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Said Gandalf - ladykmr

It was a sunny day in the Shire. Thanks to their recent peace and good fortune, the greater portion of the Hobbits were feeling secure and trustful. They were still wary of the bearded and cloaked man staying up at Bag End though. But for the most part, Gandalf the White left them alone, and so they weren't openly hostile the heroic residents of The Hill.

The scene at Bag End reflected the prosperity of the times. The round green door had a fresh coat of paint. A rainbow of carefully tended flowers bloomed in beds and window boxes. The garden was twice as big this year, and the potatoes were so large that little Elanor Gamgee could barely lift one. On most days a steady stream of important Hobbits were to be seen making their way up to Bag End to consult the deputy Mayor, but this particular day was so fine that no one could even think of working.

Gandalf lounged on the soft grass against an old oak tree in the front yard enjoying the sunshine. Nearby, Samwise Gamgee sat entertaining his daughter, Elanor, with a homemade flute. Rose Gamgee was sitting on the porch talking to Frodo Baggins, who was looking unusually in touch.

Gandalf had almost dropped off to sleep when Sam stopped playing his cheerful tune. Lazily lifting one eyelid, Gandalf ordered (politely, of course), "play it again, Sam!" Sam obligingly resumed his playing, and Gandalf drifted off into a strange dream.

He was sitting alone in a strange room. The room was dark and hazy, and the only thing he could see in his hand was a small glass sphere. Inside this sphere was a sculpted scene depicting a sled in a snowy field. When he shook the sphere, white flakes of something began to fall through the liquid in the glass, creating the appearance of a snowstorm.

"Rosebud!" Gandalf was jerked from his slumber by his own shout. He sat up abruptly and looked around him. Sam and Elanor were staring at him. Frodo looked amused, and Rose rolled her eyes. That's it, Gandalf thought, no more pipeweed before noon. It must have gone to my head.

Rose went inside briefly. When she returned, she was carrying a battered, weather-stained piece of gray felt that might have once been a hat.

"Mr. Gandalf, sir, I was washing your things, and I wondered what you wanted me to do with your old hat. Meanin' no offense, but I can't see as how I can possibly mend it!" Rose looked ashamed. She was renowned for her ability with a sewing needle, and considered her inability to repair a piece of clothing a personal affront. But Gandalf was still annoyed about his dream. He looked up, distracted.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." He said vaguely. He was surprised out of his bad mood when he felt a light weight settle on his lap. He looked down to find the sweet face of Elanor peering up at him. He smiled in spite of himself.

Elanor grinned a toothy grin. "Gandalf, what is ‘life'?" she asked. The wizard blanched and looked at Sam. Sam grinned and walked away, and Gandalf knew that he had been set up. He decided to play along.

"Well, Elanor, life is like a box of chocolates…"

"What's choc'lat?"

Gandalf shifted the tiny Hobbit on his lap. "It's a delicious sweet that has yet to be invented. But don't worry yourself about that, how about if I tell you a story?" Elanor nodded vigorously, and Gandalf proceeded to tell her about the scouring of the Shire.

* * *
"…And your uncle Merry said, ‘this town ain't big enough for the both of us', and after taking one look at his fierce expression, the horrible Southron fled, never to be seen from again!" Gandalf had left out the more gruesome details of the tale, but Elanor neither knew nor cared. She was fast asleep. Smiling to himself, Gandalf followed suit.

Soon, though he awakened to the laughter and shouting. Opening his eyes, the wizard saw Elanor race out of the front door clutching a stuffed dog. She shrieked with laughter. Sam stood in the doorway grinning. He called after his daughter; "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!"

Gandalf decided it was time to give up on his nap. He hauled himself to his feet. Brushing grass off his backside, he thought about his lack of sleep. As he walked towards the hole, he muttered, "I won't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!"

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