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Campfire Tales by Meneleth

Author: Meneleth
Title: Campfire Tales
Rating: G
Theme: Harvest/Halloween
Author's Notes: My inspiration quote came from The Hobbit.
Summary: Bilbo is telling stories again.
Word Count: 629

Campfire Tales

It was a crisp autumn evening, just right for sitting around a cozy fire and telling stories. There were several cozy fires dotted around the large field in the center of Hobbiton. The Party Field, they called it, for it was there that the residents gathered for their big celebrations - birthdays, anniversaries and such. Today there had been a party to celebrate Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthdays, and it was slowly winding down. Bilbo had reached a fairly respectable age of 89, while his young charge was 11, and since their ages together totaled 100, Bilbo had felt that was worthy of a big party. Their neighbors, always willing to eat, drink and be merry, agreed wholeheartedly.
There had been some anxiety in the morning when a light drizzle began to fall, but by noon the skies had cleared and the sun came out to dry everything in time for the celebration. It started at tea-time - nothing much, just scones, tea cakes, platters of cold, sliced meats, cheeses and breads, and big bowls of fruit, with ale, tea and clear, fresh water to wash it down. Next came games for the younger Hobbits and music for dancing or just listening with a mug and a pipe. Then dinner - bowls of steaming hot mushroom soup, succulent pig that had been roasting on the spit all day, along with a whole flock of roasted chickens and all sorts of lovely fresh vegetables, more breads and cheeses and of course, a magnificent cake to top it all off. Bilbo’s speech had been mercifully short, and then he and young Frodo had handed out mathoms to all.
Now, most of the guests lingered around the campfires, enjoying the mellow feeling of full tummies and good company. Men lit pipes, sipped their ale and discussed the fall harvest. Women swapped recipes and critiqued the dinner (favorably, as many of them had helped cook one portion or another). Some of the very young children slept in their mothers’ arms while a half dozen of the oldest played Tig in and out of the glows of the fires.
At one fire, however, Bilbo held court with most of the children, keeping them enthralled with his adventures with the twelve Dwarves years ago. He had a natural talent for storytelling, and even Frodo, who had heard the stories before, listened breathlessly.

"…and when it was my turn I would see gleams in the darkness round us, and sometimes pairs of yellow or red or green eyes would stare at me from a little distance, and then slowly fade and disappear and slowly shine out again in another place. And sometimes they would gleam down from the branches just above me: and that was the most terrifying. But the eyes that I liked the least were horrible, pale, bulbous sort of eyes."*

Several youngsters glanced uneasily around, as if expecting to see those eyes gleaming in their own darkness. But the only eyes here were friendly, so they returned their attention to Bilbo. He soon wrapped up the story with a happy ending and sent the children off to their parents. If some of them huddled a little more closely together as they walked, well, that could be blamed on the chill of the evening, couldn’t it? Satisfied with the effect of his story, Bilbo helped Frodo dowse their fire, then he put an arm around his nephew’s shoulder and the two headed off to Bag End.

“What did you think of my story tonight?” Bilbo asked as he tucked the sleepyhead into bed.

“It was very good,” Frodo yawned. “But I hope *I* never see pale eyes glowing at me in the dark!”


* Quote from The Hobbit.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, I wish he'd not had to see them in the end. Nice foreshadowing.
Oct. 20th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
my guess is he'd learn that pairs of eyes are far less scary than that one fire rimmed thing.

wonderful story and so hobbity. mostly food and dancing.
Oct. 20th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
Hurrah, stories with Bilbo! I have to admit whenever I see such ghosty stories I always get a nostalgic thrill up my back--and I especially liked the fact that the children were pretending not to be scared.

The foreshadowing at the end was pleasantly subtle as well.
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Very nice the way you set up the story-telling, that combination of spooky dark and cozy fire sets the atmosphere well.

And I agree with the others--a subtle bit of foreshadowing.
Oct. 21st, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Nice use of foreshadowing!
Oct. 23rd, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
A very atmospheric story.
Oct. 23rd, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Well done, Meneleth! Poor Frodo, he will indeed see pale eye glowing at him in the dark.

The food all made me hungry :-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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