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Multicultural Interactions  by annmarwalk

Something To Write Home About (Elanor’s Tale)

I was not the slightest bit sleepy, despite the lateness of the hour, for I had discovered that much of being a lady-in-waiting really does involve just standing and waiting. For one used to long hours spent in household tasks, or gardening, or the care of obstreperous hobbit-children, attending the Queen took little energy at all. The rain had ceased around mid-evening, and the air was cool and fresh, smelling of unfamiliar flowers. I had been watching the waxing and waning of the moon over the past few weeks; this seemed a good night to try to catch a glimpse of the sight my father had described so many times.

It was just as he had said, and more – for the White Tree did glisten, not only with moonlight and stargleam, but droplets of rain still on the leaves. The breeze off the mountainside rustled them, and the gentle pattering disturbed a flock of tiny yellow birds. They fluttered sleepily, muttering, then settled back down. The sight seemed almost magical, like something out of one of my fathers’ tales. My little sister Daisy adored those tales, her mouth always open in a perfect O as she listened, spellbound. I simply stood in the quiet, drinking in the beauty of the scene, savoring each sensation to describe later.

…until something large and solid and sweaty-smelling came hurtling out of the darkness and crashed into me, toppling me to the ground. Whatever-it-was knocked the wind out of me, but then helped me up, mumbling what seemed to be both curses and apologies.

I barely caught his name – he spoke quickly, nervously, his thoughts seeming to dash madly from one thing to another. He reminded me instantly of my younger brother Pippin, who Da always says could talk the legs off of a frog. But then I realized what name the young man had mumbled, and who he was: the son of Prince Faramir, whom Da had always spoken of with such awe. “Actions speak louder than words, my girl, and that Lord Faramir had his quality shining through from the very start, in just the way he treated poor strangers, wayfarers in his land.” And now this gangly boy stood in front of me showing the nobility and quality of his house even as he tried to stuff the ridiculous cap, with its sodden feather, down over his tangled hair.

I could barely keep from laughing, but it would not do for either of us to surrender our dignity altogether. “I accept your apology, my lord, and thank you for your care. I was lost in thought, or would not have barred your path.” He twitched his nose, seeming to stifle a little choked laugh. I asked him how he came to be running so, and he asked me how I came to be standing so, and eventually we came around to the subject of our fathers. I was surprised that this young man knew so much about mine – his interest in green growing things, flowers and trees, and how he traveled all through the Shire sharing the knowledge he had learned in these mysterious lands.

The boy smiled broadly when I mentioned that his mother had invited me to tea, though there seemed to be an odd flicker of distress to his face afterward. We only had another brief moment to speak, for the Watchman had finally approached us, reminding Elboron of his curfew, to the boy’s chagrin, and tactfully offering to escort me to the Palace. As we walked, though, I heard the Watchman chuckle. I looked up – it seemed I spent most all of my time craning my head upwards, and blessed my mother for sending a jar of peppermint-scented muscle balm - and he winked broadly at me. “Quite a boy, that Elboron,” he murmured. “He’ll run us all ragged, before he’s done. But a good friend for you to have, miss.” I smiled back, already imagining the tale I would have to tell in my letter tonight.

2007 MEFA Award Winner First Place in Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor

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