“Where is that dratted boy?”
“Nehemion! Nehmeion, come ‘ere!”
“Nehmion, you stupie, come ‘ere now!”
He wiggled closer to the wall behind the hedge next to the wash-house, tears tracking his scratched face. Everyone was angry at him today, even his gentle cousin Rose. It hurt that his sister Lily had used that old nickname, after Lady Silma had said his true name should be used instead, now that they worked at House Ornamir. Now that it was not only a noble House, but also the House of Hammer & Forge, embassy of the Dweorg, it was important to be and do their best.
But he was a flat failure….too big and clumsy, too stupid to be good. Stifling a sob, he rubbed his face, adding another layer to the grime already on his features.
It hadn’t started out as a bad day, he thought. He’d woken before dawn and gone to the wash-house as soon as he pulled on his tunic and trews. Only yesterday, the Dweorg who had come to help Lord Gimli remake the Great Gates had descended on it, and now, newly whitewashed, scrubbed and swept, it boasted a pump inside, new tubs and shelves, and the clutter cleared to neatness. Rose had been delighted, exclaiming how much easier doing the laundry would be. For the rest of the day, neighbors’ servants had slipped in and out, marveling enviously at its convenience and sensible design. Everyone in the House had felt proud of it, even him.
But this morning, Rose had disappeared. Lily was cross at having to do all their chores, and snapped at him for trying to help. Aunt had rapped his knuckles with her big spoon when he spilled some of the big pot of oatmeal. He’d thought it would help, moving it from the fire for her before it burned, but she scolded him for several minutes because she had slipped on the gluey mess, getting it all over her new shoes. Then, while they broke their fast, Rose had come back, and she and Lily, normally the closest of his kin, had had a fight…. The two girls had looked so funny down on the floor, their legs kicking the air in a froth of petticoats, that a high-pitched giggle had escaped his mouth like steam from a boiling pot, even though it scared him deep down to see them squalling and slapping and pulling hair. Next thing he knew, Uncle Samno, the buhdelier, had hauled him out of the room by his ear. “That’s enough out o’ you, boy!” he had fumed. “Fine t’-do! I expect foolishness from you, not them! But no matter ‘ow foolish females c’n get, you shouldn’t ought’a’ laugh when one might ‘urt t’other, not when ‘tis kin! You should be ‘shamed o’ yourself! Now fetch more wood for the wood-box, you lazy lump! An’ don’t blubber! You’re too big for this!”
Nehemion had obeyed, then slipped silently upstairs. He knew that he shouldn’t, but finding out that Lily was in more trouble than Rose, taken to Lady Silwen’s chamber, scared him. Of all his family, he loved her and Rose the best. Their anger had shaken him worse than Aunt and Uncle’s wrath. So he had spent the morning, instead of at his chores of fetching and lifting, sweeping and scrubbing, hiding just up the steps from Lady Silwen’s chamber. When that august personage had gone inside later with Rose, he had found the courage to creep closer, lying flat on the floor so he could hear their voices through the crack at the bottom. He’d barely had time to scramble out of sight before the door had opened again, but he had gone back after Rose, biting her lip anxiously, came out and had gone downstairs.
Lily had talked with Lady Silwen about the Valar, and Nehemion hadn’t understood much of that. Later, after the noon morsel, as he scrubbed pots in the kitchen, he’d asked Aunt, “Wot’s a altar?”
She had actually paused in kneading some dough to frown at him. “An altar? Nasty, ‘eathan thing! Where’d you get that word from?” the cook had demanded.
“Lily ast the lady ‘bout it, in ‘er room,” he’d said. “She’s got ‘un in t’corner.” Oh, no! he’d berated himself. Now I’ll be in trouble for a-knowin’ ‘at!
“Wot’s this ‘e’s talkin’ o’, Lily?” Aunt transferred her attention to Lily as she came in with her arms full of folded towels. “Summat ‘bout a altar?”
Lily tossed her head. “I looked at it in ‘er parlor this morn,” she answered pertly. “’Tis for the King o’ the Waters, ‘cos she’s from Dol Amroth. My patron Vala is Lady Nienna the Grey. I think I want a little table so’s I c’n ‘ave one in m’ room,” as Rose put in, “Our room, for now. Over on your side, I ‘spose.”
