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To Tell a Tale  by Lindelea

LEGOLAS’ TALE, contributed by Dreamflower

Somehow this chapter did not get added to the Tale, I don't know why. In a happy coincidence, alert reader KathyG told Dreamflower that this little story had not been posted with the rest, and about the same time Dreamflower mentioned it to me, I had revisited this story and found myself longing for more tales -- why, I don't think we've had Faramir tell of some childish prank, or some shared heroic adventure with his brother Boromir, yet, for just one example; or Prince Imrahil coming to do his part; or one (or both) of the Twins telling of Elessar's youthful days; or perhaps one of the Rohirrim, at Merry's behest, to talk about early days with Éomer; or Bergil, or Beregond or one of the other guards of the Citadel.

It seems an especially appropriate time to post this story, with the final installment of The Hobbit due to hit cinemas next week.

If you leave feedback to the chapter, I will ask Dreamflower to provide a response.

Anyhow, here we are, with another chapter to add to the tale! Anyone else want to play the game?

in which Legolas remembers mysterious happenings

Pippin was now being encouraged to sit up for a little while, which was nice enough after lying in bed. But it came at a price: he had to let the healers rub his back and force him to cough. Of course, it was better than what they had done in the Shire when he‘d been sick--pound him on the back to make him cough. He had asked Strider about that and he had told Pippin that they were using gentler methods due to the recent injuries to his ribs. Then he had rubbed just so in a certain spot on Pippin’s back, and he had coughed so hard he saw stars.

Today it was one of the other healers. Strider was busy being King Elessar this morning. He had been told that Frodo was not having a very good day, either, and that Sam was with him. Pippin was worried about Frodo, and this being stuck in bed was no help in cheering his cousin up. And Merry was on duty standing watch over King Théoden’s bier. That meant that either Legolas or Gimli or perhaps both of them would come to sit with him. Not likely Gandalf, though he did come sit with him from time to time. Frodo had made it quite clear to the healers that he did not hold with the customs of Men when it came to leaving the sick alone and unattended by family or friends (although that was only in regards to Pippin--Frodo would just deny he was sick if he wanted to be alone. And he was stubborn enough for it to work on anyone but Sam.)

The healer gave his back one final gentle rub, and when the cough it produced was not very hard, she nodded. “I think we have most of the fluids out, at least for today. Now you need to sit up for at least an hour.”

Pippin nodded wearily. Coughing was hard work, and his ribs hurt anyway, but it was pleasant to be allowed out of the bed, to go and sit by the window in the small chair that had been found for him. He suspected it had come from some child’s nursery.

She helped him into his dressing gown, and watched him sit down, and then turned to leave and allow his visitor to come in.

It was Legolas, and Pippin gave the Elf a welcoming grin.

Legolas gave an answering smile, and instead of pulling the larger chair over, he sat down on the floor next to Pippin and drew his long legs up tailor-fashion.

“It is good to see you out of the bed, Pippin.”

“It’s good to be out of the bed. I could do without all that infernal coughing though.”

Legolas nodded sympathetically. “Do you wish me to sing to you this morning?”

Pippin thought for a moment. “Perhaps before you leave. But I think I am more in the mood for a tale--nearly everyone has told me one save you.”

Legolas laughed, and Pippin’s heart lifted, as it always did to the sound of Elven laughter. “What sort of tale would you have of me then?”

“I was curious about something. Did you ever meet Bilbo when he came through your father’s kingdom on his Adventure?”

The Elf’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “I was not introduced to Master Bilbo Baggins until sometime had passed after the Battle of Five Armies. But as to whether I met him before then…well, I shall tell you a tale, and let you be the judge…

“My father was furious at the interruption to one of our feasts--not just once, but repeatedly in one night. Perhaps if he had not been so angry, he would not have left the Dwarves asleep in the dark after their last attempt to, as he thought it, waylay, our people at their merriment. For I assure you it was not his habit to leave people to the mercy of the spiders--still he was very angry.

