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Pippin and the Great Camp Out

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While Merry was visiting Frodo at Bag End, he thought it would be a wonderful idea if they went on a camping trip. It would be a great adventure. Frodo was uncertain though, he knew “adventures” with Merry rarely turned out the way they were planned.

They discussed it as they walked through town, buying supplies for the trip. They’d go north to the Bindbole Wood in the North Farthing. It was an area neither had ever been to. They’d take Sam along, since they’d need someone to cook for them.

It was during this time that Eglantine Took overheard their plans for the great camping trip. She was in town for a few days on business and had brought her youngest son Peregrin, better known as Pippin, along. Ten year old Pippin was very bored and was making it quite difficult for Eglantine to get any work done. “Merry that’s wonderful to hear you’re planning a fun trip like this. What a perfect opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your cousin. Peregrin would love to come along if you’ll let him,” she interrupted Merry and Frodo’s conversation.

Merry looked down at Pippin, who looked up adoringly at him and grinned. Merry had met Pippin a few times and knew he was a sweet kid. But that was the problem: who wanted a little kid tagging along on a camping trip with three grown-ups? But how could he say no to his aunt? The one who let him stay at her house and eat her food whenever he was in the area? The one he suspected knew it wasn’t a heavy wind that blew a rock through her front window a couple of years ago. He figured he owed it to her to let Pippin come. “Of course Pippin can come, we were leaving today though, is that all right with you?”

“That’s perfect, he can go right now and help you finish shopping,” Eglantine said while pushing her son over to Merry and Frodo. “You be a good boy and do whatever they tell you to. You’ll make sure he gets back home when the trip is over, won’t you Merry?”

“I’ll walk him home myself,” Merry assured his aunt.

Together Merry, Pippin, and Frodo continued to gather their supplies before walking back up to Bag End. There they gathered more supplies, and Sam, and left for the Bindbole Wood.

They followed the road to Overhill and made their way over unmarked territory for several hours. The sun was setting by the time they made it to the edge of the Wood.

Frodo and Merry set up the campsite while Sam prepared the food and Pippin gathered firewood.

Sam’s dinner was delicious and the four ate with great relish and discussed plans for the next day. They would make their way further into the Wood and thoroughly explore the area.

That night, all four slept huddled together under warm blankets, next to the fire. They slept soundly through the night and into the next morning.

After a quick breakfast, they gathered their supplies and continued further into the woods. Finally, Merry decided they were far enough in, and they looked around for a place to set up camp. Finding the perfect spot, near a stream, they set up.

What the four hobbits did not know, was that they had entered a part of the woods that was inhabited by a small band of young wood elves who were also enjoying their first taste of freedom while on a camping trip themselves. These were not elves to be afraid of, but they had grown somewhat tired of having to move around constantly to find an area untouched by hobbits or men. Instead of confronting the hobbits, they decided to have some fun with them.

About an hour before sunrise, while the hobbits slept soundly under their blankets, the elves slipped into their camp silently and got to work. They gathered up all their food, which had been placed in sacks, and tied them up and hung them from the tall branches of surrounding trees.

Just as silently, they replaced all the dried wood Pippin had collected with green wood, guaranteed to smoke and smolder and not be of any use to them at all. It was at this moment that Pippin awoke, not because he heard a noise, but because he was thirsty. Getting up for a drink of water, he didn’t see until it was too late, that there were elves in his camp. There were three of them, two boys, and a young girl who never spoke. One of the boys clapped his hand over Pippin’s mouth to keep him from waking the other hobbits. They dragged him far enough from the camp so he could talk without alerting the others. They asked him who they were, where they were from, and how long they’d be staying.

Pippin’s fingers trembled as he nervously fiddled with the brown tassels of his gray scarf. They listened with amusement as the hobbit child answered their questions. They let him go and said they would leave them alone after this, so long as they left in a day or two.

Pippin walked back to camp and saw the others stretching their arms in the cool morning air. “Where have you been?” asked Frodo.

