Boromir looked down from the balcony to the secluded garden below. A bare-footed child with tousled raven curls sat on the ground, his body bent in concentration over an unseen object on his lap.
The older lad’s spirit lifted as it always did at the sight of his younger brother.
“Faramir!” he called. He expected to see a small open face look up at him, flushed with a welcoming smile. Instead, a quick furtive glance greeted him, followed by a look of utter terror.
“Why you little fiend!” Boromir yelled over the parapet. He threw himself over the balustrade and shimmied down a supporting pillar. Faramir had jumped to his feet and backed away from his brother, clutching his ill-gotten gain behind him.
“Whoa. Easy now,” Boromir said, approaching Faramir slowly in a semi-crouching position. “Hand it over.”
“Boys, what is all this?” came a soft, tired voice from the woman in the reclining chair under the balcony.
“Naneth, Faramir has the book of tales uncle gave me for my birthday. In the dirt. In the garden,” Boromir said. “He can’t even read it and it has no pictures.”
“Can too read it,” the younger boy protested.
“Show me then,” Boromir said.
“Many songs are sung and many tales are told by the Elves of the Nirnaeth Ar-Ar-Arnoediad…” Faramir began slowly, but distinctly, in a clear piping voice.
“Well done!” Boromir said, overcome with pride. “Come. Sit here with me and read some more. You may read any of my books you want. But you must wash your hands first and do not bring them into the garden without asking leave.”