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A Day of Fun
“Run, Pippin!” Merry was looking over his shoulder, holding up the rear to make sure his younger cousin made it to the waiting wagon. Merry heard the old Tutor yelling something unintelligible out the window as he ran, however, it became too difficult to hear the words as they put distance between them and the Smials.
Pippin pulled out all the stops, running as fast as his legs could carry him and nearly stumbling in the effort. “Stop!” He yelled, seeing the wagon start to roll forward.
He heard his cousins yelling from the back of the wagon, “Come on, Pippin! You can make it!”
Pippin met up with the tail end of the wagon and was nearly successful in lifting himself up but was already too weak from sprinting all the way across the meadow. Merry was right behind him and shoved him the rest of the way into the vehicle as the other cousins pulled him up. Merry was next to be hauled up into the wagon. Pippin and Merry lay on their backs gasping for air as their friends and cousins laughed and carried on.
Ferdibrand laughed, “I thought that old hobbit was going to jump out the window and come running after you the way he was shouting!”
Fredegar held onto the reins as he looked into the back of the wagon, ensuring all occupants were inside. Once everyone was safely inside, he flicked the reins, spurring the ponies into a good pace.
Merry held his sides while catching his breath, “I thought...you were going...to make a run for it...from the window.”
Pippin, too, was heavily winded, “I was wondering...why you came running...towards the gardens!” His curls clung to his sweaty forehead. “I was...going to sneak...out of the window...until I opened it...and saw the drop.”
“Did you see it?” Merry’s breathing slowed down a bit. He held onto the top button of his shirt and flapped it in and out to cool himself, “I almost broke my foot last autumn...jumping out of that window.”
After a few minutes Pippin slowly sat up, “Merry, how did you get old Breddo out of the study? I know you bribed Degger to give him a note.”
Merry had also sat up, sitting between Pippin and Ferdibrand, “I wrote on the note that your dad wanted to see him in his office--immediately.”
Pimpernel hooted a laugh, “Now you’re both really going to get it when we get home!”
“His uncle can’t touch him,” said Ferdibrand. “He’s staying with Frodo in Hobbiton.”
“Oh, Ferdie,” Merry let out a long breath, “I’m only visiting my cousin Frodo in Hobbiton. You don’t know just how far my uncle’s arm can reach! And I not only get it from him, I get it from my mother when I get back to Brandy Hall, too!” He chuckled, “She reads aloud all the letters my Uncle Paladin sends her--the ones where he just happens to include my misbehavior, and then she tells me I’m to remain in my room for a day.”
“Merry absolutely hates being indoors,” Pippin chimed in. He glanced around the wagon, “Did anyone remember to pack my bag for me?” He looked at his sisters.
“Of course not,” Pervinca jested. “Whom do you take us for--your personal serving maids?”
Pimpernel tossed a leather rucksack at him, “Just remember to use the comb we packed!”
“There’s nothing wrong with my hair,“ he replied, opening the bag and looking inside. Satisfied all he was going to need for the day was in his pack, he looked up at his sister, “Thanks, Pim.”
Fredegar spoke over his shoulder, “So how does it feel to be a teen, Pip?”
“It feels grand!” Pippin loved the fact he was now a part of an elite group. A faction of young hobbits known for their charm, angst, cheek, and having a heart of gold. “But..,” he rubbed his stomach, “I’m hungry.”
Merry shook his head, “You’re always hungry, Pip.”
Pippin gave his favorite cousin a look of surprise, “and you’re not?”
“My father doesn’t have to farm in order to keep me fed!” Of course, Merry was only joking with his young cousin.
“No, Uncle Saradoc has all of Buckland doing that for him!”
“All right, lads!“ Everard pointed towards a pile of large baskets next to him, “don’t panic--lunch is sitting right there.”
A wide smile formed on Pippin’s face, “This day is getting better and better!”
Pervinca watched her brother‘s excitement grow, “We all know how much you like picnics, Pip. We’ve planned to stop at Wildebury Glen to have a picnic out in the sunshine.”
* * *
The rest of the ride to Wildebury Glen was filled with chatter and much laugher. They sat around the fire pit roasting meats...and a little bit of Pippin.
“Oy! You should’ve seen him,” Fredegar laughed. “He fell into the mud pool near the old pond and was covered from head to toe in muck!” He gasped for air as laughed harder, “and all he wanted was the apple on the tree branch!”
Pippin smirked as the story was told, “and it was a very delicious apple, too!”
“I can top that one,” Everard said. “How about the time we were throwing rocks at a target we drew on a boulder?” Merry smiled at this recollection. Everard continued on, “We threw all our supply of rocks and then Merry called for a break as he went to go gather them up. Pippin didn’t hear him call for a break and hit Merry right on the bum with a good-sized rock!”
Merry joined in the laughter, “I had a nasty bruise on my backside for three weeks!”
“I’ve got a good Pippin story,” Pervinca smiled. “When he and I were younger, I think he was about ten. One time we went scavenging in the kitchen for a snack when we spied Pim making cookies. After the cookies cooled, she’d put them in the cookie jar.” Pervinca began laughing, “Well, Pippin had this grand idea, so we went lurking next door in the wash room, and when she put the cookies in the jar, we’d wait for her to leave the room. Pippin would run in, steal the cookie jar, and by the time Pim came back we had the jar back in its place and the cookies eaten!” Pim’s mouth was gaping. Pervinca went on between her laughter, “Poor Pim! She finally caught on after the third batch!”
“I knew who was stealing them, I just couldn’t prove it!“ The tween shook her head, “and Pearl accused me of eating them all--Pippin.”
“What?” Pippin feigned innocence, “I was merely testing your exquisite baking skills.”
Merry laughed as he threw a handful of leaves at his cousin. “Pippin, your eyes ought to be brown instead of green!”
As the laughing died down and things grew quiet, the snapping and crackling of the burning wood began to echo around the trees.
“The afternoon is getting away. Shall we go on to the pool?” Fredegar moved to start cleaning up around the area. The rest of the group followed and soon they were back on the road headed towards Bywater.
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