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A Fate Worse Than Thorns by Dreamflower

Author: Dreamflower
Title: A Fate Worse Than Thorns
Rating: G
Theme: "Where Have You Been?"
Elements: 333
Author's Notes: N/A
Summary: Merry and Pippin are late for lunch, with a tale of a narrow escape.
Word Count: 333
A Fate Worse than Thorns

"Where have you been?" Frodo shook his head at the disheveled state of his two younger cousins. He'd been worried when they were late for luncheon; it wasn't normal for them to be late for a meal. He had been at the point of going out to track them down, with a few sharp words about their truancy. At least the meal would not grow cold; the weather was unseasonably warm today, and so he had prepared a salad of greens, a platter of meats and cheeses and bread and pickles, and green onions.

Now they had shown up, breathless, dirty, scratches covering their arms and lower legs, and tears in Pippin's shirt. Also Merry seemed to have lost his weskit.

"It was like this Frodo..." Merry started, when Pippin's stomach growled loudly.

Frodo held up his hand. "Go wash up and change. You can explain as we eat."

Moments later with clean clothes and shiny well-scrubbed faces, the two lads hurried to the kitchen table.

Merry launched into their tale as they ate. "We were coming home along the lane, and saw some early berries in the bramble thickets, and we stopped to pick them. We were putting them my weskit. And then suddenly we saw a horrible sight..."

"We had to hide in the thicket to be safe..." Pippin threw in.

"A fox? A hawk? Not a wolf?" Frodo asked, aghast. Hobbit children were taught to hide from predators, and a bramble thicket was considered one of the safest places.

"Worse," Merry shuddered. It was his Brandybuck cousin's look of utter loathing that gave it away.

"Sackville-Bagginses. You were hiding from the S-Bs." Frodo said.

Pippin nodded. "It was Lobelia and Lotho, coming up the road."

"We barely had time to hide. And we got tangled up. It took Pip forever to get us out." Frodo smiled. Everyone knew Pippin's clever hands were very good at such tasks.

Merry sighed. "I just wish we didn't have to leave the berries behind!"

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Jul. 27th, 2018 06:47 pm (UTC)
And then suddenly we saw a horrible sight...

They certainly did! There's a lot to enjoy in this little story.
dreamflower02
Jul. 27th, 2018 08:59 pm (UTC)
*grin* Thanks, sweetie! I am glad you enjoyed it!
shirebound
Jul. 27th, 2018 06:47 pm (UTC)
And then suddenly we saw a horrible sight...

They certainly did! There's a lot to enjoy in this little story.
silver_trails
Jul. 27th, 2018 08:08 pm (UTC)
That's so funny!
dreamflower02
Jul. 27th, 2018 09:02 pm (UTC)
In one of my very early stories, I briefly mentioned that M&P hid in a thornbush to escape the S.-B.s, so I decided to expand on it a little.

And I could always imagine hobbit parents teaching their little ones how to hide safely--it's an important survival skill when you are that small.
silver_trails
Jul. 27th, 2018 09:24 pm (UTC)
Indeed, being that small in a world full of possible predators, big men among them… Or horrible persons. :)
dreamflower02
Jul. 30th, 2018 11:18 am (UTC)
Years ago I remember reading a story in which little Merry runs away from Brandy Hall to try and go to Frodo after Frodo moves to Bag End. The poor little guy was almost taken by a hawk (or an owl?) anyway he was just that much too large for it to hang on to when he struggled and it dropped him. I don't recall the rest of the story, but it was a very impressive bit of writing. I wish I could recall the author, because I'd love to read it again.

But when you think about it, if most adult hobbits are no larger than three feet, the kids have to be TINY. I once had Sam talking to Pippin about something the latter had done as a child and he said that at the time Pip "was no bigger than a squirrel."


silver_trails
Jul. 30th, 2018 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, now you've made me want to read little hobbits' stories (g)
blslarner
Jul. 28th, 2018 03:32 am (UTC)
Poor lads! And to leave those delicious berries behind as became needful. Hopefully they were able to return to fetch them.

And it's not just Bilbo who found ways to avoid the S-Bs! Heh!
dreamflower02
Jul. 28th, 2018 05:08 am (UTC)
Well originally they did at the end, but that part fell victim to the need to cut words, alas!

Well, even in canon, Merry hid from them--it was how he saw Bilbo's Ring for the first time!
zedille
Jul. 28th, 2018 05:42 am (UTC)
This made me laugh! The buildup of Frodo's concern about the dangerous wildlife that Merry & Pippin might have encountered, followed with the reveal of the much more Shire-typical (though probably equally perilous!) Sackville-Bagginses was perfectly handled. Hopefully they can go back for the berries another time!
dreamflower02
Jul. 30th, 2018 11:20 am (UTC)
Originally it ended with Frodo saying that they'd go back after lunch to fetch them--it fell victim to the word cutting, always a peril of fixed-length ficletting!
mrowe
Jul. 30th, 2018 05:03 pm (UTC)
A shame about the berries, but it was an emergency *g*
hhimring
Aug. 7th, 2018 08:42 pm (UTC)
On Merry's scale of "horrible", the Sackville Bagginses rank high indeed! I'm amused at the idea that he has a special look of S-B loathing that Frodo can identify.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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