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Title: Pippin's Patent Remedies
“What are you hiding there, Gimli?” he asked.
“I’m not hiding anything,” was the gruff answer. “I just put something away for safe-keeping, something I would not want to lose.”
“It’s the Lady Galadriel’s gift, isn’t it?” Pippin inquired. “I’ve seen you look at it before when you thought nobody was watching.”
“Have you been spying on me, young Hobbit?” Gimli asked while making a half-hearted grab for Pippin’s shirt.
“No, I haven’t,” Pippin answered, springing backwards and avoiding Gimli’s hand. “I just saw it by accident. I didn’t even tell Merry about it.”
Pippin plopped down on the stone bench next to Gimli and looked at him. “You look sad,” he observed. “But I know just the thing to heal your aching heart!”
“I’m not sure I want to know,” Gimli said. “Do you really think you can help me?”
“Oh yes!” Pippin said eagerly. “When I was still a lad I was very sad that Lily had to go and my sisters taught me a remedy for my broken heart. I still remember the whole procedure!” he concluded proudly.
“It doesn’t involve eating or drinking something really horrible, does it?” Gimli looked worried.
“It does involve drinking something, that's all,” Pippin said. “But it does take some special work to prepare.”
”You need to hand pick the following ingredients," Pippin started to count off on his fingers,
"Five Buttercup heads, three leaves of Selfheal, that's for the minty flavour."
"Is that because it tastes really bad?" Gimli frowned.
"No, because it will tasty minty, that's why you put the Selfheal in, of course." Pippin sighed in exasperation at Gimli's obvious lack of herblore. "Then you need a head of Rose-bay Willowherb – that's the tall pink flower over there." Pippin pointed to a large clump of the tall plants.
"That's not a flower," Gimli snorted, "It's a weed!"
"Don't let Sam hear you say that," Pippin retorted indignantly. "Merry said that once and Sam said nothing with the name of Rose in it could be a weed."
"Still," Gimli looked doubtful, "are you certain it's not poisonous?"
"Gimli!" Pippin looked shocked "Are you questioning my plant identification knowledge?"
"Yes," Gimli nodded gravely.
"Well don't!" Pippin sniffed a little and continued, "six flowers of Touch-me-not Balsam,"
"Just a moment," Gimli interrupted again, "Why is it called that? There must be a good reason."
"Oh that?" Pippin smiled at Gimli's concern, "They're not dangerous, it's just that the seed pods tend to burst when you touch them. You can call it Jewelweed if it makes you feel better, although then you'll be worrying about it being a weed again."
"All right," Gimli conceded, "Balsam sounds all right, what else?"
"Well of course you'll need Heartsease, because that's what it's for." Pippin thought this one was so obvious it did not need mentioning.
"Heartsease? Wild violet?" Gimli wrinkled his nose. "Bit of a lasses' flower that one, I mean… Oh never mind. Is that it then?"
"No," Pippin shook his head, "You also need ten fresh, and I do mean really fresh, nettles. The stinging sort, those white dead nettles won't do."
"Why not," Gimli frowned, "They look almost the same."
"No, you need really tall strong nettles with lots of sting in them." Pippin nodded gravely, "and you must take hold of them firmly with the whole of your hand – it's called 'grasping the nettle' – that's what my sisters told me – and it's all part of the healing process."
"Well it all sounds a bit unnecessary to me," Gimli growled, "and I have to pick them all myself – do I?"
"Oh yes!" Pippin confirmed enthusiastically, "but I can come and supervise, just to make sure you're getting the right plants and that you don't cheat on the nettles."
"Hmph!" Gimli snorted, "Are you sure this works?
"That's it Gimli!" Pippin called encouragingly, "You've nearly got it. Careful now, don't…" Pippin's warning was cut short as the dwarf overstretched in his attempt to reach the Selfheal growing on a ledge on a sharp rocky incline, "Whoops… um…oh dear! Are you all right Gimli? Gimli?"
The dwarf decided that he had almost had enough and that perhaps the broken heart was preferable to the cure. Already he had tumbled down this particular route three times and this was after the acute embarrassment of having to ask Legolas to excuse him as he needed to reach behind him to pick the delicate wild violets that were the only ones he could find. He was sure that the elf had not believed his protestation that they were for medicinal purposes and, the strange look that had greeted him when he refused the elf's assistance in picking the blooms, did not do much to alleviate the suspicious and perplexed looks that Legolas was obviously trying to suppress.
Pippin nimbly skittered down the rockface, using hands, feet and bottom to maintain a graceful balance. "Come on Gimli," he grabbed hold of the dwarf's arm and tugged, hoping that he was pulling in the right direction as he could not actually see which end of Gimli was which at the moment. He seemed to be a tangle of arms, legs, armour, red hair and chain mail, "up you get. You'll have to try again."
Gimli sighed and extricated himself from the hobbit's helpful grasp and pushed up onto his feet with difficulty. "It's too tricky Peregrin, I can't balance and pick the flowers at the same time."
"Well you'll have to improvise," Pippin demanded, "you do want your broken heart mended I take it? Well then."
