[pic]Seventeen Years Ago aka Kitzi's Tale

Author: Nilramiel@aol.com, aka RosieCotton

Rating: PG

Genre: General/Romance

Setting: The Shire, March 1436

Please do not copy or post this story to another website, or use it for your own purposes, without my permission and/or without these additional comments. Feel free to link away!

Acknowledgements: The characters, setting, and much of the dialog belong to J.R.R. Tolkien, and I give full credit to him. This story is an expansion on the Epilogue in The History of Middle-Earth, Chapter 10 – Sauron Defeated. This story is being written as a gift to divastar79 (love ya, Kitzarina!) One day in the future it may be incorporated into Sam's Tale. A long way into the future, that is… Sam is my favorite character in Tolkien's work, and this is written with the deepest respect for both Tolkien and the noble Samwise.

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Chapter 1 – Tooth Planting

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"Dad! Dad!"

Sam looked up from his reading, but he did not jump to his feet. He knew by the sound of the call that it was Pippin, his youngest son, and that the child was excited, not upset. He also knew that the boy was on his way to the study and would likely burst in any…

Sure enough, almost before Sam had a chance to lay down his book, young Pippin Gamgee exploded into the room.

"Dad! Dad! Look!" Pippin was still shouting when he stumbled to a stop next to his father's chair. "It's come out!"

He opened his small (and somewhat grubby) fist then, and lying in the center was a tiny tooth, pearl white, with blood still clinging to one edge.

"Aye!" said Sam, turning in his chair and giving his full attention to the precious object, "So it has!" He picked up the tooth and examined it closely, as if it were a gem of great price. "Ah, Pip-lad, this is a fine one, oh yes it is!"

Pippin grinned, showing the bloody hole in the front of his mouth where the tooth had been not ten minutes before.

"Will you plant it now, Dad, please?" He asked eagerly, slurring the 'please' just a little, as he was missing four teeth near the front of his mouth.

"Oh, yes, right away," said Sam, standing up and handing the tooth back to Pippin. "It's best to plant 'em right away, and you're in luck, for we had a fine rain yesterday, and it's just the right time of year as well. Run and get your sisters – they'll be wantin' to watch – and I will get the magic soil!"

Pippin scampered off, his treasure balled tightly in his small fist, and Sam went to the kitchen, chuckling.

He found Rosie there, wiping Daisy's face with one hand while supporting a nursing Primrose with the other. Sam bent and kissed Primrose, then kissed Rosie just above his daughter's suckling mouth.

She started. "Samwise Gamgee! Stop that teasing and help me out, here!" Her tone was chastising, but she was smiling, and as Sam took the damp cloth from her, he kissed her again, on the mouth this time and with deep tenderness.

He then turned to Daisy, who had managed to get more of her porridge on her face than in her mouth, and mopped her freckled face deftly. Daisy, who was three years old and uncommonly messy, laughed happily throughout the operation.

"What's Pippin so excited about?" Rosie asked, running a gentle hand through Primrose's curls. "I heard him thumping through the smail just before you came in."

"Ah," said Sam, releasing Daisy at last and patting her behind as she ran off towards the garden, "He's lost that tooth t'last, and he wants me to plant it."

Rosie smiled, understanding. "Oh! Well, for such an important event, Primsie and I will come out to the garden at once!"

"Aye," said Sam, "An important event to be sure." He went then to the tallest cupboard, and reaching back to the rear of the top shelf, he drew forth a wooden box. It was inscribed with a "G," and long ago it had contained truly magical dust, and the silver seed of a mallorn tree, but now it contained ordinary dry soil, and something else, tucked into the corner beneath the dirt.

Sam took the box, and Rosie's free hand, and went out to the garden. There he found gathered six of his nine children. Primrose was, of course, in Rosie's arms, tucked into the nursing sling and still eating halfheartedly, though she kept swiveling her head to see what was going on. Frodo and Merry, who were thirteen and nine, respectively, had gone early that morning to the Cottons' to play with their cousins. Sam knew that Merry would be disappointed to have missed this event, but Frodo was "too old" to appreciate it and would soon convince Merry of the same. Ellie and Rosie- lass were also in the know, but they still loved to watch, and were here now. Elanor was holding Daisy on her lap. Goldilocks and young Hamfast stood near with eager faces.

