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Wee Ones  by cathleen

"Of Snow, and Warm Woolies"

“Oh mercy! That is just so adorable, Pearl!” Eglantine reached for the tiny bit of wool, a smile lighting up her face.

“I thought it was perfect for the occasion. Do you think he’ll like it?”

Eglantine held the miniature scarf up to examine it more closely. It was fashioned to look just like Pippin’s own, favourite one. “You certainly have done an excellent job, my dear. My, but this tiny stitching is flawless.”

“Thank you, Mum. I just wanted to make something special for what seems to have become his most treasured possession. Now that cold weather is here, and seeing how Tulip seems to accompany him everywhere he goes. We wouldn’t want her to get cold.”

“Why don’t you make her a wee hat to go with it?”

Pearl laughed. “Why that’s sounds like a splendid idea! Perhaps I’ll even knit her a set of mittens too.” That notion set both of them to giggling. Pimpernel joined them just then wanting to know what all the merriment was about. Eglantine held out the little scarf for her daughter’s inspection. Pimpernel lifted one eyebrow and then joined them in peals of laughter.

“Tulip?” she asked.

“Of course.” Pearl took the scarf from her mother and showed it to her sister.

Pimpernel turned it over in her hands, lovingly stroking the soft wool, the familiar pattern bringing a smile to her face. “This is precious. However did you think of it?”

Pearl’s eyes twinkled. “You know the way Pippin is always going about talking to his stuffed piglet. Well, I shamelessly listened in the other day and ‘twas all I could do to keep from laughing aloud at the lively exchange they were having. Pippin was fussing over Tulip after they had come in from playing and promised her he would see to it that she got her very own set of woolens before any snow fell.”

Pimpernel laughed. “Yes, I’ve heard him hold any number of interesting conversations with his little friend. I adore the way he’ll hold her up to his ear and pretend she’s talking to him.”

“I remember when I made the mistake of calling his toy a ‘he’ and he swiftly corrected me – ‘Tulip is a lass piglet’, he said, and rolled his eyes as if I were the most daft person he had ever spoken to!” Pearl chuckled helplessly at the memory. “And then he turned and stalked away with Tulip perched on his shoulder while he whispered in her ear, and made like she was listening to everything he told her.”

“He’s been doing that ever since the first day I gave her to him.” Eglantine shook her head in fond memory. “I never dreamed he would become so attached to his knitted friend. I was only trying to keep him quiet whilst he was ill the last time, so I set him to working on knitting a little blanket for Vinca’s doll.”

“Ah, yes, that’s right. Aunt Esmie taught him how to knit the last time he visited Brandy Hall. That’s when we were all down sick with the fever,” Nell said. “Poor Mum, trying to tend to three of us at once.”

“Aye, and I didn’t need another sick child. So your da took him to stay at the Hall until you all recovered. I was certainly amazed that Esmie had been able to get him to sit still long enough to pick up the basics of knitting.” She winked at her daughters. “Not to mention thrilled that he had found a new, quiet pastime, that he very much enjoyed.”

She touched the scarf thoughtfully before Pimpernel passed it back to her sister. “I seemed to fashion that piglet without even thinking about what I was doing. It really was odd, now that I think about it.” She shrugged. “Well now, my lass. When are you going to give it to him?”

Pearl wrinkled her brow as she tilted her head in thought. “I think,” she replied slowly, “after I make the matching hat and mittens.” They shared their laughter once more.

“And perhaps a frock, as well dear?” Eglantine wanted to know.

Pearl grinned mischievously. “Perhaps. One never knows.”


Pippin lurked in the barn secretly, peeking carefully through the slats in the stall where one of the cows stood placidly, allowing Tomias to milk her. He giggled into his mitten before shaking his head at Tulip to keep her quiet. “Shhh,” he admonished. “Or he’ll hear us.” Mischievous green eyes twinkled at the thought of playing a little prank on Tom. That was, as soon as he thought up a suitable one. Pippin backed away stealthily, and then glanced around the barn, deep in deliberation. Tulip reminded him that he wasn’t allowed to play in the big barn when no one was around to keep an eye on him. She wanted to go inside now, anyway. After all, they’d been out for well over an hour. Wasn’t it time to think about something hot to drink, and perhaps a nap? Pippin rolled his eyes and chose to ignore her advice.

