I have continued my glimpses into the life of Beorn, his son Grimbeorn and Grimbeorn's mother.
The last of the previous ones was here if you want to look back to it.
Challenge; Skating, Sledging, Skiing, Steam Bath, Fishing.
Characters: Grimbeorn and his family.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only, and all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkien.
In the village of her childhood, lower down the mountains, the river became a ribbon of thick ice forming both a bridge between its banks and a highway from one village to the next.
Here where the river was younger and, when unfrozen, tumbled joyously between rocks and over ledges, it was less a source of winter sport.
Perhaps as well, she thought, imagining each unexpected tumble bringing on Grimbeorn’s uncontrolled change and how much damage to himself, and others, might be caused by flailing knife-sharp blades.
Skating was a pleasure well traded, though, for her beloved husband and son.
“It is quiet,” said Beorn, “no sign of wolves, or worse, have we seen for over a week. And the moon wanes… Grimbeorn will be less easily distressed for a week or two. Let us go down the mountain and visit your family, they will be pleased to see how Grimbeorn grows!”
Soon the great sledge had its runners cleaned and waxed, Grimbeorn was bundled into three layers of clothes, his mother, too, was warmly wrapped as they settled in amongst a pile of furs.
Throwing his wife his clothes, Beorn stripped, breathed deeply, changed, and shrugged into the harness.
Beorn helped her father chop wood, laughing together. Her mother crooned over Grimbeorn as he played near the hearth and slept in the small bed that had been his mother’s and his aunt’s.
But when a loud noise caused the child to change, his grandmother felt both fear and sorrow, despite knowing his breeding. “Better he doesn’t play with the other children,” she said.
“Best, then, that I’m not seen shedding my breeks,” said Beorn, when they prepared to return home.
And so, as the child waved merrily, his father put on skis and fastened the traces around his waist.
The Beornings they called themselves, those who lived in the hamlet around Beorn’s Hall, both those who changed their skins and those who stayed unaltered.
And she was glad to be back amongst them, despite those in the other village being kin.
The women gathered in the steam bath hut when the men were out hunting, and rubbed each other’s backs, laughed, and jested of their husbands’ prowess both in hunting and in bed.
Here she was seen as fortunate, a woman to be envied; and no-one was at all perturbed by the small cub rolling in between their feet.
Spring came, then early summer. Grimbeorn had grown over winter for now he was nearly three. He still could not control the change – but it was less of a startle reflex now.
He followed steadily, on sturdy legs, behind his father as he cared for all the stock.
And when the children played together he had a guardian watcher close at hand. Shape-shifting cousin Bjarni took him wherever they went.
She found them, one day, laughing as they paddled in the stream.
“It will be even better,” Bjarni said, “if Beorn will take us both fishing when the salmon run…”