Title: A Letter Home

Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End

E-mail: febobe at yahoo dot com

Characters: Samwise, others by reference (including the Gaffer, Frodo, etc.).

Rating: PG. This story falls within the guidelines of the FrodoHealers group in both letter and spirit, free from profanity or sexual content.

Feedback: Welcomed. Constructive only, please. . .no flaming.

Summary: After the Quest's end at Mount Doom, Samwise writes home from Minas Tirith. . . .

Story Notes: This version is slightly altered from the original in that ff dot net "eats" my strikethroughs for Sam's crossed-out words and lines. If ANYONE knows how to put strikethroughs in successfully, please do let me know and I will replace this with the corrected version at once! Thank you! So where you see something strange, like misspellings or words run together, that's Sam's handiwork, but missing the strikethrough!

For permission to reproduce any part of this fanfic, please contact febobe at yahoo dot com.

DISCLAIMER: The characters, places, and story of The Lord of the Rings are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and consequently of the Tolkien Estate, with select rights by Tolkien Enterprises. This piece appears purely as fanfiction and is not intended to claim ownership of Tolkien's work in any way. Please e-mail me if you have concerns. Original characters presented are my own work; please do not use my creations in your work. Please respect my original contributions. Furthermore, please do NOT consider any treatments or remedies within this story safe or effective for use: these are included as fictitious hobbit care, not real human medical practice, and while some can indeed be traced to actual therapeutic practices, could be dangerous. Please consult your health care professional before treating yourself or others for any condition or symptom.

for my daddy ("I like just about anything that's green or blooms. . . .")

A LETTER HOME

To Gaffer Hamfast Gamgee
Number 3 Bagshot Row
Hobbiton
The Shire

4 Thrimidge (May) 1419

Dear Da -

I hope this letter finds you and Marigold well and that all the rest of the family is fine. I am sorry for things getting into the uproar they did, or at least that I hear they did, after Mr. Frodo and I left, and we both hope very much that you are right as rain. Please don't be ofen offended if I say now that I hope there's someone nice as is reading this to you who won't talk it all over Hobbiton and Bywater from one end to the other. I know that's how it happens, but I did mean this letter to be for you and Marigold, and not for the whole town. So if it's Bessie Puddifoot, take the letter back and send her packing quick as you can and find someone else instead.

Mr. Frodo sends all his best and thanks you for allowing me to come. He insists I tell you that your son is one of the most honoured folk in all Middle-earth, and I wouldn't say nothing so vain-sounding except he's threatening to have one o'the new King's messengers write a big long piece if I don't say that, so I suppose I'd better.

Da, I don't know where to even start. There's been a whole great war, away South, and terrible things happening, and it would take so long to tell them all that I hardly know where to start. It would take better tellers of tales than me, I think, too, but I'll try to explain what I can of my part, to explain why I've had to be away so long, and why I'm still away. My part is really just helping Mr. Frodo, so to explain it I think I'll have to explain his too a fair bit.

The war started over ham in currant sauce. And creamed cabbage. And maple-baked onions.

Leastways that's the simplest way I know how to put it so as it'll make more sense to you and Marigold than it made to me at the start. I don't mean really ham and cabbage and onions on a real plate nor nothing, but - there's this ring, see, that Mr. Bilbo used to own that he gave to Mr. Frodo when Mr. Frodo come of age. And the ring had been made a long time ago, ages, by some bad spirit-like being, bestways I know how to say it, called Sauron, and what he wanted was to have his own way about everything. He wanted to control whatever he liked. Mr. Frodo said that meant the Shire too - the way we live, our farms, our homes, our families - and - well, meaning no disrespect, sir, but I was caught listening trying to look out for Mr. Frodo's safety, and trying to get information for Master Merry and Master Pippin, his cousins, about him maybe taking off and bolting without a word, and that's how it ended up I got into the middle of it to start. But I'll be honest and say I had the chance of keeping my nose out of it at Rivendell, and didn't, and I got right back into that too, and it was only me trying to do the right thing, like you always taught me. You taught me to serve Mr. Frodo well, and to do a job right, and to not leave a job unfinished even if I was tired or sore or hungry or homesick, and - Da, there was Mr. Frodo, and he'd been stabbed through the shoulder with a poison knife by these awful creatures, and was so ill by the time we got there that almost no one thought he'd live. Mr. Bilbo was there, and Mr. Bilbo and me were stubborn, of course. And he pulled right through, sure enough, but - there he was, at this secret meeting they had, when all them wise folk said that ring had to be destroyed at some place in this dark land far off South, and that was the only way to end the threat - and no one else was offering to take it, no one else was willing! - Da, he stood up straight and tall and said he would take it! I couldn't let him go all by himself.