He had taken old Thorin captive, and as the answers he was receiving, or should I say, not receiving, did not suit him, he sent orders for the remainder of the intruders to be captured. He was determined to find out what was going on, and also, as I said, he was not accustomed to leaving travelers in danger however unwelcome they might be.

Well, of course as Bilbo has often told, soon they were all captive, and most surly and uncooperative captives they were.

Once we had taken them, though, I thought about them little. I was often away leading patrols, and protecting my father’s kingdom.

I came home after about three days, at one point, and found the whole court abuzz about mysterious happenings. Food and wine seemed to vanish inexplicably. If we had any children there, it would have seemed to be merely childish pranks, but I was the youngest Elf in Mirkwood. It had been long since my father’s people had brought children into the world…”

“Why is that?” asked Pippin sadly, remembering Treebeard’s sad tale of the Entwives.

Legolas shrugged. “Most felt that the Wood was too dangerous for children, and were waiting, I suppose for better times. It is different for Elves than for mortals, you know. We do not need a child to carry our memory forward, and only have children when we are certain that they will be loved and safe.”

“But how could you ever be certain?” asked Pippin. “I mean, even Elves should know that there is always some kind of danger around. It’s a wonder you have children at all.”

The Elf gave the hobbit a bemused look. The young Took was often wiser than expected from one of his youth, and frequently showed flashes of insight that were surprising. “You are right, of course, but in those years it seemed wisdom to many.”

He shifted slightly, and carried on with the tale.

“Not having been there when these things had happened, I tended to dismiss it as silly talk. I thought perhaps that some had absent mindedly mislaid things, and then, as folk of all kinds will often do, sought to lay blame on others.

Of course, sometimes others are to blame, yet this seemed highly unlikely.

The second time I came home, I heard more of these tales. I began to think that some of the court had simply lost their wits. Talk of ghosts is not taken seriously by most Elves, and my father was getting peeved at some of these rumors and tales.

That evening, I decided that I wanted to have a late night snack. I came down to one of the kitchens. I poured myself a goblet of wine, and then went to the pantry to see what I could find. I came out with some bread, some ham, a hard sausage, and some fruit. I picked up my goblet, and noticed that it was only half-full. I was puzzled, but decided I had not poured it full after all. I sliced some of the ham and sausage, and tore off an end of the bread, and put on my plate. Then I bethought me that some cheese would be good, so I went back into the pantry to get one. When I returned, I noticed that there were not so many slices of meat as I had thought. I felt a disturbance in the air.

‘Who’s there?’ I said, and then laughed as I saw the kitchen cat, dashing under the table. It stopped, turned, and hissed at nothing, before shooting out the door. Well, of course, I thought then that I had found the thief, and was much relieved at this prosaic explanation. Obviously the cat had made off with some of the meat I had sliced. And so I thought for a good long time.

But after I learned of Master Baggins, and his ring of invisibility, I have quite changed my mind over what happened, and absolved the poor cat of all blame.

So, then, Pippin, do you think I had a meeting with Master Baggins?”

Pippin laughed. “I’m quite sure that you did, Legolas! I should have liked to see your face!”

“I am sure that I looked very confused at first.”

Pippin sighed then, and looked a bit serious. “Legolas, why couldn’t the Ring have been what Bilbo thought it was, just a useful trinket? Why did it have to be the Ring? And how was it that Bilbo used it so much and so long without it claiming him?”

Legolas shook his head. “I am sure that Bilbo took so little harm from the Ring because It was mostly asleep when he possessed it, and too, he had no idea that it was more than he thought it. It never occurred to him to gain power through it. He simply used it to help his friends and to hide. There was no greed or ambition there to wake the Ring up.”

“I suppose,” Pippin said thoughtfully. “A ring of invisibility would be rather useful at times, but I certainly would not want one now.” He sighed and then smiled. “So, would you sing me that song now?”

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