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The Gift

By Emerald

 

It was a sunny spring morning in the Shire, the birds were singing, there were people laughing on the streets, children running on the green fields. And to such lovely day awoke Frodo Baggings, ready for his breakfast.

On his way to the kitchen he met his older cousin Bilbo, all dressed up to leave on a minor journey.

“See you in four or five days, Frodo! This year you will be 20! So our party must be extra special! I’ll bring the finest cookers and entertainers you can think of! Wait and see!”

Frodo stood watching Bilbo check twice his jacket pocket, an odd and old costume of his, one that Frodo never questioned about.

“Good bye my dear Frodo! Take care of the castle on my absence! Mr. Gamgee will be here to help you in case you need something.”

“I’ll be fine Bilbo! I can handle things, not a child anymore!” He accompanied the older hobbit to the front door. “Don’t worry dear cousin!”

“Ack! I almost forgot! Mr. Gamgee asked if I could look after his youngest son today! He should spend the day here!! Ham and his wife must pay a visit to a sickened friend!” Bilbo rubbed his hand across his forehead trying to find a quick solution to this small problem. “I forgot about it…how embarrassing!”

“I’ll stay with him Bilbo! Sam is a sweet kid. Don’t fret about it. I have a light day ahead anyway! Go and good luck!”

Leaning on the wall while Bilbo went down the road on his pony, Frodo noticed the tiny and lonely boy, dressed in a light yellow jumper, walking his way to Bag End. It was Samwise and he was caring a small box in his hands.

Frodo waved to the kid and welcomed him ruffling his hair. Glad as he was to see the boy and have the day with him, he smiled broadly and invited Sam for breakfast.

“Would you like some…aachoww!” He sneezed and scratched his itching nose. “Sorry! Would you like some tea, Sam?” Frodo asked the petit and composed figure sit by his side. The Gaffer had thought him good manners at the table and now Sam wanted to impress the teenager.

“And some cheese! And some cake too, Mr. Frodo!!” As polite as he could be, Sam could not hide his love for sweets, measuring with his hands the size of his piece of cake. Big it was!

They were eating and chatting; Sam explaining how his mommy made him promise to behave while they were out,and how he was not expecting to stay with Frodo only! The seven year old could barely contain his glee for being with Mr. Frodo the whole day! The young master hobbit had a cool bedroom, filled with nice and curious objects, and some fun toys too! And he allowed Sam to play with them as long as he was careful: some of those toys were gifts from Frodo’s parents.

After his third slice of apple pie, which was devoured in seconds to the amusement of his older friend, Sam started to clean up the table, following his mother’s orders to help.

“Sam! Wha…achoooowwww! Achowww! Achooow!!” *Where this came from? I was fine this morning!* As his sneezes ceased and he took a breath, he caught the little one by the arm, setting aside the cups and plates his small hands were holding.

“Are you cold Mr. Frodo?” Sam asked as another round of sneezes came.

“No Sam. I’m fine. I think it’s something in the air. But don’t be scared! Why don’t you go to my room and play a little while I see what I can do with all these dishes and cups? Go ther…achoww! Go!!” Frodo gave Sam a gentle shove on his back, guiding him out of the kitchen area.

“Ah! Sam! Don’t forget your little paper box!” As Frodo picked up the said object that lay by his side on the bench, he was struck with a merciless fit of sneezes and coughs! This was so weird…he was not feeling bad as if he had the flu, or something like that.

Sam gazed at him with a sad look. If Mr. Frodo was ill they would not play together, nor Mr. Frodo would be able to tell him stories about the Elves! Less would he appreciate the gift Sam had brought to him for his near birthday.

In Sam’s eyes Mr. Frodo was the brightest, funniest, prettiest hobbit from the entire Shire. He was his beloved idol and Sam wished he could be like him when he grow up.

The little hobbit gave a deep, frustrated sigh and, instead of playing with toys, he went to the garden to look and study his father’s work. Maybe someday he would do the same good work… With his fingertips he reverently touched the petals of the blooming flowers. He knew which ones were Frodo’s favorites and quietly murmured, demanding of them to keep growing beautiful to his master.

