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Watch the Clouds Go Sailing By
Chapter 7: Faramir and Pippin’s Fight
"Are you sure we’re going the right way?" sighed Goldi, as she, Faramir and Pippin trudged through the close trees of the Woody End. They all had leaves and brambles stuck to their clothing and tangled in their curls.
"Of course, I do!" replied Faramir, while he struggled with a rather stubborn tangle of weeds. "When have I ever been wrong?"
"Well…" said Pippin. "There was the time…"
"Figure of speech, Pippin! I didn’t need you to answer! Anyway…I think that we are nearly through the woods. I can’t be too far now."
Faramir, Goldi and Pippin had been travelling for most of the day, stopping only when Pippin complained that he was starving, or that his feet were hurting, or that it was too hot.
Goldi was pleased that there had been no more violent outbursts from Pippin towards Faramir. However, when she was not looking, Pippin gazed on Faramir coldly. He was beginning to doubt Goldi’s opinion of her relationship with Faramir, or at least, suspect that Faramir’s opinion was quite different. Pippin had noticed several things on that day. Faramir seemed slightly too eager to help Goldi: taking her hand if she needed balance, grabbing her at the waist if she stumbled. Pippin had also caught him staring at Goldi on a number of occasions. But while Goldi was around, Pippin could do nothing about it. She had obviously been upset when he had kicked the young Took, and Pippin didn’t want to upset her again. He would have to wait.
He did not have to wait long. When they were almost at the far edge of the woods (or, so Faramir assured them), Goldi realised that she had left her water flask at a small brook, which they had passed a little while earlier. She made her two companions stop and wait, while she ran off to retrieve it.
Pippin now needed little more proof of Faramir’s feelings towards Goldi, for as she ran back, he stared after her, with an almost dreamlike look on his face. Pippin scowled.
"Stop that," he said.
Faramir, roused from his daydream, looked at his friend. "Stop what?"
"You know what I mean. Stop looking at my sister like that!"
"Pippin, calm down. Goldi and I are just fri…"
Pippin did not let Faramir finish his sentence. He grabbed the younger (but larger) hobbit by his collar, and pushed him against a tree. "Now, you listen to me, friend. For now you are just friends, but I know that you want it to be more. You love my sister, don’t you?"
Faramir looked at his feet. In a small voice, he answered: "Yes."
Many emotions welled up inside of Pippin. Rage that a hobbit could dare to feel such affection for Goldilocks. Happiness that Goldi may find the joy that Elanor had. Envy that two of his best friends had something that he was left out of. These were just a few, and there were too many for his small mind to grasp. So he did the only thing he could think of. He pounded his fist into Faramir’s gut.
Faramir winced in pain, wondering why Pippin had reacted so. But he had little time to wonder, for Pippin was ready to strike again. He ducked just in time, so that Pippin’s hand just missed his face, and slammed into the tree. Pippin snarled, and charged at Faramir. He tackled the young Took to the ground, and they wrestled viciously. This proved an awkward ‘game’, since they both still had their packs on the backs.
Pippin pinned Faramir to the ground, but the younger and stronger hobbit head-butted him, and rolled over so that he was on top and had the upper hand. And so this continued, with Pippin and Faramir trading places as to whom was pinning down whom. They began rolling, tearing up the forest floor as they did. Too late, they realised that they had come to a sharp incline. They teetered on the edge for a moment, before they tumbled down with a cry and landed at the bottom.
Goldi, who had come running back as fast as she could when she heard raised voices, saw them as they went over the edge. She called out, then quickly ran after them, careful not to lose her own balance and tumble down with them.
When she reached Faramir and Pippin, they were still bickering, pulling at each other’s hair. Goldi grabbed each of them in one of her hands, and pulled them apart. "Pippin Gamgee! Faramir Took! Just what is going on here?"
Faramir scowled at Pippin. Pippin scowled back, but said only: "Faramir did something that made me angry."
"Well, that’s hardly a reason for you to start a fight with him! What did he do to cause such a violent reaction from you?"
But Pippin refused to answer. He did not wish for Goldi to know of Faramir’s feelings, lest she would return them. Faramir also remained silent, glowering at his so-called ‘friend’.
Suddenly, in the midst of a terrible brooding silence, Pippin spotted something more desirable to a hobbit than any peace pipe. He and Faramir had landed at the base of a tale oak, and beside them several mushrooms were growing. His eyes became large and greedy. Faramir looked at the mushrooms and almost started salivating. Even Goldi’s stomach, when she smelt the aroma on the breeze, growled with a sudden hunger, but she kept her wits. She slapped Pippin’s hand before he was able to grab at one of the mushrooms (the largest, at that).
