The Mischievous Adventures
Of Young Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took
Tale One – Maggot's Farm
Once on a cloudy morning in Buckland, young Merry decided he would like to go out adventuring this day. He got up out of his comfortable bed to look out his little hobbit window. The sky was grey, and looked as if it might rain, but that didn't stop him from happily walking out his front door (After breakfast, of course). His good friend Pippin was playing around a lamp-post on the cobbled street, trying to catch those pesky moths that like to flutter around light. It was very early in the morning, much too early for a hobbit to be out, but Merry had dreamt of Bilbo the night before, how he would go on adventures to slay goblins and dragons. "Hello there, little Pippin!" Merry shouted, not thinking at all of the sleeping neighbours.
"Good morning Merry, would you like to help me catch moths?" He replied. Merry chuckled and said,
"No, little friend, but I would like you to come with me for an adventure." Peregrin was indeed little, and he was eight years younger than Merry.
"Ok, but first tell me something," Pippin said, excited.
"And what would you like me to say?"
"Where, exactly, do you… we plan on going?"
"Maybe west to Woodhall, or maybe south to the Marish. Or maybe even east… into the Old Forest." Merry just realised what he had suggested. The Old Forest made him feel uneasy, and once he even swore he saw creeping branches bend over the hedge wall to get him.
"No, no, no. Please Merry not that spooky forest; I've had nightmares about that evil place!" Pippin looked as if he would cry, so Merry quickly interrupted,
"I was only joking, Pippin. But maybe one day you will be brave enough to come with me to that forest. Although I do not think I'm brave enough yet either." With those words, he pulled out some cheese from his cloak, shared it with Pippin and they both started walking.
The young hobbit's journey took them west, towards the Woodhall. Meriadoc had the trip planned out – First they would travel to meet some friends at Woodhall, and have lunch there. Then they would go south to go fishing in the little streams and rivers.
"How much longer, Merry," young Pippin whined.
"I don't know everything, friend. But I do know there is a hearty lunch waiting for us, if we even make it by lunchtime."
"But I haven't even had second breakfast," Pippin groaned. Merry just hoped that he wouldn't realise that he would also miss out on elevenses.
"Oh, and I'll miss out on elevenses too! I wish I had brought some food from home." Poor little Pippin could go on and on.
"I just gave you some cheese not ten minutes ago," Merry reminded. This is what it was like every time they went out together. Although Merry didn't mind most of the time, today he was getting a little irritated. The two young hobbits made it to the destination just after Midday, and with loudly grumbling stomachs. There they met Fredegar Bolger, who was just visiting Woodhall. Fredegar was a good cook, although he was only two years older than Merry.
"Afternoon, Fatty!" Pippin laughed. Fredegar was often referred to as Fatty Bolger due to his plump shape, although he didn't mind.
"Any chance you could spare some of your lunch? We're starving!" Merry exclaimed.
"What brings you out here, to Woodhall? Do your caretakers know you're here? Old Odo is just inside, and I could tell him about you little rascals. I bet he'll send you home!" Fatty was a worrier, his old pa Odovacar too.
"Esmeralda said I should take care of Pippin today, I thought we could go on an adventure like Mr Bilbo did," Meriadoc lied.
"You know better, all sorts of things could happen to young hobbits like us." The three little hobbits went and sat under a tree and ate things like sugared cake, buttered bread and crunchy biscuits.
As the last bit of cake was taken by Fredegar, a look of disappointment flooded over Pippin's face.
