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Sam, however, had no objection to rabbit at all, and said so At least not to cooked rabbit All hobbits, of course, can cook, for they begin to learn the art before their letters which many never reach: but Sam was a good cook, even by hobbit reckoning, and he had done a good deal of the camp cooking on their travels, when there was a chance He still hopefully carried some of his gear in his pack: a small tinder box, two small shallow pans, the smaller fitting into the larger inside them a wooden spoon, a short two pronged fork and some skewers were stowed and hidden at the bottom of the pack in a flat wooden box a dwindling treasure, some salt But he needed a fire, and other things besides He thought for a bit, while he took out his knife, cleaned and whetted it, and began to dress the rabbits He was not going to leave Frodo alone asleep even for a few minutes

Never you mind, said Sam If you cant guess, youll soon find out And the sooner you fetch the water, the sooner youll learn Dont you damage one of my pans, or Ill carve you into mincemeat

Gollum disappeared He was away some time, and Frodo after a few mouthfuls of lembas settled deep into the brown fern and went to sleep Sam looked at him The early daylight was only just creeping down into the shadows under the trees, but he saw his masters face very clearly, and his hands, too, lying at rest on the ground beside him He was reminded suddenly of Frodo as he had lain, asleep in the house of Elrond, after his deadly wound Then as he had kept watch Sam had noticed that at times a light seemed to be shining faintly within but now the light was even clearer and stronger Frodos face was peaceful, the marks of fear and care had left it but it looked old, old and beautiful, as if the chiselling of the shaping years was now revealed in many fine lines that had before been hidden, though the identity of the face was not changed Not that Sam Gamgee put it that way to himself He shook his head, as if finding words useless, and murmured: I love him Hes like that, and sometimes it shines through, somehow But I love him, whether or no

The road had been made in a long lost time: and for perhaps thirty miles below the Morannon it had been newly repaired, but as it went south the wild encroached upon it The handiwork of Men of old could still be seen in its straight sure flight and level course: now and again it cut its way through hillside slopes, or leaped over a stream upon a wide shapely arch of enduring masonry but at last all signs of stonework faded, save for a broken pillar here and there, peering out of bushes at the side, or old paving stones still lurking amid weeds and moss Heather and trees and bracken scrambled down and overhung the banks, or sprawled out over the surface It dwindled at last to a country cart road little used but it did not wind: it held on its own sure course and guided them by the swiftest way

Gollum returned quietly and peered over Sams shoulder Looking at Frodo, he shut his eyes and crawled away without a sound Sam came to him a moment later and found him chewing something and muttering to himself On the ground beside him lay two small rabbits, which he was beginning to eye greedily

Gollum disappeared He was away some time, and Frodo after a few mouthfuls of lembas settled deep into the brown fern and went to sleep Sam looked at him The early daylight was only just creeping down into the shadows under the trees, but he saw his masters face very clearly, and his hands, too, lying at rest on the ground beside him He was reminded suddenly of Frodo as he had lain, asleep in the house of Elrond, after his deadly wound Then as he had kept watch Sam had noticed that at times a light seemed to be shining faintly within but now the light was even clearer and stronger Frodos face was peaceful, the marks of fear and care had left it but it looked old, old and beautiful, as if the chiselling of the shaping years was now revealed in many fine lines that had before been hidden, though the identity of the face was not changed Not that Sam Gamgee put it that way to himself He shook his head, as if finding words useless, and murmured: I love him Hes like that, and sometimes it shines through, somehow But I love him, whether or no

The day passed uneasily They lay deep in the heather and counted out the slow hours, in which there seemed little change for they were still under the shadows of the Ephel Dth, and the sun was veiled Frodo slept at times, deeply and peacefully, either trusting Gollum or too tired to trouble about him but Sam found it difficult to do more than doze, even when Gollum was plainly fast asleep, whiffling and twitching in his secret dreams Hunger, perhaps, more than mistrust kept him wakeful: he had begun to long for a good homely meal, something hot out of the pot

Now, Gollum, he said, Ive another job for you Go and fill these pans with water, and bring em back

