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The Plum Tree chapter One by Golden

The first chapter of Golden's October Challenge story.

Chapter 1

"Good Morning, dear lad!" Pippin was greeted by his Aunt Peony North-Took when he entered the kitchen in the morning.

Peony was born and raised in Buckland, but came to live in this remote corner of the North Farthing of the Shire, when she married Jon North-Took some decades ago.

Peony smiled at him. "I hope you slept well?"

"Yes thank you." Pippin lied and sat down at the table, where a breakfast that left no wishes open waited for him. Toasted bread, scones, honey, jam, butter, eggs with bacon and mushrooms, pancakes with golden syrup, fruits, milk, juice, tea, …

The problem was . . . he just was not hungry. He was astonished about this; normally he was always hungry!

"Pippin, dear, is really everything all right with you?" asked his aunt, when he did not touch a thing. "You look as if you are far away."

Pippin tried his best to give Peony his biggest smile. "No, everything's fine. You don´t need to worry. I guess I . . . just miss home a bit."

"Oh sweetheart, I know it's not easy for you, getting sent here to an old lady like me while all the older lads and grown-ups are going down to Buckland to help fight against the flooding."

"I am grown-up too, Aunt. I could have helped as well and . . ."

"I know, Pippin, you are a strong lad and nearly 23 years old. That's why you are here, see? With my Jon away to Buckland I am all alone and there is so much work that needs to be done." Peony paused then added with a smile. "I am so grateful that you came to help me till my husband returns, Pippin. I want you to feel welcome here. I know we don´t know each other very well, what with you living in the Tooklands and I living way out here. But I had hoped we could change that a bit. We are family after all."

"Yes Aunt, you are right." Pippin said and now his smile was a true one. He breathed in the aromas floating through the air. "The breakfast smells marvelous!"

"Then start eating, lad." Poeny replied. "Its all for you!"

Pippin laughed. "All for me? My! I guess the work out here will be pretty hard if I need so much energy for it!"

"You´ll see!" his aunt said with a smile and winked at him.

A few hours later Pippin together with the only two working hands on this farm, an very old Hobbit and a lad around Merry´s age, had harvested so many baskets of plums that he had lost count of them.

"This is exausting work!" Pippin moaned, sinking down to sit under a tree.

Old Carl laughed, sitting down next to Pippin. "You´ll get used to it. Here have a piece of that nice cake Mrs. North-Took packed us for tea."

"Thanks! How long have you worked here, Mr. Browntoe?" he asked.

"Call me Carl, lad. I've worked here for a long time. Started as a lad not much older then you are now. It was Jon's father who gave me this job."

"And what about you Rob?" Pippin asked, looking to the younger hobbit who was leaning against a tree trunk eating his cake.

"I started two summers ago after my father died. You see, he and Carl started here together and my Pa sort of passed the job on to me."

"Oh," Pippin aswered. "I am sorry about your loss."

"He was old." Rob responded.

"Come now lads. Our rest was long enough," Carl interrupted the silence that followed Rob's statement. "Lets get on the work again.We still have a few hundred plums to harvest today!"

Many baskets of plums later the three hobbits walked back through the trees towards the farm house.

Pippin yawned. "I will sleep like a baby tonight," he said, and he certainly hoped for it. An uneasy feeling came over him and he stopped walking. Not far off he saw another plum tree. But one that was at least twice as tall as the ones he had harvested plums from while they had worked.

"That is a tall tree!" he said pointing towards it.

"Oh yes, oh yes," Carl murmered. "It surly is, but take care young Pippin. Never go near that tree."

"Why not?"

"It is an evil place, lad. Evil, I tell you. Keep away from it. Ask me no more! I wish you a good night's rest!" he added with a curt nod of his head and with that Carl turned around and walked to his small house not far off from the farm.

"What was he speaking about Rob?" Pippin asked the other hobbit.

"Oh just some old spook stories. Don´t worry. You know the old ones like to talk. They have a story to tell for every stone and bush."

"Hmm, yes . . . I suppose you are right."



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is a very intriguing situation! I'm eager to learn what's going to happen here, and wondering who he is going to meet while in the Northfarthing.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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