"Is this the spot, then?" Sam asked Pippin, who was sitting on the ground with his closed fist in his lap.

"Yep! Right here!" The lad pointed with his other hand to a place near the stone fence, where he had already created a small hole.

"Alright, then, give me some room." Ellie, Rosie, Goldie, Ham, and Daisy all scooted back a couple of paces, and Sam sat next to Pippin on the other side of the fresh opening in the earth.

"Now you young'un's know," said Sam, displaying the small wooden box, "that this here box is straight from the Lady Galadriel herself, and that tha soil inside it is pure magic!" He looked from one child to the other, his eyes wide and round, slipping a wink to Ellie and Rosie-lass as his eyes reached them.

The younger children stared wide-eyed at the box and nodded their curly heads solemnly.

Sam turned to Pippin. "Lad? Give me the tooth." Pippin held out the small object, and once again Sam examined it closely, for the benefit of the onlookers. "Ah, yes, a fine one, Pip-lad. It should grow beautiful."

At that, he turned and placed the tooth into the small hole that Pippin had dug next to the fence. Then with great drama, he slowly opened the Lady's box and showed the contents to the children. Goldilocks gave a little gasp of wonder, and Rose had to stifle a giggle against Primsie's blanket.

Slowly Sam placed his thumb and forefinger into the soil, and stirred it slightly, as if he was feeling the magic with his calloused fingers. After a moment, he withdrew a thick pinch of the soil, and reverently placed into the hole on top of the tooth.

What the younger Gamgees did not know was that beneath the (quite ordinary) dry soil in the box, tucked into a corner, were some tiny white seeds. These seeds originally came from one of many packets of seeds sent to Sam and Rosie as a wedding gift by Legolas, and no seed like them could be found west of the Misty Mountains. Sam's thick but practiced fingers sought out one of these seeds and he picked it up concealed within the pinch of dirt.

"Ok, Pip, fill in the hole, quick-like, afore the magic escapes!" Sam said urgently to the lad, who swiftly scooped the earth back into the hole while Sam placed the wooden lid snugly back onto the precious box and dropped it into his shirt pocket.

Now Sam laid down and placed his ear against the damp soil, closing his eyes and drawing his brows together as if he was listening intently. Pippin laid his small head down close to his father's, and their curls mingled together, nearly identical in color. He too pinched his eyes shut and listened, although to be sure he heard nothing more (nor less) than Sam did. The children held their breaths, and for a few heartbeats the only sound that could be heard was Primrose's soft cooing. She had finished her meal and was now wiggling against her mother's shoulder.

Then suddenly Sam sat up and brushed off his hands. "Oh, yes," he said, nodding and smiling at Pippin (who had also sat up and brushed off his hands), "This one is going to be a beauty! The magic is strong and the soil is right."

"As nice as Merry's, Dad?" asked Pippin, pointing to where, a short distance away, a fine beautiful plant was growing. It was not tall, but had soft, velvety leaves and dainty snow white flowers with petals shaped very much like a hobbit's tooth.

"Oh, yes, every bit as nice, I think," Sam assured him, tousling the lad's hair before standing up. In a week or two it should start peepin' up out of the soil. It's the perfect time of year for growing tooth-flowers!"

Sam captured Rose's hand again and grinned at her before going back through the garden and into Bag End.

"Oh, Sam," Rose said, once they were out of the children's earshot, "How they love your 'tooth planting!' I believe every one of them loves it as much as Elanor did when she was a wee one."

Sam chuckled, "Ellie still loves it; she just knows the truth now."

"Well, I think it is a wonderful game, love." She said, turning and kissing his shoulder, "although at the rate our young'uns are losing teeth, the flowers will soon take over the garden."

"Aw, they won't," Sam assured her, as they reentered the smial and closed the round door, "They only flower the one year, after all, then they never do come back, unless you let the seeds lie, and I am careful to gather every seed for my secret box."

Rosie laid Primrose (who was quite ready to be put down) on a blanket and turned, looping her arms around Sam's neck.

"I love you, Samwise Gamgee," she said, pulling him close and kissing him.

"Aye," said Sam, after several minutes of tenderness, "And perhaps I should check Goldie's mouth for loose teeth!"