“Think again, an’ don’t you get high-nosed an’ toss your head with me, missy!” Aunt had said angrily. “Mayhap the Lady does ‘ave such, bein’ from away, an’ noble, but such things ain’t for such as us! Ain’t nobody in our fam’ly’s ever took t’ such ways, an’ you ain’t a-startin’ now! Next you’ll be callin’ on the Unmaker, to our eternal shame!”
“I c’n worship a Vala ‘f I want!” Lily had flared.
“Why the Weeper, o’ all o’ ‘em, anyway?” Rose had asked. “I would ‘a’ thought if any, you’d choose the Dancer.”
“Don’t you start, Rose!” Aunt had snapped. “I won’t ‘ave no such wicked talk in my kitchen, you ‘ear? No decent ord’nary folk worship, less’n t’ call on the Valar in times o’ danger or celebration, an’ not fancy-like with no little tables an’ smells an’ bells. You ain’t no Elf nor High Men, t’ call on ‘em, nor no Dwarf neither. Decent folk don’t ‘ave nothin’ t’ do with ‘em ‘til Lord Mandos judges ‘em, an’ you ain’t dead yet!”
Lily’s eyes snapped. “The Valar ‘elp us be better! Why shouldn’t we show ‘em ‘onour?”
“I won’t ‘ave no backtalk from a minx wot was in trouble just this morn!” Aunt exclaimed.
To everyone’s astonishment, Lily had suddenly clapped her hand to her apron pocket and closed her eyes for an instant. When she spoke, it was in a quiet tone they’d never heard from her. “Oh, rudder! Aunt, I’m sorry you think I spoke out o’ turn. I don’t mean t’ upset you, truly! ‘F I worship in m’ own mind, ‘thout talkin’ ‘bout Nienna, is that all right? ‘Cos I feel in m’ ‘eart I should. You been so good t’ us, I don’t like t’ worrit you.”
“Now that sounds like a good lass,” Uncle said from the doorway. “Ain’t nobody got a right t’ tell some’un wot they think in their own mind. Just you don’t bring us into public gossip, m’ girl, an’ we’ll be all right.”
“Wot’s a rudder?” Nehemion asked.
“A thing wot steers a boat,” Uncle had said. “An’ I don’t want t’ ‘ear o’ you runnin’ off down t’ Harlond t’ look at none, Stupie! You c’ud fall in the water an’ get drownded dead. Ain’t you got nothin’ t’ do?”
He had backed up to open the yard door, there was an agonized yelp that made him jump, and a white blur shot out and across the yard. Snowball the cat hated having his tail trod on.
“Clumsy lout, Stupie!” cried his aunt. “Watch your big feet! Go see ‘f ‘e’s ‘urt, poor puss!”
Snowball had raked his face and arm when he tried to pick him up, they got tangled up in and pulled down some of Rose’s sheets hung to dry from the high hedge, draggled in the mud, and the tom had streaked away and over the wall. He’d lost him! And not only was he Aunt’s cat, but a hero of a cat, for he’d been prepared to save Lady Silma from her bad brother whose name he mustn’t say! As Rose’s cries brought the others into the yard, Nehemion had slid behind the hedge and along it to the corner by the wash-house.
He emerged after the girls vanished into the wash-house to redo the sheets, and his aunt and uncle were back inside. Assured that no one was visible to see him, he quickly scaled the wall, jumped down into the alley, and ran, trying to spot a large white tomcat.
Two hours later, he wiped his face. Some boys had teased him—nothing unusual about that—but he had gotten so angry he’d taken off one shoe and thrown it at them. They scattered, but not before one brat had snatched up it up and threw it in a rain-barrel. Gloomily, Nehemion retrieved it, took off its mate, and tied them together over one arm. He’d get into even more trouble without them; Uncle wouldn’t let him answer the front door if he wasn’t shod. They were Uncle’s castoffs, like the rest of his possessions, and pinched his toes and rubbed his heels, so he took them off every chance he got. A source of pride when he was given them, they had become one of the banes of his life. The wet one would probably shrink, even worse on his feet, but he didn’t like to ask for a new pair, as beholden as he and Lily were.
A plaintive mew drew his eyes upwards, and he squinted. Was that a flash of silvery white?
