Character: Bilbo Baggins
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: This is Tolkien's character, Kortirion has merely tweaked at the edges.
‘Still waters run deep’ …what exactly did that mean? Bilbo Baggins considered as he plodded towards Hobbiton. Not yet come of age, being only nineteen, but past being tied to his Ma’s apron strings, he’d taken to wandering and pondering. He’d not walked all The Shire yet, but there was no reason he shouldn’t – the gossips said it was his Tookish side coming out. In a year or so he’d likely get permission to visit Buckland by himself – maybe even Bree. Now that would be a walk! Including crossing the Brandywine… maybe then he’d see how deep water ran different.
The rain had left puddles in the lane, but the air being still and the sun peeping round the clouds, it made little mirrors of blue sky along the road. Bilbo halted to sniff the damp air; he liked the smell of Spring. Then he spotted a comfortable looking bit of fencing and thought of the winter apples in his snapsack…
Didn’t take long for him to settle with apples and new thoughts: ‘if water makes mirrors , how deep does it have to be to see in it clearly? He climbed down and stepped forward… ‘No, shallow’d do it’.
The wrinkled skin of last season’s apple was a bit tough; Bilbo ferreted in his waistcoat pocket for the little silver fruit-knife his Ma had gifted him last birthday. He’d been delighted, a wee blade all of his own… it showed Ma and Da thought him old enough to be trusted with something sharp.
He carefully opened the blade, catching sight of his eye reflected back… ‘…another mirror’. Tilting it in the sunlight, he saw a reflected flash dart up his jacket. He amused himself, angling the knife to make a tiny bright spot chase over the ground… apples forgotten.
The clouds drifted back soon enough and a breeze took over, making the bushes rock and ruffling the puddles, returning sky mirrors to merely slightly muddy water. Bilbo buried his apple-cores under a brambled hedge and trod them down…’maybe the seeds’ll grow. Maybe they’ll fruit and folk would wonder, who planted apple trees here?’ I should plant more, and people will raise a glass to the memory of ‘Bilbo the Apple-planter!’
He smiled, ‘…that would be a good way to be remembered in The Shire, a very respectable thing that’...and imaging glasses of cider, made him think of returning home.
There were guests in the parlour at Bagend. As he went inside Bilbo could hear laughter and clinking plates – which made him think two apples were not enough for a growing hobbit, especially one out having an adventurous walk. His mother’s cousin saw him first.
“Larks, Bilbo, look at those feet! You can’t sit down to high-tea with those! Your Ma will have a fit!”
“But I’m hungry!”
“Dry and comb, before you join gentle-folk in the parlour.”
As Bilbo slunk off to make himself respectable, Cousin Sissy caught his eye.
“Always was a Fallohidish strain in you”. She winked.
High-tea nearly completed, just the last slices to be allocated, Bilbo settled back and let the chatter wash over him.
He must have walked at least six miles, a good distance, he thought. ‘I must ask how far the Brandywine Ferry is, and can I walk there and back in a day.’
Although he wanted to see deep waters running… he wasn’t sure about crossing them. Rivers being powerful, dangerous things… not that his Ma agreed – she’d even threatened to teach him to swim!
Cousin Sissy poked him, “There’s plates need washing and polishing… enough as to see my reflection!”