A Simple Gardener's Hands

A light veil of dew rested upon the blossoms below the study window as Frodo peered outside while pushing the shutters open slightly, to let in the cool morning air. The sun had just begun to rise, rousing the sweet song of every feathered being within the Shire. For a moment he stood in silence, his eyes looking westward as the rising sun began to shift away the darkness, giving life to the coming morn. His eyes then faltered, drawing down to his desk where a small candle still burned, having grown smaller with the passing night. He had yet to find sleep, struggling greatly with his writing through the long evening hours. A deep sigh passed Frodo's lips as he wearily rubbed his right hand with his left, trying to pass the stiffness from his fingers. His skin was stained black with ink, for his hand shook as he wrote, leaving small droplets of ink along the desk that he dried away with his palm. Frodo rubbed his hand again and then turned away from the window taking a seat in the chair that rested before the desk. His eyes panned over his writing, the words hardly legible under the thick lines of ink written by his hands. With a heavy sigh Frodo took a quill away from the ink pot nearby as a thin trail of black ink followed along the pages of the Red Book while his hand began to shake once more. He grasped his fingers tightly around the quill, trying to find a suitable grip to continue his writing. Again and again he repositioned his fingers. His frustration grew all the larger and soon the quill fell from his hand to the floor leaving a small blot of ink upon the cream colored rug that lay beneath his chair. Frodo drew his hand across his brow, shaking his head at his folly before coming down from his chair to dab the ink away from the floor. Gently he took a small rag and pressed it to the threads of the rug pulling the dark liquid away from its surface. With a careful hand he took the quill up from the floor and laid it back upon the desk over the open pages of his book. Frodo's eyes then focused upon his hand. So useless it now seemed since losing his third finger to Gollum's horrid bite. Such a vast space now seemed to lie between his digits as he looked again to the maimed and jagged scar that now rested where a finger should be. Frodo closed his fingers tightly, clenching his hand into a fist as he brought his hand down hard upon the desk, knocking a small stack of papers down, littering the floor around his feet. Anger and sadness filled his heart as he took in a deep breath while kneeling down to gather the papers, setting them in their rightful place. As Frodo brought the last paper up into his hand a soft hum seemed to fill the air and he stood to his feet looking through the study window to the garden beyond. There he saw Sam. His eyes bright and merry, cheeks flushed red with the touch of the morning sun. His hands were cupped around a deep red rose that had just opened and still shone with the glimmer of morning dew. Frodo smiled, watching as Sam drew the blossom close, taking in its sweet fragrance before turning away to another bud, drawing in its scent all the same. Sam ran his hands along the row of hedges scattering crystal drops of dew to and fro with the touch of his fingers. A smile fell across his face and he knelt down along the garden path pulling small patches of weeds away from the stepping stones. Still Sam hummed softly to himself, his tune falling upon Frodo's ears, warming his heart of all the evenings' troubles. Frodo then turned away from the window and made his way from the study and out into the hall. Soon he came to the bright round green door and he drew his hand to the golden knob turning it gently as he pulled the door open, making his way outside and down the side path that led to the garden.


Frodo walked in silence as he came around Bag End to Sam still working away, pulling grass and weed away from the stones of the garden path. Sam's attention then turned away to the small flowers and brambles that grew beneath the study window. He turned aside many a vermin, bugs and the like, placing them away from the petals of the tiny daisies and violets so they may find a place for a less beautiful treat. Sam dug his fingers through the soil pulling the morning dew down into the ground, while patting small mounds firmly around each plant. Frodo beamed with joy seeing the care his dear friend took with each flower that lined the walk. He then made his way to Sam and stood behind him, unnoticed for some time before reaching out his hand and touching Sam softly upon his shoulder.

"Mr. Frodo!" Sam cried turning about quickly in his place. "You right near made me jump out of my skin coming up on me like that. I should say, you let a hobbit know when you're coming about next time, you little sneak!"

"What sport would there be if I were to say I am near when I was meaning to surprise you my dear friend!" Frodo laughed as he patted Sam's shoulder. "Forgive me Sam. My night has been long and it goes on still, but I have found peace seeing you here so early this morn."

"No sleep again, Mr. Frodo sir?" Sam questioned looking to Frodo with concern.

"Nay, dear Sam." Frodo said softly. "I kept myself awake taking down notes and all, like Bilbo had asked. My hand has grown weary and I can not seem to write."

"A break seems needed then." Sam replied as he turned to the field now shining with the ever rising sun. His eyes then lit brightly as a shimmer of gold reflected in the morning light.

