Frond's Marvelous Misadventures
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, except for Frond. I would also like to say that Estel doesn't really act his age in this, but please forgive me anyway.
It was a beautiful, quiet morning in Imladris. Birds were singing cheerfully in the gardens and trees, small insects were whirring softly, and butterflies flapped gracefully through the air. All the Elves were sound asleep in their beds, eyes half-open, some curled up comfortably, and others looking as if they were laid out for burial. The early morning serenity was like any other morning.
And then Estel woke up.
A few minutes later, there was a loud crash, swiftly followed by a wail. A good deal of the Elves sat bolt upright in their beds, quite a few of them reaching for weapons, and others ducking under their pillows. Elrond was sure that the Enemy had finally unleashed his vengeance on the humble Elven realm.
Glorfindel, still pulling on his robe, crashed into Erestor, who was also charging through the hallway. "Watch where you're going," snapped the advisor.
"I can't," came a muffled voice, "My head's stuck." Glorfindel almost walked into the wall, veered suddenly, tripped over Lindir's butterfly net, and descended in a blaze of glory, curses, and flowers from a nearby vase. Erestor picked the Elf up, dusted him off, and pulled the robe down firmly over his head.
"Thank you," said Glorfindel grimly, picking flower petals out of his hair.
"What was that banging sound?" asked Erestor.
"My head hitting the floor," returned the other Elf.
"No. Before that," Erestor continued unsympathetically.
"It sounded like something falling on Estel," said Glorfindel.
"What?!? He could have been squished!" cried Erestor, running down the hall again, and dragging Glorfindel behind him.
Elladan and Elrohir got to their adopted brother first. Estel was crawling around on the floor, whispering something to himself. A desk had fallen over beside him.
"What happened?" panted Elladan, straightening his circlet.
"The desk fell over," said Estel. He took a deep breath and continued, ". . .on Frond!"
"On Elrond!?!" cried Elladan. "On our father?"
"No," Estel shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Fffrrrooonnnddd. F-r-o-n- d. Frond."
"Who?" asked Elrohir blankly.
"My caterpillar," chirped Estel.
Glorfindel and Erestor burst into the room. Glorfindel looked rather wet. Erestor just looked worried.
"What happened?" demanded Glorfindel, wringing out his robe.
"The desk fell on my caterpillar!" wailed Estel. "He's all dead!"
"No, he isn't," said Elladan, plucking the escaping caterpillar from Estel's shoulder. "He's right here."
"How did he get there?" wondered Estel. "Maybe he's a flying caterpillar."
"I doubt it," said Elrohir.
Elrond and his guest, Lord Galdor, hurried into the room. "Is that my best desk?" asked Elrond.
"I don't think so," said Estel. "Not anymore."
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a look. "Estel thought that the desk had fallen on his pet caterpillar."
"Frond," added Estel.
"Oh," said Elrond. "Well, since it is morning, Glorfindel and Erestor will give you your lessons."
"Not that!" cried Estel.
"Not us!" cried Glorfindel and Erestor.
"Yes. Go on," said Elrond. "It means you'll finish early," he added.
"All right." Estel ran out of the room happily.
Glorfindel and Erestor were making a beeline for the window. Elladan and Elrohir grinned evilly.
"You can help too," Elrond continued, nodding towards his sons.
Estel was learning history. He didn't like history. He preferred writing poems. He carefully labeled his sheet of parchment, "Ode to a Caterpillar". Then he licked his pen experimentally, and began to write.
'A flash of green is seen,
It's little eyes are keen,
It's fur is soft and bright,
The caterpillar is a very wonderful sight.'
Somehow, this poem didn't seem to flow well. Estel crossed out the last line and glanced at Erestor. The advisor was daydreaming quietly in a corner, and looking out the window.
What rhymed with bright? Kite! 'The caterpillar flies a kite.' That didn't make any sense. Estel frowned grimly at the page, determined to finish his poem.
"I know!" he thought. He carefully wrote the last line again. 'It sees a happy sight.' He kept on writing.
'Estel is here to play,
He will always save the day,
The caterpillar feels glad,
To see this lovely little lad.'
Estel smirked cheerfully.
"Are you almost done your history lesson?" asked Erestor, snapping out of his own happy thoughts.
"What history lesson?" demanded Estel.
"The one I gave you to do," Erestor said.
"Definitely not," muttered Estel. He whipped out his history book. He glared at its pages with dark eyes. "This book needs more illustrations," he scowled. "It looks so boring."
A few minutes later, Erestor checked on the boy to see how his history lesson was coming. Estel was drawing pictures on his textbook!
"What are you doing?" asked Erestor in horror. He gently picked up the book and flipped a few pages. His face fell.
"I was drawing pictures on the book," piped Estel. "It wasn't very interesting."
Erestor's eyes were fixed on a picture of what appeared to be a cow with a mustache breathing fire. "What's this?"
"It's a Balrog, of course," said Estel, snatching the book back. "But I don't know what they look like."
Erestor sighed gloomily and took the book back. He flipped the page. "And what's this?"
"That's the sons of Fëanor taking the oath," said Estel. The picture showed what looked like seven muskrats doing a jig with big swords.
"And this is Smaug?" Erestor smiled as he examined the picture of a savage worm-like creature. It had fangs. He was sure that he had finally guessed correctly.
"That's Frond!" said Estel. Erestor looked at the picture again, rather shocked. The boy glanced at the table. "Where is he?"
"Frond! He's gone!"
Erestor was worried. The caterpillar had escaped. Now what was going to happen to Imladris?
Glorfindel entered the room carrying a stack of books. He was meant to be teaching Quenya to the child next. He looked at Erestor quizzically. "What's going on?"
"Frond got away!" said Estel. "He'll get squished or something!"
