Elements:"My father farms the lands round Whitwell near Tuckborough in the Shire."
Author's Notes:Rated G
Summary:Pippin has some thinking to do about where he came from and who he will be.
Pippin hadn't wanted to put the lad off. Though he hadn't yet declared that he was Beregond's son, Pippin suspected as much, their relation to each other was written on the lad's face, and the lonely hobbit wanted to be friends with the kindly Guard's child.
The people of the White City had already given him that fool title - Prince of the Halflings; Ernil i Pheriannath in their own tongue - and Pippin didn't want to do anything that might encourage every one to continue seeing him that way.
'We've no princes in the Shire,' his thoughts had grumbled nearly every time he heard people using the moniker as he walked a rambling path down through the circles of the city. But, when Bergil had asked him, 'What is your father?' it had brought Pippin up short.
'Which question shall I answer first?' he had said, to buy a few moments in which to think.
'How would it sound,' his thoughts asked, 'if I say, 'My father is The Took and Thain of the Shire?'' Giving his father's titles would only confirm the frivolous and inaccurate title the people of Minas Tirith had bestowed on him. That really wouldn't do at all.
'My father farms the lands round Whitwell . . .'
His answer niggled at his thoughts, popping up randomly through the rest of the day. Not quite a lie; not really the truth. His father still owned the farm, the lands were still planted in crops or were pasture for herds. The same farm hands still worked there and lived in nice little houses on little bits of land near the stand of trees and small pond along the western border of the property. But Pearl and Ordegar and their children now lived in the main house and Ordegar was the one overseeing the workings of the farm.
Paladin Took no longer farmed the land. He no longer lived on the farm.
And neither did Pippin.
Yet the thoughts of home, of the farm he had grown up on, mingled and swirled about with thoughts of where he was and what was surely about to happen. They settled upon Pippin, mixing with the gloom that had rolled in upon the city as the sun dropped behind the tall mountain, setting the ashen sky aflame with an angry glow. Then the gloom moved inside his heart, and he wished to see a familiar face in this vast city of Men, so he took his leave of Beregond and the men in the mess, making his way through the darkness to the room he shared with Gandalf. The room was empty, so soon after arriving there Pippin went to bed, where thoughts of home and here, peace and war first kept him awake, then plagued his dreams.
* * * * * * * *
Pippin stifled a yawn. It was very much against the rules to yawn whilst on duty. It was only a shame that duty was often so boring. Sir Peregrin Took struggled to stay alert despite the soothing droning of the voices of his King and the emissaries with whom he was currently conversing.
'It is an honor,' Pippin reminded himself in his thoughts. 'It is an honor. I am honored. I am being honorable. I am behaving honorably. I was an honor and, then I was an honoree given the honorific of knighthood by my King. My King who at least is looking the part these days.'
Pippin was vaguely aware that one group of people were leaving and another was approaching. He recognized the new group as being some of Strider's advisors.
There would be more boring talk.
'He has said he often misses wearing his Ranger's togs,' Pippin's thoughts continued. 'He wouldn't have made much of an impression on that last lot wearing those. And, if he gets his wish and marries Arwen . . . well, I'm certain she would rather him looking like this than like that. As they say, 'The clothes make the hobb . . . er, Man.' Most of those old saws are quite accurate if one actually pays . . . attention . . .'
Pippin had found that his ability to keep his mind rambling had helped immensely with keeping himself awake. This time, it seemed he was more in step with what was going on around him than he had thought. Just as he was thinking about paying attention he found himself doing exactly that.
'. . . that breed of cattle are excellent milk producers, sire,' the tall, broad-shouldered advisor was saying to Strider. 'Even more to the point is that the milk is of a vastly superior quality, containing a nearly thirty-three percent cream to milk ratio.'
'And there are some of these . . . ah . . .' the king gestured with his hand for the advisor to supply the name of the cattle.
'Lebenin Curled Horns, my lord.'
'Yes. There are some of them left? I know there were herds lost to Orc and Southron attacks.'
'There are, sire. Several small herds were taken to the valley where the River Gilrain comes down out of the mountains and placed well apart from one another. That area did not suffer as many attacks and only two of those herds sent there were lost.'
Stri . . . eh, King Elessar was nodding thoughtfully as his smallest knight leaned forward with interest. 'Good, thank you for making us aware of that. And you feel there is sufficient grazing available to distribute these small herds elsewhere within the realm?'
'Without doubt, my lord!' the shorter, very thin advisor spoke up. 'Arda seems to be rejoicing in our victory as much as we ourselves. Most areas have already had a second cutting of hay, sire and the third is well on its way.'
Voices floated up in Pippin's head.
'Aye, we've had a uncommon good year for hay this year, Mr. Paladin.'
'And weren't the lambing a treat! Why, was best it's been since five years back, sir.'
'Yes,' Pippin could hear his father saying as he could see in his mind how he had looked that day in the farmyard. 'It has been a marvelous year. Which is why you will all be getting a bonus in your pay packets. We've all worked hard and all will share in the bounty!'
Pippin's attention returned to the present as his King was saying, 'We will make sure the hay and the cattle are evenly distributed about Gondor, paying heed to first help those farmers who suffered the most losses.'
'My father farms the lands . . .' Pippin softly said aloud.
The advisors had bowed and were on their way out of the room. King Elessar turned to his knight. 'What was that Pippin?'
Pippin jumped at being addressed. 'Eh! What, sire?'
His friend chuckled. 'We are alone. Call me Strider.' His smile lit his whole face. 'You just said something aloud, I asked you what it was you said.'
'Eh, nothing, Strider. Those men, pardon, those advisors; they were here to discuss farming with you, weren't they.'
'Yes. I have to know what is happening on the farms in my kingdom. I have to know if there will be food to feed all of my people, as well as food stuffs and stock to sell or trade. A good ruler pays attention to these matters as his people's lives depend upon them.'
'You are a farmer!' Pippin burst out excitedly.
Strider blushed a little as he smiled, raised an eyebrow and tipped his head in acknowledgement. 'In a way you could say that, yes. Say, rather, a gentleman farmer with herdsmen and crop farmers working for me.'
Pippin was nodding eagerly. 'Yes! Yes, that's it! My father is The Took and . . . well you know that . . . he has to know what all the farms in the Tookland are doing. He has to know if there is enough of each sort of crop being raised, how the cattle are each year, how the sheep herds are doing and the going price of fleeces and such. He had to know all of that when we lived on our farm near Whitwell and now he has to know it for the whole of the Took clan. 'Tis the same thing, really, though he's not going out to help plant nor harvest, nor with birthing and shearing. But it really is much the same.' Pippin paused and smiled even brighter. 'Actually, he does still help! I just recalled, twice since becoming The Took, he has gone with others to help at farms where the farmer couldn't do his own planting or harvesting due to ill health or having been injured.'
'Yes, it is similar to running a large holding. And although I am certain I shall not be going out to help, I will send soldiers to help whenever I hear of such a need.' Strider wasn't sure why his friend was so pleased by this revelation, but he was glad to see the lad so tickled. 'Now then, Sir Peregrin Took, if I am not mistaken your time on duty is over. Will you take luncheon with me and partake of some of the goods the farms which I oversee have produced?'
'I will and with pleasure, sire.' Pippin replied with a bow. As he and his dear friend walked toward the King's chambers, Pippin was glowing with joy as he thought, 'My father farms the lands round Whitwell, and throughout the Tooklands in the Shire . . . and so will I.'