And - well, Da, you know how I feel about ham in currant sauce and creamed cabbage and maple-baked onions. That's a right good meal, and it's my favourite, and it seemed to me that if somebody didn't like the world being the way it was made then somebody had just gotten too big for their breeches, as you used to say about us when we gave you sauce over anything. Raised us right, you did. I don't know who raised this fellow, if anybody, but they must not've raised him right or he'd know you can't have the whole table. It don't work that way. You get your plateful and that's that. But speaking of that, that's my favourite meal and it ain't Mr. Frodo's and he's going to be wanting his lunch in a while, so let me just get up a moment and put some vegetables in the stock before I go on. Got a good chicken stock going here. It just needs the vegetables cut up into it proper, I already washed everything and started the herbs and all. There's a fine chicken and mushroom pie in already too and taters ready to be peeled and mashed the way he likes them with butter and some salt. They bake the prettiest white bread here, and this morning I made Master some milk-toast with a bit of that, and coddled him some eggs, and made buttered toast and broke a piece into the eggs so it'd soak up the yolk real nice and golden. He'll eat that when he's feeling so poorly he about won't touch another bite of solid food, not even mushrooms, and sure enough he ate that for me with some applesauce and drank his juice and that good milky tea - cambrick tea, I think Master calls it, everything the way he wants it.

- The vegetables are in now, and I'm back. I still do for Mr. Frodo, mostly because I know the best how he likes things done. It gives me something to do too. Sitting idle don't set well with me. I'd rather be cooking something or potting a plant or looking after Master, all of which needs doing enough 'round here, if you ask me. Mr. Frodo still ain't strong again. He was real sick when they took us from the mon mounten mountain, and while I was some hurt, I got better real fast (they took good care of us, Da - there are hobbits here, too, Mr. Frodo's cousins, not just Big Folk, and they made sure things were done proper), but Mr. Frodo's never gotten back to feeling right. See, what it meant, him taking that on, was that he had to take that ring of Mr. Bilbo's to this great huge monmounten mountain away South, this place full of fire and smoke and ash and all. I don't reckon I ever really understood that so well until we got there. It's not something anyone can rightly understand until they've been there - not to sound slighting, just to say - I'd never have imagined it, and I don't think anyone even could.

Da, there are so many things I want to tell you! About Rivendell, and staying there with the elves for nigh on two months - oh, they were lovely to us there, and so kind, and I liked that better, I reckon, than almost anywhere except for Lorien, and we stayed there a month, and that's an elven-home, too, but so much bad stuff had happened to us then. There were nine of us who left Rivendell to go on that journey - Mr. Frodo and me, of course, and his cousins. Mr. Gandalf came too, and so did the King - only he weren't King yet, and we called him Strider - his name's Aragorn, and yes, sir, I do show proper respect, only I admit that the first time we met I did threaten him, because we didn't know who he was from Tom and I thought he meant to do Mr. Frodo an injury. But he's been real good to Mr. Frodo ever since, so there ain't been no trouble between us from then out. There was another man, a man from here, this city, place called Minas Tirith, the oldest son of the Steward. Boromir. I'll tell you a lot more about him in another letter, I think, or around the fire when I get home. Probably both. He's not a lot like his younger brother Faramir. If their places had'a been changed I don't know that Mr. Frodo or I would be here now. But he was good to Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin, and some things are meant to be, I reckon. The last two were an elf and a dwarf. Legolas and Gimli, they're called. And all kinds of things kept happening, real bad things - snowy weather, and we almost froze, and we had to go through these awful dark mines, and - we lost Gandalf - even now I can't stand to think about it. I can't. And I ain't hardly seen Master so broken up. I tried to do what I could for him, but it never did feel like enough. Don't think it ever will.

Anyhow, from the time we left Lorien it keeps getting more and more complicated, and I don't want to get this letter too awful of a mess. I'm sure whomever's reading it to you thinks I'm cracked in the head as it is. But it's all true, plain as the nose on my face, or I'm not Samwise Gamgee. The short of it all is this, though: there was only eight of us left, and we got split up. What happened to the others we didn't find out nothing about except Boromir (who got killed by goblins) till we all ended up back together after the end of the War. But I managed to catch Master trying to sneak off by himself, not wanting to be no trouble to nobody, and I went with him, to do for him and all, and we kept on heading toward that place he had to go. We got lost for a while in these mountains that turned us around something awful, like a maze, all foggy-like. And we got found by that awful thing Mr. Bilbo talked about meeting in the dark, that Gollum, and he tried to kill us both, but bless me if Mr. Frodo isn't the fastest hand I ever saw with a sword, and if he doesn't mean a good serious threat when he says it! The whole matter with that awful Gollum is too much to explain in one letter with everything else. I think I'll have to tell you that whole story when I'm home. But I think I understand better now what Mr. Frodo meant about having mercy, though Lor' knows it didn't make no sense at the time, and I still worry sometimes and wonder whether I did the right thing when I did what Mr. Frodo had done and let him live the last time. We ended up going through evil swamps and captured by men from Minas Tirith who didn't know about us and then after we were free, we ended up going up and up ever so high, such an awful climb, and through this horrid dark place with a giant spider and Mr. Frodo was taken by orcs goblins and by the time I was able to get to him, he was hurt, and though we managed to get out into the Black Land all right, it was a nightmare I don't reckon we'll ever forget.