Tulip drew back underneath his scarf with a shiver and snuggled into the wool. Pippin patted her absent-mindedly, still deep in his plans for Tomias. His breath was visible in the chill air and a cool breeze blew through the barn as someone opened the big door up front. Pippin crept forward and looked around, then pulled back into hiding quickly when he heard voices. They faded away as the farmhands walked in the opposite direction. Young Tom rose and picked up the pail of milk, heading out of the barn. “Oh well.” Pippin shrugged and looked about for a new scheme.

“Hmm.” He peered up into the rafters far above his head, “perhaps we should climb up into the loft and--” Pippin was startled by the soft kick Tulip landed on his ear. “Ow! What did you do that for?”  He rubbed his ear indignantly, frowning at his friend. The knitted piglet sighed and shook her head in consternation, then whispered in her lad’s ear. Pippin’s eyes widened. “What? I thought you liked the loft?”

Pippin listened while Tulip presented her argument. “Well…I suppose you’re right. It will be even colder up there. And, as much as I hate to admit it, hot tea and biscuits do sound wonderful.” Pippin lifted her from his shoulder and looked her in the eye. “But you have to promise that we’ll do it next time. All right?” Tulip nodded eagerly. After all, she enjoyed playing most of his games, as long as they didn’t bring him to any harm. And all the better she accompany him to keep an eye on him and his mischief!

Appeased by her answer he placed his friend inside his jacket and headed for the farmhouse at a trot, stopping once to eye the gray sky. “Tulip, it looks like it might actually snow soon!” Pippin was very excited by the notion of having snow to play in. While it didn’t come often, it happened upon them every now and then, and many a hobbit lad and lass donned their mittens and hats to hurry out and enjoy playing in it! Tulip chuckled at his enthusiasm and agreed readily that it would be something to see. Pippin giggled. He was in on her secret. He knew she was as eager as he was to play in the snow.

“I’ll have to see to it that you get some mittens and a scarf, my lass,” he promised, reaching into his jacket to pat her head. Tulip grunted happily at the attention and agreed with him wholeheartedly. It wasn’t easy being a knitted piglet going out to play in the cold without all the necessities, after all. How could he treat her like that? Pippin frowned. “I don’t know how to knit those kinds of things yet. Don’t worry, though. I’m certain Mum will do it if I ask her.”  Tulip reminded him that it was going to be many months before it was warm again, so she’d very much appreciate his prompt attention to the matter!

“Of course I will. I just said I would, didn’t I?” He patted her again. “I don’t want you to be cold!” Tulip settled into her spot with complete confidence in her lad’s word, and she was still chattering away as Pippin entered the big, warm kitchen. His cheeks were rosy from the cold and his mother came bustling over to help him as he shed his coat. He carefully placed the piglet on the table and laughed when she shook herself all over and stretched out leisurely, expressing her delight with the cozy fire in the stove.

“And what are you laughing about, young sir?” Eglantine teased as she hung his jacket on a peg beside the door.  

“Tulip is happy to be back inside where it’s warm,” he chortled, pointing at the pink piglet. “She’s making herself all comfortable by the fire – see Mum?”

Eglantine smiled and patted his curls. “Yes, I see. So, you and Tulip had a grand time playing outside then, I take it? But are all chilled and ready for something warm to drink now.”

Pippin nodded enthusiastically, then scooped the toy up and held her against his cheek. He grinned up at his mother. “Tulip told me it was time to come in, even though I didn’t really want to.”

“Well,” Eglantine smiled and patted the piglet’s head, “there’s a good wee piglet then, isn’t she now? Keeping an eye on our lad just as she’s supposed to!” Eglantine tilted her head towards Tulip, listening closely. “What’s that you say, my bonnie piggy?” She laughed heartily, “Ah yes, we know indeed!”

Pippin looked from his mother to Tulip and back, his brow furrowed. “What did Tulip tell you?”

His mother winked at him and whispered, “Why, she just wanted to reassure me that she knew it ‘twas a full time task looking after you, and that she is quite up to the job!”

Pippin stared incredulously at his piglet friend. “You told Mum that?” He giggled when Tulip nodded, her eyes sparkling at him teasingly. Pippin tugged on his mother’s apron.

Eglantine knelt next to him. “Yes, my little love? What is it?” Pippin gestured for her to lean down and he whispered in her ear.

“Confidentially, Mum, it’s Tulip that needs looking after, not me,” he asserted firmly.

