There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. 'Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night's lodging. 'Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The act of kindness or hospitability usually comes from a generous heart. Write a story or poem, or create a piece of art where your character displays this virtue
Title: Bread of Life
Author: Linda Hoyland
Characters/Pairing: Aragorn, OMCs
Word count: 500
Book/Source: LOTR book-verse
Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
The guard dragged the bedraggled child before the King, the half eaten loaf still in his hand. The baker followed a few steps behind, his features red with indignation.
“I caught this lad, red handed, I did, sire, stealing from the baker in the third circle,” the guard announced.
“What have to say for yourself, boy?” Aragorn’s tone was stern.
“I was hungry,sire. Are you going to lock me in the dungeons?” The boy tried to sound defiant, but he was shaking with fear.
“Where are your parents, child?” Aragorn’s tone was gentler. “And what is your name?”
“I am Iorlas, sire. My father died in the war and my mother is sick with a fever as is my little sister. We live in the first circle by the smithy.”
Aragorn called to a servant. “Take this boy to the kitchens and see that he is given a good meal and a bath. I will decide what to with him later.”
The baker glared as the boy was led away. “I must protest, sire, they all say they are hungry orphans if you catch them thieving!”
“Do you sell cakes?” Aragorn enquired.
“Yes, I have a fine selection of iced buns and honeycakes.”
“But the boy took only a cheap loaf?”
“The lad tells the truth, Master Baker. What thief would leave fine cakes and take only bread, especially a growing boy,unless it were from want rather than greed. I will see you are paid for your loaf.Now go.”
The baker slunk away, still muttering indignantly.
Aragorn gave orders that a healer be despatched to the boy’s home then spent the rest of the morning dealing with more pressing matters than the young thief.
Later that day he had Iorlas brought before him again.
“Are you going to cut my head off now, sire?” the boy asked.
“No unless you steal again,” Aragorn said gravely. “Do you like horses, Iorlas?”
“Yes, sire, I do.”
“Then you can earn an honest living as a stableboy. My grooms tell me they have need of an extra one.”
“I’d like that,sire, but what of my mother and sister?”
“They are safe in the Houses of Healing. Now go and tell my head groom that you can start work tomorrow and then visit your mother and tell her that all will be well now.”
To Aragorn’s surprise the lad burst into tears. “Whatever is the matter now?” he asked. “The healers say with care and good food your mother and sister will soon get better.”
“I didn’t think a king to be so kind to us poor folk,” sobbed the lad. “I thought you only cared about the great folk with jewels and fine houses.”
“As King, I try to be as a father to all my people,” said Aragorn, putting a fatherly arm around the child’s thin shoulders .
“Thank you sire.” The boy rubbed his tears away with his sleeve then to Aragorn’s bemusement hugged him, before scampering away, his tears replaced by an enormous grin.