Da, you told me when I was real small that no living thing can grow without food. It can't live without it. And it can't live without water. It'll dry up and dry, sure's the world.

I never saw such an evil place. There wasn't no water to speak of. Nor no plants, not proper ones anyhow. We had some food the Lady - the elven lady in Lorien - had given us for travel, and some from the men of Gondor, and those things were the saving of us. But water you have to get more often than that, as you know well, and we went on hardly any the last while. We were down to the last bits of what we had, and - truthfully, Da, the day we crawled up that big mountain that was on fire, I didn't reckon we'd ever be coming back down. And I didn't know what we'd have done if we could have. We'd long ago passed up the last bit of water, a puddle muddied by goblin-feet that we had to drink from, we were so desperate, and we were down to about a mouthful or so of that and not much of the waybread the elves had given us. I used to dream about water. I didn't dare drink; Mr. Frodo was in that fragile a state, and water was the only thing he'd still ask for, bless him - I had to coax him to get him to eat, and he barely could even move by then -

What all happened up there I'd rather save for when I get home, and maybe I can even learn one of them songs they sing here. They've made songs about it. I like the ones about Mr. Frodo best, but he says he likes the ones with me in them best, and when I tell him now, sir, you shouldn't make fun, he says he isn't making fun at all, and he smiles real serious, and I know he's not. They tell it prettier in the songs than I do trying to write it. But it was one of them mountains that blows up and breathes out fire like a dragon, and - well, we were right up there in the worst of it, and - I didn't reckon I'd ever be seeing anything again except flame and smoke and ash. I didn't want to give up, though, and just die in there, away from the sky, somehow - away from air - so we ran out, me trying to help Mr. Frodo best way I could, because his poor hand was hurt and bleeding awful bad, and we'd thrown away our packs to get rid of the extra weight, so I didn't have a thing to bind it with or nothing. But then we finally ended up on a little spot all surrounded by that stuff, with no way to run any more, and - all I remember is falling, and - when I woke up, instead of being real dizzy from not being able to breathe, I could smell clean, fresh air, and the scent of ferns and medicines and stuff, and a right sweet mingled smell that I remembered from that place we'd been when them men from Gondor captured us - and then I looked over, and - not only was I in a bed, but Mr. Frodo was there, and he was lying right there too, and he was sleeping just fine! And Gandalf was there, and - Da, it seemed like everything sad that happened in the last year was going to come untrue all at once. When I saw Mr. Frodo sit up and laugh - I thought I could have danced. I'd never thought I'd hear that sound again.

Anyhow, there was a great grand feast with the King, and - oh, Da, how I wish you could have seen it! He honoured us, and sat us on either side of him, can you imagine? And then a minstrel got up and wanted to sing about "Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom," and I - oh, Da - it was just like I dreamt of, even at the worst part, when we started to think maybe it would never happen. And when we finally came to Minas Tirith, there were feasts and parties here, too, but nothing will ever be so wonderful to me as that day was.

We stay busy with a lot of those invitations; everyone wants the Ringbearers - that's what they call me and Master, but it don't feel proper me being called that - to be at this and that and the other thing. But I finally put my foot down and said there had to be an end to it somewhere. Mr. Frodo's a gentlehobbit and he'll go till he drops dead from exhaustion, and that ain't considerate toward him at all. The captain of them men who took us is the Steward now, and he helps the King, and he's good to talk to because he understands the city and the people here but he's right smart peoplewise and bookwise, and he's fond of Mr. Frodo, so I sat him down and told him that Mr. Frodo was getting right worn out to the point of looking peaked, and that he'd said more often than not that he really wished he could lie down, or could go to bed instead of getting fixed up for some strange party or banquet or something. I told him Mr. Frodo had been through plenty without having to be out till all hours and needs his rest. Since then, people have been a sight more considerate, and Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin do a lot of those appearances instead. They like it, and it makes people happy, and it makes Mr. Frodo happy. And it makes me happy because Mr. Frodo's happy and has a little more colour in his face. The others will go out and I'll get whatever he wants for supper fixed and take it to him in the garden or in bed on a tray and make sure he's fed and then help him get settled for bed for the night. He still don't weigh much more than nothing, even with me feeding him as much of my cooking - which is what he says he likes better than anything else, and he sure eats it better than anything else we've tried feeding him - as he'll eat.