Dropping the shoes, he began to climb up the wall, finding finger- and toe-holds in the stones. He knew as well as any other boy in Minas Tirith that it was forbidden to try climbing the walls between the Circles, if only for the danger of a possible fall, but one time Rill had climbed all the way around almost all the Circles without touching the ground once, and when the Guards had threatened to put him in the gaol, Captain-General Boromir, who’d later died in glory somewhere far away with the Fellowship that included Lord Gimli and his friend Legolas the Elf and the King and Mithrandir and the Hobbitses, saving the world, Lord Boromir had laughed and told them to leave Rill alone, and that was why Rill had gotten to be a Guard fighting at the Great Gates. Even if he’d been crippled for life by that service, he’d still been able to do far more than a simpleton like Nehemion, who admired him and anyone both clever and nimble.
What with all the repairs after the siege concentrated on the worst damage down in the lower Circles, there were still a plenty of cracks and crevices to aid him upward, until he reached a small ledge, where he found himself looking into scared golden eyes. A tiny kitten huddled there, ears flat against its head.
“’Ere, you wee moggie,” Nehemion crooned. “’ow’d you get up ‘ere? C’mon, ‘nen, I won’t ‘urt you.” He lifted one hand to pet it, and almost fell, managing to save himself with a gasp. A glance downward showed him how high he had gotten—he wished he hadn’t looked; a fall would kill or hurt him bad, for sure and certain! Flattening himself against the uneven rocks, he panted for a moment. Best not to look down again!
But then he did, because he thought he’d seen something—
Down below and to the left, behind some bushes next to a bench, a child was lying on the ground.
That couldn’t be right! The boy lay on his side, very still, and something told Nehemion that he wasn’t asleep or hiding.
Something touched his head. Raising it, he looked up into the kitten’s face; it had dabbed at his hair with one paw. “Wot—“
The little cat rose and stretched out its front, putting both forepaws on his head. Seconds later, his back paws followed. Without thinking, Nehemion had tipped his head forward, so the cat was balanced on the top of it, its claws anchoring it firmly to his head and scalp.
Gritting his teeth, Nehemion managed to reach up, detach two paws and gently direct them to his shoulders so that the kitten was draped over them, and climbed down as fast as he could. Forgetting his shoes, he ran to one of the deserted houses, with its gate ajar in a low fence and beyond it a garden. He pushed through the bushes, and there just lifting his head woozily was the boy on the other side of the bench, in deep grass.
“You all right?” he asked anxiously, kneeling down. The kitten peered down, with a questioning mew.
The boy—no, not a young boy, not with those big hairy feet, for all his shortness—opened his eyes.
Nehemion sat back on his heels. “You’m one o’ they Periannath!” he gasped. “You’m one o’ the Ringbearers wot’s friends with Lord Gimli! Easy!” as the Hobbit tried to sit up. Nehemion slid an arm under his thin shoulders and helped him. “Are you hurted?”
Deep eyes, shadowed with pain, looked up at him. “No, thank you. I just—slid off the bench.”
“C’n I ‘elp you get t’ the guest’ouse, Master, I mean my lord? I know where ‘tis, and Lady Silma’s learnt me ‘ow t’ lift sick folkses gentle so’s I don’t ‘urt ‘em.”
“Yes, please. What’s your name?’
He hung his head, eyes filling with tears. “Stupie.”
From Nehemion’s arms, Frodo Baggins knocked on the door and in moments they heard approaching footsteps. Another of the Periannath, sturdier, with sandy hair and an open-necked shirt under a sleeveless tunic opened the door, saying over his shoulder, “Dunno when ‘e went out! I thought ‘e was takin’ a nap in the parlor! ’Ere ‘e is!”
“Safe and sound, Sam, thanks to my new friend’s kindness,” Frodo said.
“Wot ‘appened? This way, please, Master,” said Sam, and led the way to a parlor, where at his gesture, Nehemion carefully laid his light burden on a sofa. Two others like the Halflings were standing there, one in the green tunic of a Rider, the other in black-and-silver.
“I seen ‘im a-lyin’ on the ground be’ind some bushes,” Nehemion said, “an’ seemed best t’ bring ‘im ‘ere.”
“Would you fetch his flask, please, Merry? “Tis in the kitchen,” Sam said, and the Rider, Ser Meriadoc Holdwine, hastened out of the room.
“Do we need to send for Strider?” asked Captain Peregrin.
“No, I’m fine! I thought I’d surprise you all with some mushrooms, and when I got there, I felt a bit winded, so I sat on the bench, and—and just slid off it. I only shut my eyes for a few minutes to rest, and fell asleep,” said Frodo.
“Bad night caught up with you, I expect,” said Ser Meriadoc casually—but Nehemion saw the worry in his eyes.