Standing on his tiptoes Sam looked through the kitchen window and cried out loud: “Mr. Frodo! Can I pick up just one flower, sir? Can I?”

Frodo coming closer to the window looked down at the expectant round face. His hazel eyes were scintillating by the sunlight. “Of course! As many as you want! What do you want they for, anyway?” But the last part of Frodo’s answer was never heard as Sam vanished from his sights. Frodo laughed at the kid’s antics. He was always in a hurry!

As soon as he finished his work, Frodo went out to check on Sam, see if he was all right or needing something. He spotted the boy under a large tree, talking to his box and rolling a bluish flower between his fingers.

Feeling much better now that the sneezes had stopped, Frodo joined the youngster under the welcome tree shadow. Sam was elevated as he saw his master and friend by his side and looking fine!

“So Sam… What do you…aachow! Grrr… I thought this curse had gone!” Frodo’s anger made Sam gasp softly. “Sorry Sam! But these sneezes are awful. Aachow!!”

“I know sir.” Sam’s head lowered and he kept silent for a long moment. Frodo’s tender hand caressed his hair and face, lifting it to look at him. For a second he had the impression to see a tear dropping from the hidden face.

“What is it Sam? Why ar…achoww! Why are you so sad?” Frodo’s voice reached the little one easily with its sweetness and sincere caring. Sam sobbed broken hearted.

“It’s…it…is my…my gift to you sir!!” Sam’s tears run down his cheeks freely. “I have no… no…gift to…to you, Mr. Frodo!” By now the poor child could not manage to sob and speak at the same time.

Frodo embraced the kid, trying to comfort him the best way he could, wiping away the burning tears and rocking the small hobbit back and forth. ”Oh Sam…it’s ok! Don’t cry.” He felt Sam’s chest heaving, gulping down the tears and sobs. “Calm down. We are…achoww! We are friends right?”

“Right…fr..friends.” Sam nodded.

“And what greatest gift could you give me besides your…aaachoww! Besides your friendship?”

At Frodo’s last words Sam’s tears poured down all over again. * Oh dear… What have I done? *, thought the older hobbit. By this time, Frodo could do nothing but hold tight the desolated child and wait till the outburst passed.

As soon as Sam calmed down, he picked up his box, bringing it closer to Frodo and thus starting the greatest series of sneezes and coughs ever saw! “See what I mean? This was my gift to you…” Then Sam opened the box lid letting a very young baby chicken exposed to the morning sun and fresh air. “See, you can not breathe with her close to you!”

“Sam! A chicken! Poor little thin…aaaaaachoww!! How long have you kept it there?” He was sneezing and almost crying. Damn! He was allergic to the creature! Sam’s first gift to him!! What a mess!

“Not too long Mr. Frodo! Just put it here this morning. And I’ve made holes in the box. Look!” Sam’s face was still teary, crushing Frodo’s soul. “I’m sorry sir… Now, can I give you this? I know it’s one of your favorites.” Sam extended to his master the little flower he was fingering earlier.

“Oh Sam…Thank you! And I loved the baby chicken! It is not her that is making me sneeze! I am sure it…aachoww! It is due to the spring time! I loved your gifts!” And as Frodo held the tiny animal in his hands, his eyes watered in a violent allergic reaction, but he kept his smile on, and forbid any cough to come out of his mouth or any sniffle from his nose.

Sam’s face beamed with happiness and satisfaction. “You mean you like my gift?”

Controlling himself to not let his façade go away, Frodo grinned as broadly as he could while holding back a cough. “I love it Sam! It’s so cute! I really like her. And the flower is very pretty”.

“Fine! Then could you give her to me? I mean, the chicken! Mommy said I could not keep her, unless it was a gift! And it is my gift to you sir! A gift!!” Sam had a triumphant smile plastered on his lips.

Frodo’s eyes widened and his mouth hanged opened till it reached the floor. Shaking his head helplessly he was now struck by a fit of laughter, followed by Sam’s own.

“OH SAM!!”

*******

The end

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