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'Neath Anor, Ithil, and Gil
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A Pleasant Dissonance

A Pleasant Dissonance

“Is there anything I can do to help you, Mr. Frodo?” asked a young voice.

The words themselves caught the attention of Meriadoc Brandybuck away from the plateful of cake he held, and he turned to look at the two figures standing near the lilac bushes, outlined against the afternoon sun of a day in late September. The gentlehobbit was taller than average; the lad looking up at him was only slightly taller than half his size, sturdily built in spite of his rather slender physique, his feet firmly anchored in the rich soil of the Shire. Merry knew that the gardener looked into eyes blue as summer skies, into a face naturally pale, save for the rosiness of its cheeks, framed by dark curls. He knew that the Baggins looked into eyes of a light brown slightly dappled with gold, like brown pebbles over which the shallow waters of a merry stream flows.

It was only that—that it was the small Baggins who was addressing the gardener—who was also a gardener’s son—as Mr. Frodo.

Merry Brandybuck, Master of Buckland and Brandy Hall, found himself shivering at the same time he wanted to suppress a laugh of sheer delight. Frodo, my beloved cousin, he thought, how I wish you were here to see your young cousin’s son Eruhael honoring your friend’s son as “Mr. Frodo.”

He felt a hand on his shoulder, and realized that the Mayor of the Shire stood by him, his eyes shining slightly with a tear he couldn’t quite hold, and smiled as he realized Sam, too, had been taken by surprise. Softly Sam murmured, “Takes you back, don’t it?”

“Oh, yes, it does,” Merry said, looking back at the two by the lilac bush.


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