This one takes place in SR 1395.

(First written December 10, 2006)

Rating: G
Summary: Pippin's been ill over Yule, but now he's better, and Frodo tells him and Merry a story...
Author's Note: Frodo is 27, Merry is 13 and Pippin is 5. ( Or 17, 8 and 3 in Man-years)

THE SNOW-HOBBIT

Frodo kept both hands on Merry's shoulders, as they entered the room where Pippin lay. He was pale and wan, but his thin little face lit up to see his favorite cousins. Frodo licked dry lips, and took a deep breath, putting on a face of confidence as Merry looked up at him for reassurance. He nodded, and gave Merry a tiny push.

No further encouragement was needed. Merry rushed to the bed, and was rewarded by a fierce hug.

"Merry!"

Pippin giggled, and Frodo breathed a sigh of relief. Yuletide at Brandy Hall had been very subdued this year. Bilbo and Frodo had arrived the same day as the Whitwell Tooks. But Pippin had developed a cold, which had quickly taken a turn for the worse-there had followed several anxious days, during which Merry had been banned from the sickroom as being too young. But this morning Pippin was doing much better and calling for Merry.

He crossed the room, and sat down on the edge of the bed. Merry had already climbed up, and was snuggling up with his little cousin, who seem quite happy and content with their presence.

"Aunt Tina and Aunt Esme have said we may stay with you this morning, dearest," Frodo said, dropping a kiss on the chestnut curls.

"Good!" Pippin grinned up at him, and Frodo was glad to see that his cheerful nature had not been quashed by his sickness. "Tell us a story, Frodo!"

"Oh yes," said Merry. "A story would be splendid!"

Frodo grinned. *That* he could do! "Well, Pip," he said, "I shall let you choose-what kind of story do you wish to hear?"

"Oh, a 'Tip and Tulip' one! Please, Frodo?" Pippin gave a tiny bounce.

Merry met Frodo's eyes, and rolled his own, but his grin belied him. He was supposed to be too old for such nursery tales, but actually he was still quite fond of them.

Frodo returned the grin, and then pursed his lips in thought. He turned his eyes to the window, where the flakes of an early snow swirled. It was only a light snow, and would probably melt away as soon as it touched the ground, but it reminded him of one of the stories. He scooted up on the bed, and arranged himself next to his cousins, before he began, with the traditional words that began every such story…

Once there were two little hobbits named Tip and Tulip. They were brother and sister, and they lived in a cozy little smial with their mama and their papa and their auntie.

One morning on first Yule, Tip and Tulip awakened to find that there had been a magnificent snow in the night. Outside their hole, all was white and cold, and the snow was much deeper than ever they had seen it before. They could scarcely contain their excitement at first breakfast, and coaxed their mama to allow them to go out and play.

But of course, they had to open their Yule gifts first. There were snuggly new hats, scarves and mittens, and Tip got a new ball, while Tulip got a new dress for her dolly. Then they had to have second breakfast.

After they ate griddlecakes and eggs and sausages and fried taters and mushrooms and each had a cup of warm milk with honey and cinnamon, their mama told them they could finally go out to play in the snow.

Auntie bundled them up in their warmest coats and their leggings, and they put on their new hats and scarves, and bounced out to play in the snow.

First they ran about making footprints, and then they had a lovely snowball fight. But finally they decided to make a snow-hobbit. They began to pack the snow and gather it up, until they had formed the snow-hobbit's body. Then they made a little snowball, and rolled it about in the snow until they had a snowball the size of a hobbit's head: there he stood, a body and a head, but no face nor anything else-but their papa called them then, to come in for elevenses.

They came in from the cold, their cheeks as red as berries, and had some lovely soup and toasted sandwiches. But they were eager to finish their snow-hobbit, and so they barely finished their third helpings, before they were begging their parents to let them go out again.

"But Mama," said Tip, "we need something to make our snow-hobbit's face!"

"And Mama," said Tulip, "our snow hobbit will need something to wear!"

