Author: Pearl Took
Title: Hobbit-lad Hobbit-lad
Theme: Fixed Length Ficlet
Elements: the line “Where have you been?”
Author's Notes: I’m back and hoping that my little story pleases. :-)
Thank you to Dreamflower for doing a beta read and edit.
Summary: A new nursery rhyme is sweeping the Shire, but Thain Peregrin isn’t happy
Word Count: 393
“Does it really matter, Pip?”
“Of course, it does, Merry! Would you want them messing up what happened between you and Theoden?”
“I suppose it would depend on how badly they mucked about with it,” Merry said, trying to stay calm. “You’re right, I wouldn’t want it meddled with too much. But, seriously, Pippin. This isn’t all that inaccurate . . .”
“Not that inaccurate!” His cousin’s green eyes flashed. “There’s not a grain of truth in it, Merry.” He added, struggling to control himself. How could Merry be so thick.
“Think about what happened to the story of Bilbo’s journey.” Merry countered. “This isn’t nearly so bad. Aren’t you a bit old to behave so childishly over something that’s for faunts and small children?”
“Ah . . . Well, yes, but . . .” Pippin hated it when Merry was right.
“But that just makes it worse, don’t you see, Merry. All the hobbits of the Shire will be learning the wrong information from the time they’re little. I didn’t go to Gondor to visit the King. I didn’t even go to visit Denethor. And while I bowed, I most certainly didn’t smile before I sang.”
“Alright, the details are wrong. But, at this point I think you’re flogging a dead pony, Pippin. It has spread about the Shire already. Why don’t you just take some satisfaction from it.”
“Satisfaction? Over a misrepresentation?”
“A minor one, after all, Pippin. And you know how these things hang on. That small part of your story will most likely be remembered long after anything about the rest of us. Children’s rhymes are enduring, Pip.”
“Well . . . maybe someday I’ll be able to see it that way.” The Thain knew when he was beaten, especially by the Master. “You’re right. Maybe I’ll have it engraved on my gravestone.”
Pippin turned on his heels and walked out of his cousin’s private quarters in Brandy Hall.
Merry waited a few moments, his cousin still had excellent hearing and he didn’t want to be overheard as he recited.
“Hobbit-lad, Hobbit-lad, you have been where?”
“I’ve been down to Gondor to visit the King.”
“Hobbit-lad, Hobbit-lad, what did you there?”
“I smiled and I bowed and for Him I did sing.”
“Actually,” Merry said as he started to laugh, “It is rather catchy.”
The inspiration for this story is from the old English nursery rhyme “Pussycat Pussycat.”
"Pussycat pussycat, where have you been?"
"I've been up to London to visit the Queen."
"Pussycat pussycat, what did you there?"
"I frightened a little mouse under her chair"
First published in London during 1805 in the book "Songs for the Nursery"
The origins of the "Pussycat Pussycat" rhyme dates back to the history of 16th century Tudor England. One of the waiting ladies of Queen Elizabeth I had an old cat which roamed throughout Windsor castle. On one particular occasion the cat ran beneath the throne where its tail brushed against the Queen's foot, startling her. Luckily 'Good Queen Bess' had a sense of humour and decreed that the cat could wander about the throne room, on condition it kept it free of mice!