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A Simple Answer by Dreamflower

Author: Dreamflower
Title: A Simple Answer
Rating: G
Theme: Potluck
Elements: November's theme: gratitude
Author's Notes: "Giving gifts: was a personal matter, not limited to kinship. It was a form of 'thanksgiving, and taken as a recognition of services, benefits and friendship show, especially in the last year." (Letters, #214)
Summary: In Minas Tirith, Pippin and his friend Menelcar, have a conversation about hobbit customs.
Word Count: 200




"I have always been curious, Pippin, about the curious custom hobbits have of giving gifts to others on their birthdays. You must know it seems quite backwards to the rest of the world." Menelcar puffed on his pipe, and then sent up a smoke ring.

Pippin leaned back against the garden wall where he and the Court Minstrel sat, and produced a somewhat larger and rounder one, and then gave his friend a cheeky grin.
"To us, the rest of the world seems backwards. We do give gifts to the byrdings, but not on their birthdays. Usually we give them the day before, but if we miss doing that, then we must wait for afterwards. The actual birthday is especially for the byrdings to give gifts."

"But why?"

Pippin looked at him closely. He wondered at Men sometimes. Why couldn't they see the obvious. "You really don't know? It's because the day you are born is the day you should show thanks for having been given life. So of course you give out gifts to those family and friends who have made your life better all that year!"

Menelcar blinked. Of course. When put that way it was so simple.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Jan. 26th, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm always happy to see Menelcar reappear in your stories. This is a delightful conversation.
dreamflower02
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
Menelcar is among my favorite OCs. I love it when I can have him and Pippin spend time together.
engarian
Jan. 26th, 2015 08:32 pm (UTC)
Delightful! And I love the fact that we both ended up with a birthday theme for our November prompt :-)

- Erulisse (one L)
dreamflower02
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
Isn't that cool? I'm glad you liked this little snippet.
periantari
Jan. 26th, 2015 08:36 pm (UTC)
This is very insightful explanation on Pippins end! Also glad you used "byrding"- didn't Tolkien use that term in his letters ?
dreamflower02
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, "byrding" appeared in the same letter as the quote in my Author's Notes above. I am sure that this is the sort of explanation that was often given to children in the Shire, as part of their lessons in "It's better to give than to receive".
baranduin
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC)
It really is simple :-) delightful.
dreamflower02
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, very simple indeed, and very much what JRRT said in his Letter!
(Deleted comment)
dreamflower02
Jan. 26th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)
Yes,our Pip doesn't beat around the bush. I'm sure that what he told Menelcar was ingrained into young hobbits from the time they were faunts. It seems so natural and obvious to him.

Edited at 2015-01-27 04:17 am (UTC)
addie71
Jan. 27th, 2015 01:26 am (UTC)
Pippin gives the best answers. :)
dreamflower02
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
Cuts right to the important things, doesn't he? ;-)
kgreen20
Jan. 27th, 2015 02:19 am (UTC)
I'm thinking that Pippin should have told him that others have until noon on a hobbit's birthday to give him gifts, while he was at it.
dreamflower02
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:46 am (UTC)
No, he was keeping it simple, and answering the why. Now when Merry shows up to join the discussion, they'd start talking all about the rule about noon, the "twelve-mile-cousin", what gifts are acceptable and what are not, and probably everything else even remotely connected to hobbit gift-giving customs!
kgreen20
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
LOL! Good point. Hey, you ought to write a sequel in which Merry does just that! =)
lindahoyland
Jan. 27th, 2015 05:41 am (UTC)
I loved this. It is something I've wondered too.
dreamflower02
Jan. 28th, 2015 02:14 pm (UTC)
Letter #214 is a treasure trove of hobbit customs, laws and manners; JRRT explains a lot in it.

I really do love the emphasis he gives to hobbits and gifts. It shows them as a truly generous people, for whom the adage "Better to give than receive" is a given, a social norm.

One of the things I love is that among hobbits, it is "not done" to make a display of the gifts one receives--it's considered poor taste to brag about the "loot" one gets, lest any giver feel badly that his or her gift is not "as good" as one from another person. That's the reason hobbits never bring a gift to a wedding. Such gifts are always given in private.
lignota
Jan. 27th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
That's very sweet, and a very hobbit-like explanation!
dreamflower02
Jan. 28th, 2015 02:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Hobbits are such a wonderful people!
lavendertook
Jan. 31st, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC)
Well told. Pippin enjoys being an ambassador.
mrowe
Feb. 3rd, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully put, Pippin!
talullahred
Feb. 16th, 2015 02:33 pm (UTC)
It makes perfect sense! Lovely fic, very fit to the theme. :)
dreamflower02
Feb. 16th, 2015 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! 8-)
blslarner
Feb. 27th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
Yes, now it appears so logical! Delightful!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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