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9
IX. A Midsummer Day's Dream (Faramir)



Even for June, the afternoon is warm. The old man cares not. The drowsy sunshine is peaceful, his garden is fair, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren fairer still. The Prince Steward looks behind him, to the hundred and twenty years he has lived and the changes he has seen; then ahead of him, to the land that his heirs will inherit. He has nurtured Ithilien as carefully as he has reared his children; seen them all flourish and grow strong and give their gifts to Gondor. Let us make a garden there, he once told Éowyn; and they had done it. The Garden of Gondor is green with grass and young shoots and the leaves of thousands of trees, gold with wheat, purple with vines, white with simbelmynë and red with seregon.

The birdsong mingles with the cries of the youngest children. Lads and lasses with hair of raven-black or pale gold run merrily together through the garden. Elboron, his golden mane only lightly streaked with grey, stands near his friend and shield-brother Eldarion; while Míriel and young Barahir speak with Aragorn and Legolas.

There are so many beloved faces here. And yet, as the Prince watches them all, he cannot help but think of the ones who are long gone. The trees rustle in the soft summer wind, and Faramir can hear the voices; glimpse some who passed through these gardens: his own White Lady, standing by the marble statue of Felaróf and eagerly beckoning him; their daughter Cynwen lost in childbirth, now sits against the oak tree with her fair head bent over a book; and is that Imrahil walking there, or just a trick of the sunlight on the fountain?

Do you wake or sleep, brother, asks a well-remembered voice, as it had asked him so long ago on another day in June. Faramir smiles, his heart thundering with joy; for there, behind Elboron, comes Boromir. Elboron resembles the kinsman he never knew; and it is wondrous to behold them together; his beloved son and his beloved brother. Do I dream, Faramir asks himself.

Elboron pales as he looks at Faramir. Farther away, Aragorn calls Faramir’s name and starts to run toward him. Fear not, my son, my king; Faramir tries to tell them. This time, I go with him. And the sun dims behind a sudden cloud.


Summer--summer--summer! The soundless footsteps on the grass!


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Author’s Notes:

The last two lines (Summer--summer etc.)are shamelessly stolen from the story Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy.

Felaróf was the great white horse of Eorl, probably the ancestor of Shadowfax; ridden by Eorl when he rode to the aid of Gondor.

I have given Faramir and Éowyn two daughters in my stories, Míriel and Cynwen, along with the semi-canonical Elboron. Barahir is the only purely canon descendant of Faramir and Eowyn, he is mentioned in the ROTK appendices as Faramir’s grandson; but I'm sure most, if not all of you, know that.

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