“Which ‘splains why your hands’re a-shake,” Sam growled as Pippin hurried in and handed him a flask which Sam handed to Frodo, steadying his hands as he drank. “You just set an’ rest, Mr. Frodo. You, young Master, you come with me a minute.”
Nehemion followed him out to a comfortable kitchen, absently stroking the kitten purring in his ear.
“'Ow’d you come t’ find ‘im? I know that bench; Frodo likes it because sittin’ on it, ‘e’s not visible to anyone on the street. ‘Twas in the garden a few doors down, with the mushrooms an’ empty ‘ouse, wasn’t it?’
Nehemion nodded. “Yes, ser, Master Sam.”
“Then ‘ow is it you saw ‘im? The truth, mind!”
So Nehemion found himself telling him all about his awful day, and how he’d rescued the kitten and seen the Ringbearer. “I thought ‘twas a lad at first, ‘til I seen ‘is feet, no offense meant—“
“None taken,” Sam assured him. “But where’s your shoes, now you mention ‘em?”
“I took ‘em off t’ climb—well, I took off the one wasn’t all wet by the one boy put it in the rain-barrel, an’ likely it’s shrunk from the wet,” Nehemion said glumly. “An’ I was so worrited ‘bout the Ringbearer, I come straight ‘ere with ‘im. Reckon them boys’ve made off with ‘em, or a dog or summat, way m’ day’s goin’. Will ‘e be all right?”
“’E ain’t so well’s ‘e could be,” Sam said slowly. “An’ ‘tis ‘ard for ‘im t’ bear, sometimes.”
Nehemion nodded vigorously. “’Tis so with the ‘urt folk at the ‘Ouse.”
“This is Lady Silma’s home?”
“’Twas ‘Ouse Ornamir, but Lady Silma an’ Lady Silwen let it to Lord Gimli, so now ‘tis the ‘Ouse o’ “Ammer an’ Forge. Aunt’s cook, an’ Uncle Feren’s the buhdelier, an’ my sister Lily an’ cousin Rose’re maids.”
“An’ what do you do?”
“Uncle says ‘tis called a footman, only they don’t care ‘bout my feet ‘less’n I ain’t got m’ shoes on when I answers the door. I does the liftin’ an’ movin’ an’ scrubbin’ an’ so on, the ‘eavy work.”
“Do you like what you do?” asked a different voice.
Nehemion ducked his head as the Halfling Rider came into the room. “’M lucky t’ ‘ave a job, my lord.”
“I’m not a lord, lad, I’m Merry Brandybuck.”
“You’re Ser Holdwine. I knows from Lord Erragol an’ t’other Riders at the ‘Ouse,” Nehemion nodded. “Cap’n, ser.”
“Frodo said your name’s Stupie. An odd name.”
“’Tis a nickname, like.”
“Is it short for something?’
Nehemion was so ashamed, he looked down at his bruised and blistered feet. “Stupid,” he whispered.
“What—“ Merry began angrily, and cut off as Sam moved one hand.
“Why don’t you take this tray o’ fruit t’ Frodo while I ‘ave our new friend ‘elp me,” Sam suggested.
“Good idea,” Merry agreed after a moment, as Sam showed him where to wash his face and hands at a sink before he beckoned Neheminon out the back door into a pretty garden.
Nehemion looked around in delight. “Oh!” he said in pleasure.
The kitten suddenly jumped down and headed for a green patch to one side.
“D’you like gardens?”
“Aye, I do! I c’n weed, ‘f folks show me wot t’ pull. Wot’s ‘at ‘ere? Is ‘e sick?”
Sam looked at the cat, lying on its back and rolling amid downy grey-green leaves and purple-spotted white flowers, all four paws in the air, and grinned. “Nay, ‘tis neprup. That’s a fancy name; Mum used t’ call it catrup or field balm. Makes a good tea for babes with colic, an’ for colds an’ bellyaches. M' mum used t’ use it for flavourin’ meats an’ in stews, an’ Mister Bilbo swore by it in ‘is leaf salad an’ soups. M’ sister Marigold used a wash o’ it t’ get rid o’ hair flakes an’ skin spots. Cats love it; reckon your pet does too.”
“’E’s not mine,” Nehemion said regretfully, and found himself telling Sam all about his day. “So I lost both my shoon an’ Aunt’s cat,” he ended sadly.
