Epilogue en anglais



And one evening in March Master Samwise Gamgee was taking his ease by a fire in his study, and the children were all gathered about him, as was not at all unusual, though it was always supposed to be a special treat.

He had been reading aloud (as was usual) from a big Red Book on a stand, and on a stool beside him sat Elanor, and she was a beautiful child more fair-skinned than most Hobbits-maids and more slender, and she was now running up into her teens; and there was Frodo-lad on the heathrug, in spite of his name as good a copy of Sam as you could wish, and Rose, Merry and Pippin were sitting in chairs much too big for them. Goldilocks had gone to bed, for in this Frodo's foretelling had made a slight error and she came after Pippin, and was still only five and the Red Book rather too much for her yet. But she was not the last of the line, for Sam and Rose seemed likely to rival old Gerontius Took in the number of their children as successfully as Bilbo had passed his age. There was little Ham, and there was Daisie in her craddle.

"Well dear" said Sam, "it grew there once, because I saw it with my own eyes."

"Does it grow there still, daddy ?"

"I don't see why it shouldn't, Ellie. I've never been on my travels again, as you know, having all you young folk to mind – regular ragtag and bobtail old Saruman would have called it. But Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin, they have been south more than once, for they sort of belong there too now."

"And haven't they grown big ?" said Merry, " I wish I could grow big like Mr. Meriadoc of Buckland. He's the biggest Hobbit that ever was : bigger than Bandobras."

"Not bigger than Mr. Peregrin of Tuckborough," said Pippin, "and he's got hair that's almost golden. Is he Prince Peregrin away down in the Stone City, dad ?"

"Well he's never said so," said Sam, "but he's highly thought of, that I know. But now, where were we getting to ?"

"Nowhere," said Frodo-lad. "I want to hear about the spider again. I like the parts best where you come in, dad."

"But dad, you were talking about Lórien," said Elanor, "and wether my flower still grows there."

"I expect it does, Ellie dear. For as I was saying, Mr. Merry, he says that though the Lady has gone the Elves still live there."

"When can I go and see ? I want to see Elves, dad, and I want to see my own flower."

"If you look in a glass you'll see one that is sweeter," said Sam, "though I should not be telling you, for you'll find it out soon enough for yourself."

"But that isn't the same. I want to see the green hill and the white flowers and the golden and hear the Elves sing."

"Then maybe you will one day," said Sam. "I said the same when I was your age, and long after, and there didn't seem no hope and yet it came true."

"But the Elves are sailing away, still, aren't they, and soon there'll be none, will there dad ?" said Rose, "and then all will be just places, very nice, but, but...."

"But what Rose-lass ?"

"But not like in stories."

"Well it would be so if they all was to sail," said Sam. "But I am told they aren't sailing anymore. The Ring has left the Havens, and those that made up their mind to stay when master Elrond left are staying. And so there'll be Elves still for many and many a day."

"Still I think it was very sad when master Elrond left Rivendell and the Lady left Lórien," said Elanor. "What happened to Celeborn ? Is he very sad ?"

"I expect so dear. Elves are sad; and that's what makes them so beautiful, and why we can't see much of them. He lives in his own land as he always has done," said Sam. "Lórien is his land and he loves trees."

"No one else in the world hasn't got a Mallorn like we have, have they ?" said Merry. "Only us and Lord Keleborn."

"So I believe," said Sam. Secretly it was one of the greatest prides of his life. "Well Keleborn lives among the Trees, and he is happy in his elvish way, I don't doubt. They can afford to wait, Elves can. His time is not come yet. The Lady came to his land and now she is gone; and he has the land still. When he tires of it he can leave it. So with Legolas, he came with his people and they live in the land across the River, Ithilien, if you can say that, and they've made it very lovely, according to Mr. Pippin. But he'll go to Sea one day, I don't doubt. But not while Gimli's still alive."

"What's happened to Gimli ?" said Frodo-lad. "I liked him. Please can I have an axe soon, dad ?? Are there any orcs left ?"

"I daresay there are if you know where to look," said Sam. "But not in the Shire, and you won't have an axe for chopping of heads, Frodo-lad. We don't make them. But Gimli, he came down to work for the King in the City and he and his folk worked so long they got used to it and proud of their work, and in the end they settled up in the mountains up away west behing the City, and there they are still. And Gimli goes once every other year to see the Glittering caves."

"And does Legolas go to see Treebeard ?" asked Elanor.

"I can't say dear," said Sam. "I've never heard of anyone as has seen an Ent since those days. If Mr. Merry or Mr. Pippin have they keep it secret. Very close are Ents."

"And have they have never found the Entwives ?"

"Well, we've seen none here, have we ?" said Sam.

"No" said Rose-lass; "but I look for them when I go in a wood. I would like the Entwives to be found."

"So would I," said Sam, "but I'm afraid that is an old trouble, too old and too deep for folks like us to mend, my dear. But now no more questions tonight, at least not till after supper."

