Dancing among the Stars
I can’t believe it--you really are floating! Frodo’s thought was full of delight and approval, and Sam’s face shone in response.
“Well, couldn’t let the bairns outshine their old dad, could I? Can’t do much more than keep myself in place, mind, but I can at least keep afloat till someone comes out to save me, I can.” He let his feet drop till he again touched the bottom in the stone bathing pool.
Frodo slipped beneath the water and swam to the section near the rock wall opposite and shot up into the air, then fell back beneath the surface gracefully, the silver of his passing leaving a shining trail through the pool and lighting up the rest of the room. He came back and pulled himself up on the rim area where a bather could just lie comfortably, lapped gently by the waters. After I arrived, this was as far as I could go for the longest time, he commented. Well, I think I’m ready to get out. He rose from the water and walked out of the room to the bedroom, Sam hastily following behind, wrapping a towel about him as he came.
“I don’t rightly know why you insisted on bathing--it’s not that you get dirty or sweaty any more.”
It simply feels fitting, I suppose. Plus, it is so good to rejoice in water once more. Frodo already had his wardrobe open, was pulling on drawers, then a still-fine shirt of soft blue embroidered with stars. He went to the chest, and brought out dark silver-grey trousers, then his braces and buttoned them into place, and finally from a drawer slipped out of silver paper a green figured waistcoat and donned it.
“So, that’s what became of that,” Sam commented as he dressed more slowly. “If it hadn’t been for old Gandalf’s arrival, I bet you and Mr. Bilbo would still be at it to this day, glaring at each other about whether you needed another one or not.”
Best argument I ever lost, agreed Frodo, laughing.
Silver and golden forms stood for a moment when done, looked at one another grinning. Then Sam turned away toward his bed.
What are you doing now?
“Getting a blanket.”
Frodo laughed with astonishment. Whatever for? It’s been a warm day and will be a warm night, and the grass is soft as soft enough to lie upon--you will see.
“All right for you to say, you know--you’re nought much more than Light and Breath, after all.”
So are you Light and Breath as well, Sam. It’s all I can do to do more than just look at you, fill myself with the wonder of your golden Light.
“Well, maybe that’s so, but this golden Light you see is still wrapped inside a substantial bit of Hobbit that likes its comforts.”
Frodo laughed aloud, filling the room with his delight. “You will see!” he said aloud.
“Well, if you are sure...”
I am certain. No, Sam, surely you’re not making the bed?
“Well, of course--can’t leave it untidy, can I?”
Frodo was shaking with mirth, then moved to assist Sam, straightening sheets and the soft blankets. Then, he grew solemn, looked into Sam’s eyes. Are you certain?
“Well, I asked him to tell me when it was Midsummers and he did, this morning. Gandalf wouldn’t be wrong about that, or tease us about it, would he?”
No, Sam, he wouldn’t. And that’s not what I meant. Are you certain you are ready? You haven’t been here all that long, after all.
“I know as I’m ready, Frodo. My Rosie is waiting, and the Gaffer and my mum and Ham and Old Tom and Lily. Are you certain?”
Oh, yes, I’m ready--fully ready. I, too, have ones to see. You have fulfilled my waiting, have brought so much to share with me. I am content.
Their eyes met again, and together they nodded. Sam neatly folded the towel and hung it over the basket provided, and followed Frodo to the porch, where two glasses of wine sat waiting for them. Sam examined his friend’s figure. “The clothes somehow don’t seem to fit with the shining of you--probably ought to have worn one of them robes they gave you.”
No, not tonight, Sam. Tonight I’m a Hobbit again, doing Hobbit things--bathing, having a drink with my best friend and almost brother, going for a walk to sit out and look at the stars, thinking of sleep.
“You let me choose the time--what’s the place?”
Is the White Tree all right with you?
“Yes, feel close to them, and especially to Strider.”
They took their glasses and walked quietly through the Gardens. “Frodo, did you tell her to kiss me like that?”
Tell who to kiss you like what, and when?
“Rosie, when we was starting for the Havens.”
I told her to kiss you, but didn’t tell her to do it in any special way. Then, after a pause, he added, What was the kiss like?
Sam laughed. “She kissed me with promise. I was so took by that kiss, I almost took off my cloak and said for you to go ahead and I’d catch up as I could.”
Frodo’s delighted laughter lit the trees and shrubs. Tell me--was that promise fulfilled?
