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24
The Return of the Prodigal

The Return of the Prodigal


“Mr. Gerontius, there’s a Hobbit in the hole to see you.”

“Eh, Peach? Well, show him in.”

The candle illuminated the newcomer. A lock in his heart gave way, as if the snow atop the Great Smial had just melted. His baggage was tied with rope, the end hanging like a tail. He wore a pendant of a crystal moon. He carried a battered violin case.

“You came home!”

“Yes, Da. The ship’s boat put me ashore near the wharf of Mithlond two weeks past. Missed one fork in the road, or I’d have been here two days ago.”

“You’ve a scar!”

“Cookie’s monkey cut me with a broken bottle. It’s nothing.”

“I got but one letter.”

“Not many sheets of paper at sea, Da, and little money for messengers.”

“Have a chair, and bread and jam.” A seed of hope stirred. “Your brother Hildifons?”

Sadly, “I never found him.”



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