regain his breath. A
fter a few minutes, he crawled to the spring and began to splash himself with the cool and refreshing water. He winched when the water streamed over his hand. Looking down, his knuckles were bloody and split where he had punched Tom in the mouth. He gritted his teeth as he plunged his hand into the icy water, and tears sprang up into his eyes. He quickly drew a hand over his eyes, feeling foolish. He drew his hand out of the water. He sat back into the long grass, listening to the trickle of the spring.
He caught himself laying back into the grass. He was exhausted, so he finally gave in and closed his eyes, slowly falling to sleep by the sound of the birds in the boughs and the sound of water.
By the time he woke, the sun was setting, and the birds had quieted. Suddenly Frodo jumped to his feet, and began to run back through the woods to Brandy Hall. He had to get dressed for the Mid Summer festival. And he was going.