Gimli sighed and clambered back up to the top of the incline, that he had already fallen down three times and, gritting his teeth, drew his axe from his belt and slammed it into the side of the rock so hard that it made handhold. Using his new support he managed to reach down and grasp the elusive plant.
"Well done!" Pippin clapped his hands in delight at the dwarf's achievement. "Now I've spotted some Touch-me-not – it's over there on that little island in the middle of the lake!"
Even as Gimli pulled himself back up with his prize he groaned, "and I suppose I have to swim out there, do I?"
"Well you could build a boat," Pippin suggested helpfully, "but it might be quicker to swim. I would do it for you Gimli, but then the charm wouldn't work. But I can hold your helmet and chain mail if you like."
It was probably unfortunate that nobody passed by, because much mirth and joy might have been had from the sight of a very small hobbit, clad in very heavy armour, wearing an overlarge helmet, shouting encouragement to a not very buoyant dwarf who was spluttering and splashing his way through the water with six yellow flowers held firmly in his mouth.
"What's next?" Gimli took the flowers from his mouth and set them on the ground by the other ingredients and twisted the tail of his linen undershirt to squeeze the water from it. "I should think it's just the nettles left now."
"Um yes," Pippin took the helmet off and started to peel the chain mail from his arms. "I've found some really good ones for you Gimli. Oh and I'm afraid you're not allowed to cheat and use dock leaves afterwards either. You have to really feel it – that's what helps it to work – so my sisters said."
Gimli had never actually been foolish enough, even in his youth, to pick a nettle with his bare hands, but how bad could it be? He had fought with orcs and trolls and received many a dire wound in battle, a mere plant held no fear for him.
"Yewch! Ow! Ow! Yiy – Ooh! Son of Sauron! Pippin you didn't tell me… Yow!" Gimli shook his hand about as if he would detach it from his arm. "That is – I've never felt anything like…"
"Oh stop fussing," Pippin caught hold of the injured hand and examined the palm. "Hmm that's the fastest I've ever seen a nettle rash come on." The offending area was red with angry white bumps covering most of the dwarf's palm and fingers. "Perhaps you're allergic or something. Oh well – it should make the remedy even better. Come on now, just another nine to go."
“And finally we need something that belonged to Galadriel.” Pippin said. “Why don’t you give me one of those hairs.”
Gimli stared at Pippin, fuming and putting a protecting hand on the pocket in which he had put the hairs earlier.
“Or we can use something else,” Pippin said tentatively. “I know! Our cloaks are made by Galadriel and her maidens. We could use a thread from your cloak. Um, “Pippin concluded, “my cloak.”
"Hmm!" Gimli was still blowing onto his swollen, stinging palms. "This had better work, so don't get it wrong now."
“Of course I won't," Pippin put on his wounded face, "This is my sisters' best remedy and they should know, because they've had lots of broken hearts – or so they told me."
"I should like to meet your sisters." Gimli said with a grimace, "especially if this doesn't work."
"It'll work, trust me." Pippin put on his business face again, "Now you have to stir the mixture four times, while saying this rhyme,” he instructed.
“Thread of cloak
Dutifully Gimli recited the incantation with each stir, feeling more than a little foolish, but he had come this far, so he might as well see the process through, and it would be good to relieve the ache in his heart.
The charm complete and the mixture cooled, Pippin strained the resultant liquid into a goblet and handed it to the dwarf, "Down in one now Gimli, and when it is drunk place the cup on your head to show it's all gone and say,
"Woe be gone
Gimli quaffed and then recited the verse as instructed. Then he stood, his hand on his heart as if waiting for a miracle to occur.
"How do you feel?" Pippin asked at length.
"About the same," Gimli admitted. "No different really."
"That's odd," Pippin frowned, "Perhaps I missed something."
“What item of Lily's did you use?” Gimli asked. "Was it something she owned?"
"Well kind of," Pippin scrunched up his eyes as if in deep thought, “I used salted pork.”
“Salted, salted pork,” Gimli sputtered. “What does that have to do with a lass?
“Oh, but Lily wasn’t a lass at all,” Pippin answered, “she was my favourite pig and I was devastated when I found out she was slaughtered for a feast.”
"What!" Gimli spluttered, "Pippin how can you be talking about a pig! My heart is aching for the Lady of the Golden Realm – it's hardly the same!"
"Oh I was very fond of her," Pippin said indignantly, "My heart was quite broken in two. That's why I used some of her meat in my remedy. Pearl, that's my sister, said it would work a treat – and it did!"
"Well I can hardly put a piece of the Lady Galadriel in the brew!" Gimli pointed out, "Apart from anything else, she still lives."
"Ah yes!" Pippin's face suddenly lit up, "That's where I went wrong! You have to use one of those hairs, Gimli! It has to be a part of her."
"But…but I'm not… that is I don't want…" Gimli could hardly form the words at the thought of all he had been through for Pippin's remedy.
"No, don't worry Gimli," Pippin said cheerfully, "It will work next time, you just have to pick all the herbs and flowers again and then use one of the hairs from the Lady."
"No Pippin," Gimli shook his head firmly, "You are very kind, but I really think my broken heart is less painful than your cures. Thanks all the same."
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