So Tip's mama took him into the larder, and he picked out a nice carrot to use for a nose. And she took him to her sewing box, and they found some lovely black buttons to make his eyes.

And Tulip's auntie took her to the mathom room, and they found an old weskit of their papa's.

Then Tip went to their room and got his *old* hat and scarf, while Tulip found some of her *old* mittens.

Now they bundled up warmly, and went out once more into the snow, and soon they had finished him: he looked magnificent, in his bright green hat and scarf and scarlet mittens on the ends of the broken limbs that Tulip had found for his arms. The yellow weskit fit him perfectly. His button eyes shone brightly, and his carrot nose was at a jaunty angle. Tip took off his mitten, and with a finger, traced a happy smile upon his face.

What a splendid snow-hobbit he was! thought Tip and Tulip. They stood back to admire their handiwork.

But *now* it was time for luncheon, as their tummies loudly told them. So in they went, and there was a lovely lunch-they had some ham and roasted potatoes and there was a large pot of beans and some carrots cooked with a honey glaze, and baked apples for afters. The two little hobbits ate heartily, and filled in all their corners, before they once more begged leave to go out and see their snow-hobbit.

Once more their auntie and their mama bundled them up, and out of the smial they ran, eager to play.

But-

They did not see their snow-hobbit where they had left him! There was no sign of him at all! He could not have melted, for if he had, where would be the carrot and the buttons and the clothes they had put on him? They gazed in dismay at the slightly dented snow where he had stood, and tears sprang to Tulip's eyes, as she thought of all their work wasted.

"Someone must have stolen him!" said Tip crossly.

"Stolen whom?" said an unfamiliar voice.

Tip and Tulip jumped in startlement, and turned. There was their snow-hobbit! It was he who had spoken! He had come alive!

They gazed at him in wonder. Finally, Tulip said shyly, "Oh my! How did you come to be alive?"

The snow-hobbit gave a little bow, and said "This is a Yule snow! There is sometimes magic in a Yule snow!"

The two little hobbits ran to hug their new friend. He did not feel at all icy and cold, as they would have thought. "Will you play with us?" said Tip.

"Of course!" said the snow-hobbit. "That is the very reason I came to life!"

Oh, what a splendid time Tip and Tulip had with him! He showed them how to build a snow-smial, and when he lay down upon the snow, they could sit upon his back, and he would slide down the hill, much faster than the fastest of sleds!

They had such a wonderful afternoon, they even forgot to think of the time, and were quite startled when they heard their papa calling them in for tea.

"Oh dear!" said Tulip. "It will be dark after tea!"

Tip nodded. "They won't let us come back out after tea! It will be too dark. Can you come in and take tea with us?"

"Alas," said the snow-hobbit, "that I cannot do! But I have had a good time with you today."

Sadly, Tip and Tulip hugged him good-bye. "We will play with you again in the morning," said Tip.

The snow-hobbit gave them a sad smile, and said "Perhaps," and patted them on their heads with his mitten hands, and sent them in for tea.

So Tip and Tulip went in for tea, and afterwards, they sat in the front room and listened to their papa read them stories, and then they had supper and were tucked up snugly in their little bed. They fell asleep dreaming of all the fun they would have with the snow-hobbit on the morrow.

But when they woke up in the morning, the snow was all melted and gone away. Tip and Tulip were very sad to find a puddle, with a very wet weskit, hat, scarf and mittens, and two buttons in it where last they had seen their snow-friend. They gathered these things up with tears in their eyes, and took them in to dry before the fire.

When they told their mama and papa about why they were sad, their parents patted them on the heads and told them they had very good imaginations.

But when they told their auntie, she winked at them, and said for them to save the snow-hobbit's things, in case it should snow again next Yule.

Merry stirred under Frodo's arm. "That's rather a sad story, Frodo," he said.

But Pippin smiled sleepily. "Maybe we'll have snow for Yule sometime!" he said as he snuggled closer into his cousins' embrace, and his eyes closed in slumber.