“Nowhere,” Pippin replied, unsure of how to explain what had happened to him.

Sam began to look for their food to make breakfast and had no luck finding it. “I left it all right here, has anybody seen the food?” he asked the others.

They began looking around. Merry looked up for some reason and discovered the sacks dangling from the trees. “How did they get up there?” he asked. Looking at Pippin, Merry asked him, “You were up awfully early this morning; did you do this? As a joke?”

“No Merry. I think the elves did it,” was Pippin’s earnest reply.

Merry looked at Pippin like he had just made up the dumbest lie he’d ever heard. And Merry had made up some pretty dumb lies in his time, so that really said something. “Elves? Let me guess, wood elves, right?”

“I was talking to them earlier,” Pippin told him.

“All right, since you did this, you can climb back up there and get the food,” Merry said, not believing him.

During this time, Frodo tried to start a fire, but all he could get was smoke. Coughing, he took a closer look at the wood and saw it was green. “Pippin! Don’t you know to get dry wood? This is too wet to burn!” Frodo exclaimed.

Pippin was quite upset that nobody believed him about the elves and thought that he would put food in the trees and couldn’t gather the right kind of wood. His lower lip began to tremble and he wrung his hands in his scarf.

He stomped his foot in indignation. “I did too see elves. They were angry that we were here and did this,” he said, holding back tears.

As Merry and Pippin argued about the food, Sam and Frodo tried to get the sacks down. Hobbits weren’t made for climbing trees, so that was unsuccessful. Frodo was the lighter of the two, so Sam tried to hoist him up to reach the sacks. He tried lifting him up by the waist, but that didn’t work. Frodo tried climbing up Sam’s back, and that didn’t work. Finally, Frodo put his foot in Sam’s clasped hands and his hands on Sam’s shoulders while Sam lifted him up. Frodo finally managed to grab a hold of the sack, when Sam lost his balance and fell over, leaving Frodo hanging onto the food for dear life as he dangled several feet above the ground. Sam managed to get back up and held Frodo while he untied the sack and dropped to the ground. They did this two more times, with more ease, and freed all the food from the ropes.

Sam took the food and prepared breakfast while Frodo stepped in between Merry and Pippin and broke up their argument.

Merry was surprised at how well Pippin had kept up his end of the fight. He didn’t seem all that bright at times, but he came through under pressure all right. While Merry didn’t believe the tale of the elves, he had a little more respect for his young cousin.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Dry wood was found to replace the wet wood and the hobbits did more exploring and decided that they’d leave for home the next morning, since the food supply was running low.

The next day, an hour or so before dawn, Pippin woke up, thirsty again. The water bucket was empty so he had to walk to the stream for a drink. As he sat drinking the cool, refreshing water, he saw a small elf, just his size, pop out of the trees and sit down beside him. Pippin recognized her as one of the elves from the day before. She was the youngest of the group and hadn’t spoken before.

*Hello! I wanted to tell you that I think my brothers were pretty mean to you yesterday, scaring you and making all of your friends mad at you.* She talked to him, but her mouth never opened.

Pippin fidgeted with the tassels of his scarf again, nervous to talk to this beautiful young elf. Even though he had just drunk water, his throat felt dry and no words would form. He just stared in amazement at her beauty.

The elf reached her slender hand to his scarf and touched it. *Do you wear this all the time? It’s very warm out.* She could read his mind and saw that his mum had knit it for him and that he never went anywhere without it. It was very special to him. She placed her other hand on it and whispered beautiful elvin words. *That’s all the good luck magic I know. Now this will bring you good luck whenever you wear it, for all time!* With that, she smiled at Pippin, kissed his cheek, and ran off into the trees, giggling.

Pippin sat for a few minutes reliving his encounter with that pretty elf. This moment he kept to himself his entire life, for who would believe him?

Pippin made his way back to camp and helped the others pack up before eating a quick breakfast and leaving for home.