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Time to Let Go
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Chapter 1

This was written for Marigold's Challenge 39, in which I had to write a story with a theme revolving around a quote from a different book. This is the quote I had to use for my story:

'May he be brave, and have the strong head to think with, and the strong heart to love with, and the strong hands to work with, and the strong feet to travel with, and always come safe home to his own.' From 'Five Children And It' by Edith Nesbit

Much thanks to Marigold and Llinos for the beta!

Time to Let Go

Elanor had always had a special relationship with her father. Perhaps it was because she was the eldest, and a daughter to boot; after all, fathers generally have a soft spot in their hearts for their female progeny. At any rate, she was finding herself being flooded with memories of Samwise that left her maudlin. It was almost as if her father had died, but he most assuredly had not. He was still healthy and hale. In fact, at this very moment he was on his way from Bag End to visit Elanor and Fastred in the Westmarch.

Maybe what led to her feelings was the knowledge that her father was not going to be returning to Bag End this time. Sam-dad's visit was to be a farewell visit, for he was on his way to the Grey Havens to follow where Mr. Frodo had gone, and Elanor didn't know how she was going to deal with that. It was like a death, and that was why she was caught up in thoughts from the past.

Some of these thoughts were not actually memories, but stories she had been told about her father, and passages from the Red Book that she had read. Samwise the Brave; that was what Mr. Frodo had called him. And brave he had certainly been, even though he must have been awfully afraid. Elanor's favourite part of Sam-dad's part in the War was when he had confronted Shelob, and then braved the Tower to rescue Mr. Frodo. How frightened he must have been, but that had not stopped him. Courage had been one of his defining strengths.

All that way that Sam-dad had gone with Mr. Frodo; all the way from the Shire into the heart of Mordor. Such strength it must have taken to travel so long and hard, and in some of the harshest terrain imaginable. Strong feet it took to accomplish this mission that Sam-dad had set himself on, and they had served him well. So many days he must have faltered to his knees, but he had always pulled himself up again. In fact, he had had strength enough in the end to carry his master during the final steps of the journey.

Her father also had one of the most loyal hearts there ever was. His love for Mr. Frodo had been a fierce one, and was the reason that he had stuck with him the whole way to the bitter end. And his love did not just extend to his master; it also extended to his large family. His heart was large enough to encompass a passionate marriage which produced 13 children, all of whom he doted on, every single one. Thank the Valar that he had been able to return safe to the Shire, otherwise there would never have been a family....and Elanor might never have been born.

More mundane memories started seeping through, and they made her smile. Her father's special talent had been making things grow, digging his hands into the rich, raw earth, and she had spent many an hour with him in their garden, working the soil with their hands and creating new and beautiful hybrids. She had not even been born when her father went throughout the Farthings in his efforts to heal the earth with the Lady Galadriel's gift. His efforts had been very fruitful, and had helped restore the Shire to its former self. Sam-dad certainly had worked wonders in this regard. And how Elanor had loved the mallorn tree. She had spent hours lying underneath its boughs, pretending that she was in Lothlórien.

Not only did her father have special talent with his hands, but he had a very good head on his shoulders as well. As mayor, he had become quite famous for his leadership abilities and his good hobbit sense. He hadn't been elected seven times for nothing. Who would have ever thought; a mere gardener becoming mayor!

Yes, Samwise Gamgee Gardner had had a very full and productive life. It was time to let him go. Tears filled Elanor's eyes as she heard the clop-clop of pony hooves nearing her doorstep. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and prepared to greet her father into her household for the last time.


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