Feren Samno’s jaw dropped as he swung open the front door. Standing on the top step was his errant, barefooted nephew, a black and silver tabby kitten draped around his neck, with a basket of pot plants cradled in his arms. And next to him, resplendent in a noble’s mantle and circlet on his wavy hair, one of the Periannath.
“’Evenin’,” said Lord Panhael pleasantly. “Might I ‘ave a word with you an’ your wife, Master Samno?”
Conducted down to the kitchen, Lord Panhael surveyed the room and sniffed the air as the two maids and cook rose, eyes wide. “Is 'at coney stew I smell?”
Aunt curtseyed. “Aye, mas—my lord, ‘tis.”
“Smells ‘s good’s my mum’s. Now, I come t’ tell you somethin’.”
“Is m’ brother in trouble?” asked the darker of the two maids. “’Cos ‘e’s a good boy, is Stupie, for all ‘e’s slow.”
Sam looked at them, subtly drawing together on one side of the table, and shook his head. “Your brother’s a good lad, an’ you should be proud o’ ‘im. Not many ‘is age ‘ud search for ‘is aunt’s lost cat, an’ climb a wall a-tryin’ t’ rescue ‘er, even if the cat ‘e ‘eard turned out t’ be this kitten. Lucky for us ‘e ‘as such a kind ‘eart, too, ‘cos bein’ so ‘igh up, ‘e noticed the Ringbearer ‘ad fallen. Nehemion rescued the kit an' Master Frodo, an’ we Hobbits’re obliged t’ ‘im.” He bowed to Nehemion. “I do thank’ee, Master Nehemion. Frodo’s ‘bout the most valuablest person ever t’ come out o’ the Shire. ‘E’s fine, ain’t taken no ‘urt, but I’m glad ‘e wasn’t layin’ on the ground for any longer.
“Master Samno, I got a couple o’ favours t’ ask you, if you don’t mind, an’ with Lady Silwen’s approval.”
“Of course, my lord Panhael!”
“Well, that’s one, right there—we prefer bein’ called master, like you, not lord. I’m just plain Sam Gamgee, when all’s said an’ done, a gardener from the Shire. I talked with your grandson a bit, an’ like most young’uns, ‘e’s not too sure what ‘is path will be. It troubles me ‘e seems t’ think an old nickname like Stupid’s a good fit for the Man ‘e’s growin’ into. Not knowin’ somethin’ ain’t the same’s bein’ a fool, or black-‘earted, you know. Might take ‘im a bit longer t’ learn summat’n another person. I got a cousin once removed over t’ Tighfield, workin’ for my uncle Andwise Roper at ‘is ropewalk. Truth t’ tell, ‘e’s a mite simple, but ever so good at what ‘e does, an’ so faithful, Uncle Andy trusts ‘im with all but the accounts. What ‘e knows, ‘e does perfect, with great care an’ devotion. Took a long time t’ figure out what tasks best suited ‘im, but oncet they did, ‘e done just fine.
“Nehemion, ‘e tells me that ‘e’s grateful for you an’ your good wife givin’ ‘im an’ ‘is sister an' cousin work an’ findin’ ‘em ‘ouseroom. Seems t’ me you’ve all been so busy doin’ all you got t’do, you ain’t ‘ad much time t’ think ‘bout the lad. As I said, ‘e ‘as a good ‘eart, and ‘e’s proud o’ what ‘e does ‘ere. But ‘e’s lonely, and ‘e don’t know what else ‘e c’n do. Now, I talked with ‘im, and I told ‘im summat ‘bout catrup, ‘cos o’ the kitten findin’ a patch in the guest’ouse garden. Nehemion remembered it all, perfect, after that one tellin’, an’ I seed for myelf ‘at ‘e sems t’ ‘ave the green touch for plants. I showed ‘im some different ones, an’ ‘e was able t’ tell me where some of ‘tm are in what parts o’ Minas Tirith.
“Legolas an’ I promised the King as we’d do what we can to put more green in your city, trees an’ flowers an’ bushes an’ such. Might I borrow Nehemion a few mornin’s or afternoons a week, t’ ‘elp me with this afore I go? Some o’ the work’ll be rough, mind, so ‘e’ll need a burlap apron an’ rough clothes as ain’t hurt by dirt. At first it’d be ‘im ‘oldin’ things steady for me, an’ waterin’, but I’ll teach ‘im as much’s I can, an’ ‘f ‘e does well, put ‘im in the way o’ apprenticin’ with Master Longoniel, the gardener up t’ the Citadel wot keeps the kitchen gardens and the Place o’ the Tree tidy. For the times we’d be a-workin’ there, e’d need some nicer clothes, it bein’ so special an’ ‘oly a place to you folks, an’ a canvas apron. But ‘e’d be on ‘is feet a lot, so, not bein’ a Hobbit like me, ‘e’d need proper boots, ‘s well’s shoes for ‘is work ‘ere.
