From Faramir son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien to Peregrin Took, heir to the Thain of the Shire and Knight of Gondor. May the stars shine upon your path.
I was most delighted to receive another letter from you, and one that bears such good tidings. Rest assured that the Shire's style of greeting is fully appreciated. In truth, it was refreshing to read your straightforward and warm greeting after reading many elaborate salutations addressed to the Steward of Gondor.
I am well, and so is Éowyn. She is still in Rohan, but it will not be long before we are united. The King and Queen too are in the best of health. The restoration is still ongoing. The first circle has been fully repaired, including the Great Gate. Some of Gimli's folks are still adding their final touch to it, but even the most meticulous of them have declared yesterday that it is almost done. But I should not complain, for their craft surpassed my imagination. Whoever said that all the great crafts were lost with Númenor certainly had not studied the handiwork of the Dwarves. Legolas and his people have also done marvellous work. I had no idea that my stone city could look so lush and green. They even know how to grow grass and flowers in the roofs and walls. Their works were not the only thing that surpassed our imagination, though. The amount of banter among these two peoples … . Aragorn said we should be thankful that they do not yet take their banters into a serious clash.
The mallorn must have looked marvellous indeed! You made me wish I could go to the Shire and see it. Would it be too much a trouble to have a painting of it made? There must be some excellent painters among your remarkable people. We the Big People should not cross the boundary of the Shire, as Aragorn decreed, but we can easily arrange to send a courier to Bree and bring the painting to Gondor. I believe Aragorn and Arwen will be glad to receive such painting. And I too will take much pleasure from it.
You said that there is a sense of richness and beauty in the air. The Shire is surely a blessed land, and no people are more deserving of such land than the hobbits. We in Gondor have sensed a beauty in the air, but I think it is different from what you have experienced in your land. We have not had such a perfect summer, with wonderful sunshine and delicious rain in due times and perfect measure. We have had some very hot days and some unpleasant rains. But what was that compared to the departure of the Shadow? To us who had for so long lived in the edge of darkness, the air without the Shadow is most beautiful and glorious.
I thank you for telling me about the wedding of Samwise. He told me about this in his letter, though rather shyly, and he skipped many details you mentioned in your letter. I wished him and his lady long, blissful years. Now, as hobbits seem to care much for details such as seasons and days, I am curious to know the significance of his wedding day. If I am not mistaken – for I am not yet familiar with the Shire Reckoning – May 1 in your reckoning is the crowning day of the King. Did Samwise choose this date for this reason? Or perhaps May 1 is a special day in your land?
It is a wonderful arrangement for Sam and his lady to live with Frodo. It is good to know that Frodo is surrounded by dear friends. I think I may understand, though not fully, what you meant by Frodo "seem distant, as if he was drawn to a place that no one else could come". There have been moments when Éowyn and I experienced a similar thing, though in a much lesser degree than what Frodo has endured. If I may suggest, please watch Frodo more closely in the anniversary of his being wounded. In our experience, it was mostly in such days that the pain and dark dreams returned.
Now we come to the difficult matter of the notes. It was very thoughtful of you, Pippin, and of Frodo, to ask me on this matter. Your respect for my father warmed my heart. I am a lover of lore and tales myself, so I will not ask Frodo to deliberately hide anything in writing his account of the War of the Ring. So here is my answer to you: let Frodo write of the siege of Gondor as truthfully as you can tell him from what you had seen during those dawnless days. Let Frodo write of the passing of Denethor just as it seemed to you. You do not have to worry whether what it seemed to you is what it truly was. I believe Mithrandir has told Frodo his account of this event. And after all, Frodo's book is intended to contain the history as seen by the hobbits.
As for me – again I say, it was very thoughtful of you to worry about me – you know how I grieved for my father, for his sad end. But if there is a feeling that I have never had concerning him, it is shame. I felt no shame that he met such dreadful end. I do not say that what he did is justified, for it is not, but I say that it is not for us to judge him. Denethor had faults, some of them grave ones. He succumbed to despair and to madness in the end, that is true and cannot be denied. But I think not even his bitterest enemy can deny that he loved Gondor dearly. His love might have mixed with his desire for his own glory in preserving Gondor, but he did try his best to keep her safe. I do not think that the honour of the House of the Steward will be diminished if it is known that one of its lord defended Gondor even to the point of losing his hope and clear mind.
I have only one thing to ask from you and Frodo: write the truth of his end, let his story be told; yet be gentle to him, do so with pity. For a small act of pity may make a great difference, as Frodo and Samwise have learnt from their encounter with Gollum. Write of him with pity, for this is perhaps the first time my father could receive pity. In his life he had never let anyone offered him that. Now in his death, let me offer him pity, through you.
(As can be found in another compilation called Teitho, in its entry for April 2012)
With thanks to Lindahoyland who has taken time to read and corrected the typos.