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"If You Could See What I Hear..."
"A Wee Adventure"
Children born of faerie stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their heart’s desire…
From “I’d Love to be a Faerie’s Child”
“How far have we walked, do you think?” Pippin asked the piggy on his shoulder. For once Tulip had no opinion and he puzzled over her silence.
The youngster peered up at the sky, shading his eyes with one hand and reaching up with the other to grab Tulip’s hoof and keep her balanced. The sun was far to the west now. “It must be later than I thought,” he murmured tilting his head to one side and listening intently. “What’s that you say? I went too far? Farther than I’m supposed to?” He grinned at Tulip’s mild scolding. “Now you sound just like Mum. Don’t worry, we’ll start home now.”
Pippin turned around in a broad circle. Which way was home? Suddenly nothing looked familiar to him. It was quite obvious he was no longer on the farm; of this he was certain. “Just how did that happen?” Pippin scratched his head, his sense of puzzlement increasing. The trees were different here; the path narrowed sharply ahead of him and the light was dim.
“Where in thunder am I?" He took several hesitant steps in the opposite direction but still it didn’t feel quite right. Pausing he thought hard and studied the sun’s position in the sky recalling what his father had taught him. It had been high overhead and settling behind him when he left home. He needed to walk in the opposite direction and he would be sure to find his way back. Pippin turned and trained his eyes on the sun. It seemed very far away now and he realized with alarm that the time was much later than he’d thought. A sense of uneasiness prickled at the back of his neck and Tulip chided him for his lack of attention to his whereabouts.
“I know, I know,” he agreed. “What’s that?” He leaned his ear closer to her crooked mouth and listened to her chattering. Pippin sighed. “Yes, it will be getting dark before very long and yes I realize we’ve missed tea and possibly dinner as well!” He shook his head in irritation. “I certainly don’t need to be reminded. My stomach is growling as we speak. I didn’t bring nearly enough food to tide us over.” He grinned when Tulip agreed with him heartily.
“Well, let’s get going then.” He turned and walked in what felt like the correct direction but after a short while he noticed the woods growing thick around him. The young hobbit stopped walking abruptly. A gentle whispering drifted to his ears and he tilted his head to one side attempting to understand the words. The voice was pleasant-sounding and was the same he’d heard that morning while seated in the crab apple tree and the day before while he’d helped Pervinca gather the eggs. Pippin spun in a circle eager to locate the source. Tulip tumbled from his shoulder and landed in a clump of wildflowers that grew beneath the trees. The piglet shrieked her dismay at her young master and Pippin quickly dropped to his knees and gathered her up in his arms. “Shhh,” he soothed his friend as she chattered and scolded, “You’re all right.” He sprang to his feet and perched her on his right shoulder, then studied their surroundings intently.
The sweet voice seemed to have faded into the distance. Eager to locate it again Pippin abandoned thoughts of hurrying home in favour of his new pursuit. He trotted further into the woods and the trees soon became quite dense as he travelled. He hushed the piglet’s tiny voice of concern and patted her little knitted snout as he tucked her into his shirt. “Just a wee bit longer and then we’ll start home,” he reassured her. Tulip refused to believe him and quivered anxiously in her hiding place but said no more.
Pippin set off down the dimly lit path in search of the musical voice. He grinned when he heard singing in the far distance. The sweet voice seemed to be calling him. Without any fear he picked up his pace and journeyed towards the mysterious yet alluring siren song in the far trees.
It was much darker now. The engaging voice always seemed to stay ahead of him no matter how quickly he hurried. Pippin halted next to a stream and knelt to have a drink and splash some of the cool water on his face. As he leaned over, his piggy tumbled out of his shirt and landed in the water. He reached for her just as the gentle current stole her away and she began floating downstream. Knitted squeals of extreme distress met his ears in a heartbeat.
“Oh no!” Pippin hopped into the water and splashed his way after his friend. He winced at the sound of Tulip’s cries. “I’m coming, hang on lass!” Picking up his pace the youngster hurried as fast as he could across the slippery stones. Catching up with her at last he reached out to snatch her up as she lodged by an ear on a tree branch sticking out of the water. He promptly lost his footing on the slick rocks and fell on his back with a huge splatter. Pippin scrambled to his feet but Tulip had already become dislodged and continued floating down the stream.
“I’m coming!” The dripping wet lad continued on, determined to save his Tulip. He reached for her again and she eluded him once more, this time being whisked around the bend in the stream where the water ran swifter. “No! Tulip - come back!” The lad struggled but as the water became deeper it also ran much faster. Soon he was forced to climb out. Refusing to give in to his tears Pippin tore off down the water’s edge trying to catch sight of his piggy along the way. His efforts carried him still deeper into an unknown place and he failed to take the time to notice the darkening sky.
An hour later Pippin scooped his friend out of the water at last. Lying on his belly on the edge of the heavily running stream he reached down into the tangle of weeds and fished the sightseeing Tulip out of her prison of greenery. Rolling over onto his back he clutched the soggy piglet close to his heart and lay panting with relief. Looking up, Pippin slowly came to the realization that night had fallen some time during his exploits. He sat up immediately with a hiss of dismay and looked about. He hadn’t the foggiest notion where he was or quite how he’d managed to get there. Thankfully it was a warm summer night but the cold water still chilled him here beneath the ever-darkening tree cover. He thought ruefully of the unfairness of ending up with yet another bath, however this one had been a bit more fun than the first two!
Climbing to his feet he gently squeezed some of the water off Tulip and grinned at her reproachful complaints. He held her up to eye level and apologized sincerely. “I’m very sorry Tulip! Please forgive me for dropping you.” His grin widened as the petulant piggy graciously accepted his regrets.
The call of a night owl startled him. Pippin turned his attention to the woods surrounding them and his smile faded. He was well and truly lost. There was nothing he could think of save to keep travelling and hope to find some familiar landmarks along the way. The sweet notes of a song drew his attention back towards the path he had strayed from. His heart lightening just a little he headed for it.
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