"Come, now Pippin. We still have fishing to do," Merry said, trying to lighten his face. They all sat there, plump and lazy. Fatty decided to tell a story, a spooky tale as the sky darkened with clouds. "Have you two ever heard about the Mewlips? No? Well then let me tell a story about a young hobbit who liked to go on adventures. His name was Hob and he was about your age Pippin. Anyway, one day he left the town of Stock looking for an adventure. He ventured far, too far from the Shire and ended up on top of very large mountains. He was very tired, so he slept there for an hour or two, but when he awoke, he had forgotten which direction was home. So he guessed the direction and scurried down the mountainside only to be met with dark swamps and deathly, drooping trees. His curiosity dragged him in, deeper into the dark swamps. He eventually arrived at an old ruin that was probably left there from the first or second age. As he explored, he could see dark, red eyes peering out from the darkest cracks and holes. Slowly, the Mewlips crept up on him, with a slight squish, flap, flip sound as they moved. Hob backed up into a dark corner, knowing something was watching… Swoosh! The Mewlips grabbed him from behind and dragged him away silently to be eaten in their lair…" The little hobbits' faces were pale, and Pippin just sat there in terror. Fatty burst into laughter, "You should see your faces! Hahaha!"
"Come, let us go now Pippin. We still need get home before it is too dark." Merry told Pippin.
"But what if the Mewlips get us!"
"It's just a story to scare small children, now let's go"
"Well it's working. Oh, but I do like fishing. Ok I'll see you later Fatty," Pippin said, standing up to brush crumbs off his jacket. The two little hobbits set out again to the south.
Along the way, it started to rain lightly. "Oh, just what we need! Let us hope it gets no heavier!" Meriadoc complained. As they arrived, they sat under a willow tree to block out the rain. They took their fishing rods out, applied the bait and threw the lines. Only there was a problem; the lines plunged straight into gluggy mud. As smart as young Merry was, he had not thought about their fishing spot. It was a bog! Silly little hobbits.
"Oh no! My line has snapped Merry!"
"Why did you pull at it you fool!?" Merry was not in a good mood. He was wet, and they had quite foolishly tried to fish in a marsh. Tears broke out in Pippin's eyes.
"Come on, we can't stay here Pippin. My line is still okay, we'll find another river or pond to fish in, I'll even teach you a few tricks." It was afternoon, and the sun was faintly shining through the clouds. They ventured through the Marish until they found an ideal spot. Little did they know, farmer Maggot's farm was just behind them. Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took had a lot of fun trying to catch the fish. They even saw an eel or two. In the end, they only caught three fish, which were hung up it a tree to dry.
"They'll never dry without the sun," exclaimed Merry.
"Why not put them in these jars I brought and cover them in salt for dinner?" Pippin suggested. The fish were then gutted, salted and packed into jars. All that icky black gunk from inside the fish stunk, so the hobbits turned around and kept walking.
By surprise they had stumbled across the fields of turnips. "This is farmer Maggot's place!" They thought. Young Pippin had always heard of old, cranky farmer Maggot, and how he would grow the best mushrooms in the Shire.
"We sure could use some fresh mushrooms," Merry said, sniffing the air in vain. The smell of fish had not gone away.
"Mmm. Cooked fish with mushrooms for dinner, yes please," said Pippin. They wondered if they would get caught and thrown to Maggot's dogs to be munched up. The sight of mushrooms relieved them of those scary thoughts. They had noticed a dirt path leading up to a fenced house, not like a hobbit smial they are used to. On the left side of the path were fenced crops of turnips, corn, carrots and maybe a few mushrooms. On the right, there was a small fenced paddock with bales of hay spread across it. The house was fenced in a tall stone wall with a large wooden gate.
"Ok Peregrin. Are you ready to steal some mushrooms?"
"I think so, what do I have to do?"
"See there on the left? At the base of that rock pile is a mushroom. I don't think his hounds are out right now, so you should be able to sneak through all that corn. Me? I'll go to the right and hide behind those hay stacks and search for mushrooms. Be quick ok?" Merry explained.
"Ok, I can do this, because I'm brave," Pippin replied. The Halflings scurried around through the crops and paddocks in search of mushrooms. Pippin had just picked one up and before he could put it in his sack, the wooden gate opened. Farmer Maggot's voice could be heard,
"Alright my hounds, you've had dinner, now go out and guard my crops!" Pippin froze, and Merry quickly ducked down behind a bale of hay. As Grip and Fang, two of Mr. Maggot's hounds, went out to sleep at their stations, Pippin ran to the pile of rocks, ripped the second mushroom out of the ground, and climbed up to the top. Fang caught the scent of fish and went to investigate. To his surprise, he found a small hobbit perched upon a stack of stones. He was not at all hungry, but he thought it would be a waste of food to call upon his master, so he paced back and forth waiting for the terrified hobbit to jump down.