“Oh, is it now?” She shook her head as she rose. “Well, I’ll be certain not to let the cat out ‘o the bag then. All right?”

Pippin nodded vigorously and ignored the pointed frown from his knitted friend. He held her up to his ear. “What? Oh, ‘twas nothing.” Tulip hurried to disagree with him, but Pippin merely grinned.

“Why don’t the two of you go wash up for tea? It will be ready very soon.” She patted her son’s head fondly, and then made a shooing motion with her apron.

Pippin skipped happily out of the kitchen while Tulip perched on his shoulder admonishing him to slow down before she tumbled headlong onto the floor.

“Hullo Pearl!” Pippin cried as he hurried away.

Pearl gave him a smile as he skipped and skidded towards the bathroom with Tulip in tow. “Where are you going, Pip?”

He turned and walked backwards, gesturing towards the bathroom. “Tulip and I are washing up before tea.”

“Ah, then I’ll see you at the table.” Pearl joined her mother, continuing to chuckle at her little brother’s antics. “I could hear him talking to his piglet all the way from my room,” she laughed. “Mum, when will be leaving for Brandy Hall? Do you know yet?”

“Most likely it will be early tomorrow.” Eglantine glanced out the window before turning back to the table. “I do hope the weather holds until then, but that sky does bode a snowfall before long, I do believe.”

“It will make a more difficult journey.”

“Ah well.” Eglantine set about bustling around the kitchen again. “It certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve travelled to Brandy Hall in foul weather. Have you finished the little surprise for Pippin?”

“I’ve just completed the hat.” She pulled the item from her pocket. “I even stitched a tiny pink Tulip on the front of it!”

“What? Oh, Pearl!” Eglantine took it and turned it over in her hand, examining the detailed work. “Oh my, it’s lovely! You do such fine work with the delicate stitches. Well, I can say that I know Tulip will love it as much as Pippin!”

Pearl reached back into her apron pocket and took out a pair of tiny knitted boots and a set of mittens that matched the hat. Eglantine cried out her delight. “Oh, mercy! How utterly adorable!”

They shared a peal of laughter. “Tulip can model it for us before we leave,” Pearl said, her eyes sparkling.

“I think his piggy is going to have as grand a Yuletide as the rest of the family, wouldn’t you agree, Pearl?”




Tulip was resplendent in her stylish Yule attire; she waited impatiently on the bed for her young master to finish dressing so they could be off. Tulip tapped her hoof and inquired again if he wouldn’t kindly speed things up before they were left behind? “That’s the third time you’ve asked me if I’m ready! Give me a moment longer, will you?” Pippin dragged a brush through his unruly curls, trying his best to be quick about it. He was excited about the trip too, but he knew Tulip was hurrying him simply because she couldn’t wait to show off her new garments. He hoped it wouldn’t go to her head.

His sister had done a fine job in knitting Tulip a set of woolens, and he hadn’t even needed to ask! The wee scarf, identical to his in pattern, was coiled smartly about her neck, while the soft, pink and white boots and mittens adorned her cloven hooves. The bonnet, sporting the colourful tulip on its brim, perched on the piglet’s head, making her appear prim, yet pert.  A lovely cloak of the softest crimson wool topped off her fashionable ensemble.

Pippin turned and smiled broadly at her before swooping his friend up onto his shoulder. “Tulip, my lass, you’re going to be the belle of the Yule celebration!” He laughed in delight when Tulip said she already knew that, and could they please get moving before his parents left without them? Pippin nodded and hurried out of his room with his rucksack slung over his opposite shoulder.

“It’s snowing! I knew it would, look Tulip!” Pippin pointed excitedly out the front window, and bounced up and down on his toes.

Pervinca looked at her brother’s toy, decked out in its finery, and rolled her eyes at Pimpernel. “Didn’t Pearl remember to make her a handbag?”

“Hush, Vinca. Pearl’s gift made Pip very happy, don’t you dare go to teasing him about it.” Pervinca settled for a sharp snicker as the family piled into the carriage and headed off.

Pippin was looking forward to seeing Merry as much as he was eager to show off Tulip and introduce her to Brandy Hall. Snow, Yuletide, the promise of a family gathering and good food…and a contented Tulip snoozing on his shoulder. What more could a lad hope for? Pippin was certain they would find a grand adventure once they arrived. Tulip grinned out from beneath his jacket collar. She was certain too!


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