Besides, at the end of a long night march, and after bathing and drinking, he felt even more hungry than usual A supper, or a breakfast, by the fire in the old kitchen at Bagshot Row was what he really wanted An idea struck him and he turned to Gollum Gollum had just begun to sneak off on his own, and he was crawling away on all fours through the fern Hi said Sam Where are you going? Hunting? Well see here, old noser, you dont like our food, and Id not be sorry for a change myself Your new mottos always ready to help Could you find anything fit for a hungry hobbit? Yes, perhaps, yes, said Gollum Smjagol always helps, if they asks if they asks nicely Right said Sam I does ask And if that isnt nice enough, I begs

The travellers turned their backs on the road and went downhill As they walked, brushing their way through bush and herb, sweet odours rose about them Gollum coughed and retched but the hobbits breathed deep, and suddenly Sam laughed, for hearts ease not for jest They followed a stream that went quickly down before them Presently it brought them to a small clear lake in a shallow dell: it lay in the broken ruins of an ancient stone basin, the carven rim of which was almost wholly covered with mosses and rose brambles iris swords stood in ranks about it and water lily leaves floated on its dark gently rippling surface but it was deep and fresh, and spilled ever softly out over a stony lip at the far end

The travellers turned their backs on the road and went downhill As they walked, brushing their way through bush and herb, sweet odours rose about them Gollum coughed and retched but the hobbits breathed deep, and suddenly Sam laughed, for hearts ease not for jest They followed a stream that went quickly down before them Presently it brought them to a small clear lake in a shallow dell: it lay in the broken ruins of an ancient stone basin, the carven rim of which was almost wholly covered with mosses and rose brambles iris swords stood in ranks about it and water lily leaves floated on its dark gently rippling surface but it was deep and fresh, and spilled ever softly out over a stony lip at the far end

I dont think so, said Sam Dont see why it should, if you dont put wet stuff on it and make a smother But if it does, it does Im going to risk it, anyhow Im going to stew these coneys

Smjagol will fetch water, yes, said Gollum But what does the hobbit want all that water for? He has drunk, he has washed

Gollum disappeared He was away some time, and Frodo after a few mouthfuls of lembas settled deep into the brown fern and went to sleep Sam looked at him The early daylight was only just creeping down into the shadows under the trees, but he saw his masters face very clearly, and his hands, too, lying at rest on the ground beside him He was reminded suddenly of Frodo as he had lain, asleep in the house of Elrond, after his deadly wound Then as he had kept watch Sam had noticed that at times a light seemed to be shining faintly within but now the light was even clearer and stronger Frodos face was peaceful, the marks of fear and care had left it but it looked old, old and beautiful, as if the chiselling of the shaping years was now revealed in many fine lines that had before been hidden, though the identity of the face was not changed Not that Sam Gamgee put it that way to himself He shook his head, as if finding words useless, and murmured: I love him Hes like that, and sometimes it shines through, somehow But I love him, whether or no

I dont think so, said Sam Dont see why it should, if you dont put wet stuff on it and make a smother But if it does, it does Im going to risk it, anyhow Im going to stew these coneys

As soon as the land faded into a formless grey under coming night, they started out again In a little while Gollum led them down on to the southward road and after that they went on more quickly, though the danger was greater Their ears were strained for the sound of hoof or foot on the road ahead, or following them from behind but the night passed, and they heard no sound of walker or rider

The travellers turned their backs on the road and went downhill As they walked, brushing their way through bush and herb, sweet odours rose about them Gollum coughed and retched but the hobbits breathed deep, and suddenly Sam laughed, for hearts ease not for jest They followed a stream that went quickly down before them Presently it brought them to a small clear lake in a shallow dell: it lay in the broken ruins of an ancient stone basin, the carven rim of which was almost wholly covered with mosses and rose brambles iris swords stood in ranks about it and water lily leaves floated on its dark gently rippling surface but it was deep and fresh, and spilled ever softly out over a stony lip at the far end

Never you mind, said Sam If you cant guess, youll soon find out And the sooner you fetch the water, the sooner youll learn Dont you damage one of my pans, or Ill carve you into mincemeat

While Gollum was away Sam took another look at Frodo He was still sleeping quietly, but Sam was now struck most by the leanness of his face and hands Too thin and drawn he is, he muttered Not right for a hobbit If I can get these coneys cooked, Im going to wake him up

Gollum returned quietly and peered over Sams shoulder Looking at Frodo, he shut his eyes and crawled away without a sound Sam came to him a moment later and found him chewing something and muttering to himself On the ground beside him lay two small rabbits, which he was beginning to eye greedily