Meanwhile, Merry in the adjacent paddock saw Pippin up on the rocks, but his gaze soon turned to the pacing dog below his friend.
"That thing is huge! Maybe it's a Warg!" He thought to himself. He then noticed the sound of sniffing about ten metres away from him. Up he got, and moved silently from haystack to haystack, picking four mushrooms on the way. A fifth caught his mischievous little eye, so he ran as fast as he could, but tripped over a tuff of grass. As he looked up, he saw the growling snout of Grip. Slowly he made for that tasty shroom, and Snatch! He pulled it up out of the earth and ran for his dear life, with snapping jaws at his heels. Fang noticed the commotion and chased after Merry with Grip. Poor little Merry got the fright of his life, but was relieved when he finally jumped up onto a twisted tree. As Grip and Fang jumped, snapping, Peregrin hopped down off of the rock and, with much bravery, decided to go into the opened wooden gate. Quickly and sneakily he crept behind Maggot's farmhouse, as he knew there had to be more mushrooms in there. He peered into a window and saw Maggot and his family having dinner, and it was then he realised it was night time. He moved silently out from behind the house and into Mr. Maggot's ideal mushroom growing tent. There he froze, and not in terror this time, in utter amazement. There were at least two dozen mushrooms growing right off dead tree trunks and logs. Pippin opened his sack and gathered about five or six before he heard the growl of a large dog. It was Wolf, one of farmer Maggots hounds. Pippin stood frozen in terror once more, but broke free and sprinted as fast as he could. He even forgot to use the gate and managed to climb the tall stone wall, and in doing so, confused Wolf long enough to escape. He ran straight past his friend Merry, not intending to leave him behind or turn the hounds on himself. But that is exactly what happened. He ran, ran, ran and fell off the edge of a very steep hill, down into the sticky wet marsh below.
Merry had a chance to flee and went in the same direction as Pippin, hoping the hounds had not made supper out of his best friend. He was met half way by Grip, Fang and Wolf, although he was running at the highest speed a hobbit could run, and he crashed into the beasts. Two even were knocked unconscious, but Wolf, the biggest and most vicious, ripped into the defenceless little hobbit's jacket, spilling all five mushrooms out onto the ground. Scared senseless, Meriadoc ran without restriction, and met the same fate as his friend, unwittingly. Pippin was already a few metres away, walking in the direction that was home, sobbing. He had thought of how he had left poor old Merry back in that tree to starve while the hounds snapped at his hairy feet, or whether he would try and run and become the hounds' meal.
"Where are you going, Pippin?" yelled Merry.
"Merry! I had thought those big wolves would have eaten you!" He cried.
"I'm ok, little Pippin, but I lost all the mushrooms I stole."
"But look, I went into the big stone fence and found these!" Peregrin was now crying with joy. He showed Merry the mushrooms he had gotten from the tent.
"You fool, you could have been hurt!" Merry said with a serious face, but he could not hold it for long and they both fell into laughing. They both headed home, all muddy and tired, and especially hungry. They both looked forward to a good dinner, although they did not look forward to going home to angry parents. "Bilbo would be impressed, I think. Maybe I could get my friend Frodo to tell him. No, it's best to keep this between me and Pippin." Merry thought, smiling all the way home.
This little adventure would mark a new time for young Meriadoc and Peregrin, a time of adventure, mushroom hunting (well, stealing) and a greater friendship to last forever. Little do they know of the darkness that plagues the future, but maybe their skills will be called upon in a time of great need, a time of evil, friendships and the end of all things. But for now, stealing mushrooms and catching moths seems a fitting life for these two young hobbits, their names – Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took.
Appropriate for all ages.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Not a chapter, rather a short story.
Chapter End Notes:
I might make more but I have a lot of other things to write at the moment.