"Look there Mr. Frodo!" Sam exclaimed pointing out to a small sapling growing tall. "The mallorn it has blossomed. Ah! Bless the Lady of the Golden Wood for such a gift. What a wonder it is to have a beautiful gem of Lórien growing here at Bag End."

"And it would not have grown so without the help of your hands. You have done so much for the Shire with your gift from the Lady." Frodo said with a gentle smile as Sam looked his way. His cheeks then blushed and he turned his attention back to the garden pulling away a weed here and there.

"But you have done so much for the Shire too, Mr. Frodo, with your own hands." Sam softly replied. For a moment all was silent and then Sam turned to Frodo watching with saddened eyes as Frodo held his hands out before him staring at them with dismay. Sam then stood up, brushing his hands along his trousers to pass the dirt away from his palms and fingers.

"Yet my hands almost destroyed the Shire, had Gollum not taken but this one finger away." Frodo said drawing the fingers of his left hand over the empty space that lay on his right. "I've done nothing for the Shire, not by my hands dear Sam." Frodo then turned away, closing his hands tightly as they hung at his side. He said not a word as he made his way along the path before fading from Sam's sight when he came around the side of Bag End.


"Mr. Frodo?" Sam whispered as he came to the door of the study. The door was slightly opened and there before the desk Frodo sat, his head resting in his hands as he looked to the Red Book lying open beneath his elbows. He said nothing and so Sam pressed his hand on the door, opening it a bit more as he came into the study, his eyes held upon Frodo all the while.

"I meant no harm in what I said out there." Sam said quietly feeling he said something wrong earlier.

"No harm done." Frodo mumbled. "No ill words were spoken. It is just I." Sam then drew himself further into the room coming to Frodo's side as he brought his head away from his hands, looking to the candle as it finally went out, its wick fading from burning so many hours.

"I feel useless Sam." Frodo said sharply as he dropped his hands down onto the desk. "I can not write." Frodo replied, his words growing faint. "My hand can not hold to the quill and what I can get down onto the paper looks like the scrawl of a child who has yet to learn his letters. Why could I not place that accursed ring on my left hand and lose that finger instead?" Frodo grumbled holding his hand out to Sam.

"You are not useless." Sam whispered setting his hand over Frodo's. Frodo then turned away and looked down to his writing, blurred and smudged from dropping his quill and passing his palm over the ink.

"See here." Frodo replied pointing down to his words. "Not even I can read this. I promised Bilbo I would finish his book for him, yet how can I do so when I can not even get my grasp right on the quill?"

"Here now." Sam said taking a quill up into his hand. "Have you tried writing with the other hand?"

"I have." Frodo sighed. "But I am not left handed like you." Sam then dipped the quill into the ink and scrolled a few lines down in the book with a smile."

"I made a promise." Frodo said reading the words that Sam wrote. He then looked to Sam and he held the quill out to Frodo.

"Take it." Sam replied. "Hold it like you used to."

"But I can't." Frodo protested as Sam shoved the quill into his hand. Frodo then tried to place his fingers where he normally did but dropped the quill in frustration.

"See it can not be done!" Frodo snapped crossing his arms across his chest.

"Don't be so hasty Mr. Frodo!" Sam said picking the quill up once more. "Now give me your hand!" Frodo sat in silence for a moment and then he thrust his hand out to Sam as he placed the quill against his palm. Frodo watched as Sam's rough brown fingers bent each of his own fingers down onto the quill.

"Try it like that." Sam said as he pulled his hand away from Frodo's with a tender smile. Frodo looked to his hand, his fingers grasped around the quill in quite an awkward way. He then realized it was the same way Sam often held his own pen while writing.

"That's the way my Gaffer showed me how to write before Bilbo said it was the wrong way." Sam replied quietly watching as Frodo tried to familiar himself with this new hold. "I still find myself holding my pen like that time and again cause it seems much easier. Old habits die hard I guess." Sam said with a smile. Frodo then took his hand to the paper and found his words flowed more smoothly. He did not shake once and after a few passes of his hand his writing began to resemble what he remembered his words to look like just the year before. Sam then took up another quill and dipped it into the ink, writing a few more words after what he had written earlier, before setting the pen back down upon the desk. He smiled from ear to ear and set his hand on Frodo's shoulder. Sam turned away saying nothing more, as he left the study to return to his work within the garden. Frodo could hear Sam humming softly as he made his way along the garden path before taking his place down on the ground tending to the foliage once again. Frodo's eyes then fell down onto the book.

"I made a promise." Frodo read aloud as he skimmed over Sam's writing. "Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee." Frodo smiled and then took his hand to the paper again writing out slowly.

"And he don't mean to."

Frodo then set his quill down and closed the cover of the Red Book. It was time he found some rest and it had finally come with the help of a simple gardener's hands.