Which brings me to the reason I'm not come home yet, and won't be till Mr. Frodo comes, which I don't know yet when that'll be, except that it's at least a good many months off still. I know he does want to see the Shire again as soon as he can, but - he's right sick still, real sick, Da, even though he tries not to admit it to nobody. Everybody knows, though, I think. And everybody tries to help him even when he won't let himself be helped. But it's me he'll let help him when he won't let the others come near him, and - well, Da, Big People ain't hobbits, and you're right in that for all how grand the elves may be, they ain't like us plain folk. And even though Mr. Frodo's a sight more like them than he is to a lot of hobbits, strange as that may sound - you'd understand if only you could see him when he's with them - he still is a hobbit, and he still needs and wants good hobbit food and plain hobbit comforts, like a feather-bed with clean sheets and plumped pillows, or plain mushroom soup, not made all fancy, just good plain simple mushroom soup that'll set real fine on a touchy stomach. They don't know when he'll ever be well again, if he will at all, the healers here don't, not even the King, who knows more about that kind of thing than anybody else here, learned it special, and took care of both of us when they brought us down from that mountain. It breaks my heart in two, Da, that he put this stuff, this special cream, on my hands and arms and legs and feet and made it so I don't have a mark on me, but Mr. Frodo has scars that I reckon he'll carry till the day he dies, from what we're told, and there ain't nothing any of us can do about it! Stri The King says he couldn't do any more for Mr. Frodo than he did, that bringing him back was the best anybody could do, Mr. Frodo was that near gone, but it's still a right shame, we all agree. What Mr. Frodo did was for all of us. It's a shame he has to have any hurt for it.

I guess what I'm trying to say, Da, is that the War may not seem like it was about simple things or our things or anything to do with us. But it was. And that's what took us here. That's what Mr. Frodo came for. Because some problems are everybody's problems, even if they don't seem like it right off, I reckon. Remember the year Daddy Twofoot decided he was going to try and build a little dam up there, hold off that creek? And then it all came back on most of Bagshot Row and flooded folks out? We were bailing water out of kitchens and gardens for days. Dad Twofoot couldn't show his face near the Dragon or the Bush for months without folks having fits, remember? This was kind of like that, only bigger, and the one trying to do it was doing it all for spite, to be wicked, not just to try something that might make his life better. He knew how bad it was. And he did it anyway. And Mr. Frodo was the only one in the world brave enough to do the most important part of trying and stopping him: destroying the one thing that would give him the chance to get his way forever and ever. O, there were lots of other brave folk, and they've all become real dear to all of us. They've been good to us. There's more good in the world than bad, there's the truth of it. But Da, Mr. Frodo's the best of them all, even though he'd never say it, or want me to. I have to say it because it's true.

I don't know when we'll be back, but I'll come as soon as I can. Once we're back, I'll come and see you directly, soon as I can leave Mr. Frodo for just a little, so I can be with you and Marigold for a bit and give you your presents I'll be bringing. Don't you go fussing about the expense, and me getting above myself, cause I can hear you already, but the King keeps insisting that when we go, we're to go with anything we would like to have as reward, and he and Faram the Steward keep talking all this gold and jools nonsense even for me that I wouldn't have no idea what to do with more than nothing. Mr. Frodo says there's nothing wrong with my accepting every last bit of it, that I've more than earned it, but if it really bothers me so badly, he's sure we can work something out, so I've been talking to Faramir (the Steward) and I think we're getting somewhere, including some of the prettiest hair-ribbons you ever did see for Marigold and some good-smelling stuff from their healers to help with your creak-joints. (I've enclosed some of them pretty hair-ribbons now so you know I'm telling the truth. They're made of a special material that's sold over in the East and couldn't be traded for before the War ended. That green one's something - the colour of ferns, don't you think, Da?) I do wish you could meet him; he's right practical for a Big Person sometimes and he's in a good part of our story and in my favourite part because it's when Mr. Frodo was still laughing and smiling a little and all. He's starting to do that again, but not near enough for my liking. Not near enough.

Mr. Frodo says he'd like to write something to you, or rather have it written down for him and then sign it as his handwriting still ain't all that back to snuff yet, so instead of setting this out for the messenger I'm just going to wait until that's done because he wants his lunch now, and I'd best get him fed and comfortable since everything's just about ready save for sitting him up proper with pillows and making sure he's warm enough. I don't know when we'll get round to that because it depends how he's feeling. If he wants a nap in the garden this afternoon it'll be a fine day. If he don't, I'll just be glad he's et something.

Hope it won't be too awful long till I see you and Marigold again. Hugs to her from her big brother.

Your son,
Samwise Gamgee

(Additional Author's Note: For reference, I do think there are linguistic differences between Sam's written and spoken language-uses, and I also think there's some differentiation between his usage with, say, "Mr. Frodo" and with his father. . . . And this is just meant as a fun experiment. :D )