“Fulfilled? Why else would we go on to have eleven more after Frodo-Lad came?” Both filled the night with their joy and humor as they continued on till they came to the White Tree. Both sat down, Frodo with his back against the bole of the Tree, Sam beside him, and they looked out at the stars around them as they finished their wine. Sam took Frodo’s glass when it was empty and set it with his own on a nearby rock, then turned to look at Frodo, already relaxing back against the shining bark behind him.
“You think as maybe we should of waited for them?”
No, let them find us after. His thoughts were quiet for a time as he sought to take his fill of the stars. Oh, the wonder of them all, he finally shared. They are so full of light and beauty. You know, Sam, I’ve always wanted to dance among them.
“You’ve always been a one for stars. Used to be like they were more filling to you than food and drink. But you’re right--they are perfect.”
And who was it found hope in the star seen in Mordor, or sang to me of stars as jewels caught in the hair of beech trees?
Sam lay back upon the grass, his hands behind his head. “Much softer than many places as we’ve slept in, I must say.”
Frodo’s thought was slow, stilling as his form relaxed toward release: Yes, that’s true. His eyes were open and bright, shining equally to the lights above him, his own Light pulsing with theirs, his face shining with contentment.
“Well,” said another voice, “I should have known. Slipping away again, Frodo Baggins? You do make a habit of this practice, I must say.”
The laughter filled the Garden of the Tree, but was quieter now, gentler as he who had been Frodo Baggins stilled even more. You know, Gandalf, that I’ve always hated taking leave of those I love.
Olórin stood over him, a shining garment over his arm, his face gentle, filled with sadness, pride, and love. “Yes, I certainly know that. However, you will miss the entertainment planned for this evening if you slip away right now. There are many who wish to honor the two of you this night, and they have left it to me to present it.” He looked into the blue eyes of the shining soul resting against the Tree and added, I promise it will be worth while. Can you linger just a bit?
Somewhat reluctantly, Frodo nodded his agreement. A few now joined them, while across the Island and throughout the whole of the Undying Lands the inhabitants of Aman came out beneath the stars to watch two points of Light beneath the White Tree on Tol Eressëa.
The Lady Galadriel knelt by the two of them, leaned down to kiss each on the brow. Frodo looked up into her eyes and smiled gently. Do you think the bowl is ready to return to the King’s table? his thought asked her.
“Oh, yes, Ringbearer--it is now refilled. Rejoice in your release.” She then moved beyond them to sit by Celeborn.
Elrond and Celebrían leaned over them in blessing. “Bear my greetings to my brother,” the Elven lord murmured softly. The blue eyes indicated his willingness.
The young Lady Livwen paused by he who had been her friend, ran her fingers through his hair, smiled into his already distant gaze. “Go with joy, Iorhael,” she murmured.
You will find me with you, his thought said in a murmur, lingering near your right shoulder. He turned his attention to the Maia. So much for slipping away quietly. Gandalf laughed, but there were shining tears in his eyes as he prepared.
Elrond said quietly, “What of after, Iorhael, Panthail?”
Sam murmured, “Wrap me in my Lorien cloak and lay me in the garden there, near the summer house, the one he’s tended. It’ll mean the most.”
Whatever is left, give it to the Sea. Lord Ulmo has ever been kind to me.
Olórin held out the mantle he carried, a mantle seemingly made of Light, helped Frodo lean forward as he laid it over the shining shoulders. It really is not of this place, is meant to go with you, he indicated. Gently he helped the slight, glowing form lie back against the Tree again, and they shared one last look with one another. Bear my greetings to my brethren there, and those we know.
All went quiet, and Gandalf gestured to the sky above them. “Behold,” he said, very softly.
Frodo’s face shone with awe and growing delight as the stars began to turn and dance in swirls and circles and spirals, loops and fountains, the figures growing ever more complex and intricate.
“Well, I never!” exclaimed Sam quietly. “Oh, Mr. Frodo--it’s like the fireworks at the Party, only more splendid!” His face was shining more and more golden in response to the shining above.
Frodo’s own Light was shining ever brighter and brighter, until he could no longer contain himself. Oh, Sam--it’s so right! I must join the dance! I must!
“I’m right at your side, Frodo, I’m right at your side!”
Laughing, they reached out shining hands to one another, rose up, and sped upwards to dance among the dancing stars, leaving behind one quiet body and a line of Anor’s fire as they quitted Arda at the last. And as their Lights, golden and mithril silver, finally turned West, Olórin could see another Light waiting for theirs to join its own.
Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day.
I would my True Love would so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my True Love to the Dance.
Sing O, my love, my love, my love--
This have I done for my True Love.
From a medieval carol