“We Hobbits is grateful for what ‘e done for Frodo t’day, so we’d like t’ give Neheminon two outfits an’ the footwear as a present. An’ ‘tis my belief ‘at one day, you’ll be proud o’ ‘im. ‘Ow ‘bout it, Neheminon? Would you like t’ work with plants an’ me?”
“Aye, I would do, Master Sam!” Nehemion looked anxiously at his uncle and aunt. “Can I? Please? I’ll work ‘ard!”
“We got t’ talk t’ Lady Silwen, mind,” said his uncle. “Vanessë?”
Aunt smiled at her nephew. “Lor—Master Sam’s right, you are a good lad, Stu—Nehemion. You bring your little cat over ‘ere, so’s we c’n butter ‘is paws. That way, ‘e’ll always come ‘ome. But you got t’ pay ‘tention t’ wot you do, or you would’a’ noticed afore ‘at Snowball’s right over there on the ‘earth. She come back less’n a candlemark after she run away.”
“’At’s a funny-lookin’ little cat,” Lily said. “Wot’s amiss with ‘is ears, all bent down like they are? Are they broke?”
Nehemion stroked the cat protectively. “Ain’t naught amiss! ‘E’s just right for ‘im!”
“He’s a breed of cat from the Pinnath Gelin,” said a voice from the door, and all rose and bowed or curtseyed to Lady Silwen as she came in with Lady Gilannis behind her. “Long-haired ones are called Hill Folds, and the shorter-haired ones are Owl Folds, because the ears fold close to the skull, They hear as well as any other cat, it’s just a characteristic bred into them, along with the round heads, cobby bodies, and big round eyes like an owl, instead of longer heads, leaner bodies and slant-eyes like our commoner housecats. Your kitten should grow up to be a handsome little cat, Nehemion. I do like silver tabbies, although usually the background colour is white instead of jet black like his. At twilight, you’ll likely see only his silver swirls, and those glowing eyes. What will you name him?”
“Silver,” Nehemion replied shyly.
“A good name,” she said approvingly. “Snowball will probably growl or hiss at him for a few days, but they’ll get to be good friends, you’ll see. A pleasure to see you, Master Gamgee. When would you like your new helper to start?”
“Mid-morn t’morrow, ‘f ‘is work 'ere’s done, my lady,” Sam replied with a bow. “Meet me up by the White Tree at the Citadel, lad. I’ll tell the Guards t’ let you up. If you’ll all please ‘scuse me, I got t’ go. I promised I’d cook supper t’night.”
“I’ll see you out,” said Uncle.
As they disappeared with Ladies Silwen and Gil, Aunt pointed to a stool at the end of the table. “Rose, get out two o’ them little red bowls an’ fill one with water an’ t’other with scraps for Silver. Lily, fetch some o’ that comfrey ointment an’ clean rags an’ some warm water so’s we c’n tend them feet o’ your brother’s. Best you begin a-knittin’ ‘im some stockin’s t’ wear with ‘is new shoes an’ boots. ’Magine Nehemion ‘avin’ bespoke clothes from the zzzzz,Periannath! ”
“I am proud o’ you, Stu—Nehemion,” Lily said, patting his shoulder. “Reckon ‘tis an ‘honour, workin’ for Master Sam! Mind you keep patient while we gets used t’ callin’ you by your right name.”
Rose smiled too. “”Tis nice t’ see you smile, Cousin!”
Nehemion grinned. “’Tis a good day! I found more’n I bargained for, when I run out! Reckon I sh’uld give Snowball some neprup for takin’ off out o’ the yard!”
The Owl Folds and Hill Folds are based on Scottish Folds and Highland Folds; their folded ears, which are somewhat like airplane flaps, are a genetic mutation noticed first on a Scottish farm in 1964, and now recognized as a breed. They are sweet, affectionate little cats, and this is in memory of Robbie Burns McDowell (a red tabby) and Periwinkle, aka Shadow Cat, Ghost Cat, and the Highland Slinker (silver tabby on a black background), both males and both deeply missed.