"He might," agreed Glorfindel. "That won't look pretty."
Erestor shot the Elf a Death Glare. Glorfindel shrugged, laid his books down on the table and began to look for the caterpillar as well.
"You know, Estel," said Glorfindel solemnly, a few minutes later. "I don't think Frond was happy living here in captivity. He must have gone back to the wild."
Estel sat on the floor miserably. "He'll get hurt. A bird might eat him."
Erestor thought back to Estel's picture. "I'm sure Frond can take care of himself."
Suddenly Glorfindel pounced. "There he is!" Estel and Erestor jumped as the Elf swooped down on the fuzzy green form of the escaping caterpillar. Frond's little legs wind-milled as he tried to get back to his window ledge.
"That's the end of your history lesson," said Erestor. "You might as well go on and play."
Estel skipped out of the room, bearing Frond away. "Thanks!" he shouted over his shoulder.
"So this is your little friend," said Lindir, tossing his butterfly catching net down and stroking the small huddled figure of Estel's new pet.
"He's purring," said Estel happily, holding the creature to his ear.
"He's a beautiful caterpillar," said Lindir, "and one day he will be a beautiful butterfly."
"Moth," said Glorfindel, from where he was writing something at his desk.
Lindir frowned and continued, "He will fly around and be happy, just like every other butterfly."
"Moth," said Erestor, from where he was reading a book.
Estel giggled as Lindir stuck his tongue out sideways at the two unconcerned Elves and went on, "And he will be the most beautiful butterfly. . ."
"Moth," said Glorfindel and Erestor together.
". . .MOTH to ever fly over Middle-Earth," said Lindir, giving up. And no wonder.
"I'm making a fort for Frond," said Estel. "I'm going to call it Frond's Fort."
"That's very nice," said Erestor.
"It will be just like Imladris. I will give it a little moat and little waterfalls," said Estel. He carefully began to mold his fort. He made a small hill and stuck a stick in the middle. He gently put Frond on the twig to eat the leaves. Then he dug a moat round the outside. He scored the hill with little channels and marks. He got a bucket of water. Then Estel dumped the water on his hill. Frond clung to his twig valiantly. Erestor and Glorfindel rushed to save the innocent animal before it drowned.
"It can swim," said Estel. "Don't worry."
"Caterpillars don't like sudden showers," said Glorfindel, rubbing the caterpillar dry on his robe.
"Mine does," said Estel proudly.
That afternoon Elrond gave Estel a bath. Estel splashed unconcernedly around and then announced, "Frond's in here. He can swim."
Elrond rushed to the caterpillar's aid. He saw Frond swimming frantically in the bath water. "It can swim," he said, mystified.
Frond went under for the third time before their startled eyes. Elrond whisked it out and put it on a towel. It rolled around pathetically, coughing up water and wheezing feebly.
Elrond went to get more soap. For all he knew, the caterpillar might give his adopted son a horrible disease. Estel plucked the caterpillar up and put it on the soap dish.
"It's a boat," he said. "You're going to be like my grandfather and sail all the way to Valinor."
Frond peered anxiously over the side.
"Storm at sea!" hollered Estel, making gigantic waves.
Frond searched for a life boat.
Estel swept a huge wave over the boat. Frond bailed out.
"That didn't happen to grandfather," said Estel.
Tiny feet paddled furiously as Frond swam for shore.
Frond dragged himself over the side of the bath tup and fell off the edge. Elrond entered the room, saw the plummeting caterpillar and caught it before it hit the ground.
"Frond doesn't look very well," said Elrond. "He looks seasick."
"He's always green," said Estel. "Maybe he's lonely. I'll make him a friend."
Estel was making a caramel caterpillar for Frond. Elladan and Elrohir helped him heat up the mixture before pouring it into a pan to dry. Finally, Estel cut the caramel into 'caterpillar shapes'.
"Here, Frond," he said. "Have one. It's a friend."
Frond fastened his tiny teeth into the caramel caterpillar's head.
"Don't eat it!" shrieked Estel. "You're meant to play with it." He popped a piece into his mouth without thinking.
Frond was traumatized for life.
Galdor was drinking tea in the conservatory when Estel bounced into the room.
"Look at my pet! It's Frond the Caterpillar," said Estel. "The Amazing Caterpillar."
Galdor did not like caterpillars. In fact, he had disliked them immensely ever since his sister had fed him one when he was three. He shuddered.
"Stroke his soft green fur," commanded Estel.
The only thing Galdor could think about was a tiny furry object going down his throat. Most disturbing. He still had nightmares about it. Tentatively, he stuck out a finger, and brushed it lightly over the top of Frond's head.
Frond, exasperated by the day's events, lashed out. Caterpillars can smell fear.
"It bit me!" cried Galdor. He managed to refrain from saying words Estel would never have heard before.
"What bit you?" asked Glorfindel, sticking his head round the door. "Estel?"
"No. His caterpillar," said Galdor dramatically. "I don't like caterpillars!"
Estel sighed. "No one likes Frond," he said.
"Lot's of people like Frond," lied Glorfindel. "But I think Frond should go back to where he belongs."
Estel sniffed sadly.
"I think Frond has had enough," continued Glorfindel. "He's turned savage."
"Not to mention," mentioned Erestor, "I have a deep suspicion that this is a Mirkwood caterpillar."
Galdor turned pale.
"Mirkwood caterpillar?" asked Estel.
"They turn into huge moths with big purple wings," said Erestor. "And huge eyes that glow in the dark."
"Don't scare the child," said Glorfindel, grinning.
"They've been known to turn on their owners," continued Erestor.
"Good-bye Frond," said Estel quickly. "I had fun. It's been nice knowing you."
Frond scrambled out the window. Three Elves heaved sighs of relief.
"I want a pet spider," said Estel.