"But that won't be fair" said both Merry and Pippin, who were not in their teens. "We shall have to go directly to bed."

"Don't talk like that to me," said Sam sternly. "If it ain't fair for Ellie and Fro to sit up after supper it ain't fair for them to be born sooner, and it ain't fair that I'm your dad and you're not mine. So no more of that, take your turn and what's due in your time, or I'll tell the King."

They had heared that threat before, but something in Sam's voice made it sound more serious on this occasion. "When will you see the King ?" said Frodo-lad.

"Sooner than you think," said Sam. "Well now, let's be fair. I'll tell you all, stay-uppers, and go-to-bedders, a big secret. But don't you go whispering and waking up the youngest. Keep it till tomorrow."

A dead hush of expectancy fell on all the children : they watched him as hobbit. Children of other times had watched the wizard Gandalf.

"The King is coming here" said Sam solemnly.

"Coming to Bag End !" cried the children.

"No," said Sam. "But he's coming north. He won't come into the Shire because he has given orders that no Big Folk are to enter this land again after those Ruffians; and he will not come himself just to show he means it. But he will come to the bridge. And..." Sam paused. "He has issued a very special invitation to every one of you. Yes, by name !"

Sam went to a drawer and took out a large scroll. It was balck and written in letters of silver.

"When did that come, dad ?" said Merry.

"It came with the Southfarthing post three days ago," said Elanor. "I saw it. It was wrapped in silk and sealed with big seals."

"Quite right, my bright eyes," said Sam. "Now look." He unrolled it. "It is written in Elvish and in Plain Language," said Sam. "And it says : Elessar Araginr Arathornsson the Elfstone King of Gondor and Lord of the Westlands will approach the Bridge of Baranduin on the first day of spring or in the Shire reckoning the twenty-fifth day of March next, and desires there to greet all his friends. In especial he desires to see Master Samwise Mayor of the Shire and rose his wife, and Elanor, Rose, Goldilocks and Daisie, his daughters, and Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Hamfast his sons. There you are, there are all your names."

"But they aren't the same in both lists," said Elanor who could read.

"Ah" said Sam, "that's because the first list is Elvish. You're the same Ellie, in both, because your name is Elvish; but Frodo is Iorhail, and Rose is Beril and Merry is Riben and Pippin is Cordof and Goldilocks is Glorfinniel, and Hamfast is Marthanc and Daisy is Arien. So now you know."

"Well, that's splendid" said Frodo, "now we all have Elvish names but what is yours dad ?"

"Well, that's rather peculiar," said Sam, for in the elvish part, if you must know, what the King says is Master Perhail who should rather be called Lanhail, and that means, I believe, "Samweise or Halfweise who should rather be called Plain-wise". So now you know what the Kind thinks of your dad you'll maybe given more heed to what he says.

"And ask him lots more questions," said Frodo.

"And when is March the 25th ?" said Pippin, to whom days were still the longest measures of time that could really be grasped. "Is it soon ?"

"It's a week today," said Elanor. "When shall we start ?"

"And what shall we wear ?" said Rose.

"Ah" said Sam. "Mistress Rose will have a say in that. But you'll be surprised, my dears. We have had a warning a long time and we've prepared for the day. You're going in the most lovely clothes you've ever seen, and we're riding in a coach. And if you're all very good and look as lovely as you do now I shouldn't be at all surprised if the King does not ask us to go with him to his house up by the Lake. And the Queen will be there."

"And shall we stay up to supper ?" said Rose, to whom the nearness of promotion made this an ever-present concern.

"We shall stay for weeks, until the hay-harvest at least," said Sam. "And we shall do what the King says. But as for staying up to supper, no doubt the Queen will have a word. And now if you haven't enough to wishper about for hours, and to dream about till the sun rises, then I don't know what more I can tell you."

The stars were shingin in a clear sky, it was the first day of the clear bright spell that came every year to the Shire at the end of March, and was every year welcomed and praised as something surprising for the time of the year.

All the children were in bed. Lights were glimmering still in Hobbiton and in mnay houses dotted about the darkening countryside. Sam stood at the door and looked away eastwards. He drew Mistress Rose to him and held her close to his side. "March 18th" he said. "This time seventeen years ago, Rose wife, I did not think I should ever see thee again. But I kept on hoping."

"And I never hoped at all Sam," she said "Until that very day, and then suddenly I did. In the middle of the morning I began singing and father said : Quiet Lass or the Ruffians will come. And I said : Let them come. Their time will soon be over. My Sam's coming back. And he came."

"I did," said Sam "to the most beloved place in all the world. I was torn in two then, lass, but now I am all whole. And all that I have and all that I have had still I have."

They went in and shut the door. But even as he did so Sam heard suddenly the sigh and murmur of the sea on the shores of Middle-Earth.


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