"Pippin!" she said. "We do not know where we are! Those mushrooms might belong to someone."
Faramir had by this stage, stood up, and he was looking eastward, and slightly north. "I know where we are. And those mushrooms do belong to someone."
As if to back up Faramir’s words, the harsh barking of dogs was suddenly heard. Pippin froze, for he was gravely afraid of dogs. Very soon, the barking became loud, and quite close, and a hobbit with two dogs suddenly appeared from behind a small hillock.
"You there!" he cried. "What are you doing? This is private property! You’re tresspassin’, that’s what you’re doin’!"
Faramir subtly moved close to Goldi, and whispered one word to her: "Maggot."
Goldi nodded, showing that she understood. She curtsied, and seeing that this hobbit was still quite young, she smiled sweetly. "I’m very sorry…Farmer Maggot, was it?"
The hobbit stopped, and blushing, bowed to Goldi, paying little or no heed to her companions. The dogs, however, had Pippin and Faramir trapped, right up next to the oak. They growled viciously if either hobbit moved.
"Well, hello there, Miss," said the hobbit. "Maggot’s my name, rightly, but I ain’t the Farmer, if you know what I mean. That title, and all o’ this land, belongs to me ol’ Dad. But once he’s gone, it will be mine, with me being his oldest son. I’m Harold Maggot, but mostly I’m called Harry. Just as a matter o’ interest, how’d you know my name was Maggot?"
"Our father’s once took a…short cut through these fields," answered Goldi. "You’re father helped them in their quest."
"Father?" Harry gave a little laugh. "I think you mean grandfather. I know what you’re talking about, and that was at a time when my grandfather was the Farmer Maggot. He’s long dead, and my Dad is now the boss. So, can I take it, your names are Gamgee, Took or Baggins?"
"That’s right. I’m Goldilocks Gamgee, but you can call me Goldi. This is my brother Pippin, and our friend Faramir Took." Pippin smiled weakly and Faramir gave a little wave, both anxiously eyeing the dogs.
Harry realised how terrified Pippin and Faramir looked. He let out a shrill whistled, and called out: "Foxtrot, Claw! Back here! Leave them poor hobbits alone."
The two dogs immediately stopped growling, and plodded to their master. Pippin and Faramir both sighed in relief.
"Now, uh, Miss Goldi, if you and your two companions would like to, I’m sure it would be no problem at all for you to come back to the Farm House for dinner. We love having extra guests, and I’m sure my Dad would like to see you, seeing as he was there when your Dads came through. What do you say?" Harry gave Goldi his best charming smile.
Goldi tried very hard not to laugh, especially when she saw the looks on Faramir and Pippin’s faces. They were both glaring at Harry, Pippin, with over-protectiveness of his sister and Faramir with…jealousy? Goldi was shocked, but there was no doubting that Faramir was jealous of the way Harry was looking at her. Goldi smiled to herself. You have nothing to worry about, Faramir Took. You aren’t the only one who wants us to be more than friends.
Aloud, she accepted Harry’s offer. A meal indoors and a bit of beer for Pippin and Faramir was just what they needed after their hard day. Harry led them to the Farm House. Pippin and Faramir lagged behind a little, still stiff and aching from their fight. Goldi took the opportunity to increase Faramir’s jealousy by talking to Harry. She loved watching Faramir squirm. It was payback time for everything mean he had ever done to her.
As the sun was setting, the four hobbits and two dogs came to what appeared to be a shrine. Not far away there were two graves, side by side, but directly in front of the hobbits were three small crosses labelled Grip, Fang and Wolf.
Harry stopped. "These crosses are for my grandfather’s best dogs. Grip, Fang and Wolf. Never has there been, or will there be again, such great animals on this farm. Claw and Foxtrot here are descended from Grip, and some of the other dogs in the house are from Fang – Wolf never sired any pups." He pointed to the graves, for the path did not go past them. "There lays my grandfather and grandmother. Both of them always wanted to be a part of the farm."
Harry seemed to wave slightly to the graves in farewell, then started back down the path silently. Goldi, Faramir and Pippin followed him, but not before noticing, in the remaining light, that about Maggot’s grave, the mushrooms were large and plentiful. And no one would ever take one. The tombstones at the graves, labelled simply Maggot and The Missus, frowned over the mushrooms, threatening to attack anyone who dared to touch them.
Even in death, Farmer Maggot protected his crops.
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