Now, Gollum, he said, Ive another job for you Go and fill these pans with water, and bring em back

Now, Gollum, he said, Ive another job for you Go and fill these pans with water, and bring em back

So they passed into the northern marches of that land that Men once called Ithilien, a fair country of climbing woods and swift falling streams The night became fine under star and round moon, and it seemed to the hobbits that the fragrance of the air grew as they went forward and from the blowing and muttering of Gollum it seemed that he noticed it too, and did not relish it At the first signs of day they halted again They had come to the end of a long cutting, deep, and sheer sided in the middle, by which the road clove its way through a stony ridge Now they climbed up the westward bank and looked abroad

Day was opening in the sky, and they saw that the mountains were now much further off, receding eastward in a long curve that was lost in the distance Before them, as they turned west, gentle slopes ran down into dim hazes far below All about them were small woods of resinous trees, fir and cedar and cypress and other kinds unknown in the Shire, with wide glades among them and everywhere there was a wealth of sweet smelling herbs and shrubs The long journey from Rivendell had brought them far south of their own land, but not until now in this more sheltered region had the hobbits felt the change of clime Here Spring was already busy about them: fronds pierced moss and mould, larches were green fingered, small flowers were opening in the turf, birds were singing Ithilien, the garden of Gondor now desolate kept still a dishevelled dryad loveliness

Stew the rabbits What for? What for, silly hobbit? They are young, they are tender, they are nice Eat them, eat them said Sam Each to his own fashion Our bread chokes you, and raw coney chokes me If you give me a coney, the coneys mine, see, to cook, if I have a mind And I have You neednt watch me Go and catch another and eat it as you fancy somewhere private and out o my sight Then you wont see the fire, and I shant see you, and well both be the happier Ill see the fire dont smoke, if thats any comfort to you

A little way back above the lake they found a deep brown bed of last years fern Beyond it was a thicket of dark leaved bay trees climbing up a steep bank that was crowned with old cedars Here they decided to rest and pass the day, which already promised to be bright and warm A good day for strolling on their way along the groves and glades of Ithilien but though Orcs may shun the sunlight there were too many places here where they could lie hid and watch and other evil eyes were abroad: Sauron had many servants Gollum, in any case, would not move under the Yellow Face Soon it would look over the dark ridges of the Ephel Dth, and he would faint and cower in the light and heat

For the few hours of daylight that were left they rested, shifting into the shade as the sun moved, until at last the shadow of the western rim of their dell grew long, and darkness filled all the hollow Then they ate a little, and drank sparingly Gollum ate nothing, but he accepted water gladly Soon get more now, he said, licking his lips Good water runs down in streams to the Great River, nice water in the lands we are going to Smjagol will get food there too, perhaps Hes very hungry, yes, gollum He set his two large flat hands on his shrunken belly, and a pale green light came into his eyes

South and west it looked towards the warm lower vales of Anduin, shielded from the east by the Ephel Dth and yet not under the mountain shadow, protected from the north by the Emyn Muil, open to the southern airs and the moist winds from the Sea far away Many great trees grew there, planted long ago, falling into untended age amid a riot of careless descendants and groves and thickets there were of tamarisk and pungent terebinth, of olive and of bay and there were junipers and myrtles and thymes that grew in bushes, or with their woody creeping stems mantled in deep tapestries the hidden stones sages of many kinds putting forth blue flowers, or red, or pale green and marjorams and new sprouting parsleys, and many herbs of forms and scents beyond the garden lore of Sam The grots and rocky walls were already starred with saxifrages and stonecrops Primeroles and anemones were awake in the filbert brakes and asphodel and many lily flowers nodded their half opened heads in the grass: deep green grass beside the pools, where falling streams halted in cool hollows on their journey down to Anduin

So they passed into the northern marches of that land that Men once called Ithilien, a fair country of climbing woods and swift falling streams The night became fine under star and round moon, and it seemed to the hobbits that the fragrance of the air grew as they went forward and from the blowing and muttering of Gollum it seemed that he noticed it too, and did not relish it At the first signs of day they halted again They had come to the end of a long cutting, deep, and sheer sided in the middle, by which the road clove its way through a stony ridge Now they climbed up the westward bank and looked abroad

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