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A Journey through Arda
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Lilies and Sympathy

13. Balar: unanswered prayers or pleas
Sam Gamgee, Elrond


Lilies and Sympathy

Elrond entered the glass house and paused, realizing he was not alone. Apparently small Master Samwise had found this place. Well, of course he would! He was both a Hobbit and a gardener, after all; it was likely the flowers here had been calling for him to visit them from the first—they loved to be admired and cherished, after all.

The Elf moved closer in order to ascertain the focus of the Hobbit’s attention, and realized he was examining a row of potted lilies. Elrond was not surprised to see that he was gently fingering each blossoming white lily in the row, turning the bloom this way and that, gently looking each leaf over for mealy worms or other pests, looking down at stamens and pistils, seeing that the anthers were full of pollen, and then leaning over to fill himself with their sweet perfume.

“They are lovely, aren’t they?” Elrond asked as Sam straightened once more, a smile on his face.

The Hobbit appeared startled, and gave the quick bob that appeared to serve him in lieu of a bow. “I’m sorry, Master Elrond, sir. Hope as I’m welcome here.”

Elrond smiled reassuringly. “Oh, that you are, and I must say that the flowers appear to be very pleased to have you visit them.”

“Thank you, sir. And I must say as I’ve been happy to find this place. Didn’t realize as you’d have glass houses, although I can’t say as why I’m surprised. You’ve been here a fair time, I’d guess, and I’ve seen some flowers and vegetables as shouldn’t be as fresh as they are were they t’come from the gardens, like.” At Elrond’s nod, he continued, “And these lilies, these Elven lilies—I’m so glad t’see them in particular. Make me feel more at home, don’t you know. I mean, old Mr. Bilbo—he brought some home from his own adventure and planted them in Bag End’s gardens. We have them growing ’neath the study window and under the lilacs, and a goodly number under my Mr. Frodo’s bedroom window, too. He favors them a good deal—says as they remind him of his mother.”

Elrond grew more solemn. “Do they really? A good part of why I grow them is because they were a favorite of my own mother. She grew them outside our tower home, and always had forced starts of them in the winter in her solar. They comforted her when my father was away on voyages.”

“She gone, then?” Sam asked, sympathy plain in his voice.

“Many yeni, now. When the Feanorians came hoping to claim the Nauglamir and the Silmaril in its center from her, she took it and threw herself out of the window, and shifted into the form of a great sea bird and flew west with it, in search of my father. It was told us by Lord Eonwë when he came to lead the armies that fought Morgoth in the War of Wrath that she found him, and with the light of the Silmaril to guide him, he was able to bring their ship at last to the shores of Valinor, and so he was able to fulfill his quest. But the cost of that success was that they could not return to us.”

“Did you miss them?” Sam’s voice was gentle.

Elrond looked into his earnest brown eyes and smiled sadly. “Oh, yes, that we did, my brother Elros and I. Círdan sent Elves from Balar to aid us, once he was aware of the attack on Sirion; but they arrived too late to protect us. By the time they arrived all was done. Our mother was fled, and too many were dead, and Elros and I had been carried away. It was true that Maglor and Maedhros were very kind to us, but it wasn’t the same as being with our parents.” He sighed, and turned his gaze on the lilies, brooding on them. “We used to pray that the Powers would send them back to us, our adar and naneth, but they never returned to our comfort.”

He felt a hand on his, and realized that Samwise Gamgee had drawn close; and he accepted the comfort of the Hobbit’s company.


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