Author: Linda Hoyland
Book/Source: LOTR book-verse
Disclaimer – Middle-earth belongs to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
The man and his two children walked through the peaceful country lanes together.
“What bird is that?” asked his son, espying a black and white bird a little way ahead of them.
“A wagtail. See how his tail wags when he moves.”
“Can you eat those?” his daughter enquired when they passed a tree laden with scarlet berries.
“No, they taste bitter, but you can make medicine from them. Now, those berries on the far side of the lane are good to eat, but the nightshade plant beside them is poisonous.” The man paused and pointed to some hardly noticeable tracks in the grass. ”Look, a deer and her baby have passed by here! Shall we follow the trail?”
“Yes please!” the children chorused excitedly.
A little while later the family caught a glimpse of a doe suckling her fawn. The children gasped in wonder.
“How do you know so much, daddy?” asked the little girl.
The man paused, lost in thought. “When I was a lad, twenty years or more ago, I worked for old Butterbur in the Pony,” he replied. “Rangers, strange wandering men would sometimes call at the inn. We were all scared of such grim looking folk. Then one of them took ill and had to bide a while at the inn. Butterbur said I must take him his meals. I was right scared, but it turned out he was kindly enough once you got to know him. While he was recovering, he taught me all manner of interesting things that I never forgot.”
“What was his name?” asked the boy.
“He called himself Strider.”
”And what happened to him?” asked the little girl.
“I don’t rightly know, but I’d hazard a guess that the poor man perished in some lonely ditch. He was a fine woodsman and taught me well; but I fear no good came of such a wild, grim fellow!”
Chibi by Whitewave