1. Little Ranger
"Ada?" The little boy sniffed and looked up at Aragorn with grey, tear filled eyes. Aragorn knelt to be at eye-level with his young son.
"What happened, Dari?" He asked, concerned.
"It is not fair, they are so mean!"
Aragorn wondered at that. Eldarion was a charming little boy who had everyone wrapped around his little finger and was adored by all.
"Who was mean to you?"
"Elboron and his brothers. They will not let me go to the woods with them, Ada. When I asked why, Beren said I was too small to be a ranger." The prince threw himself into his father's arms.
"Oh, Dari..." Aragorn smiled over Eldarion's shoulder. This sounded familiar, very familiar indeed.
"I am so sorry they will not play with you, but even a king can not force them."
"No? Really not?"
"Really. But I could tell my little ranger a story. Will you hear it?"
"What is it about, Ada?"
Aragorn walked over to an overstuffed chair, settled down into it, then beckoned his son over. The King lifted his son up and sat him onto his lap and leaned back. When Eldarion had snuggled against his chest, Aragorn began with his tale.
"Once there was a little boy who was loved very much by his mother and father. He had two elder brothers who loved him just as much.
Those brothers were already grown up and had many dangerous adventures in the wild."
"Were they rangers, too?"
"Not exactly, but they were very brave and fought together with the rangers against their enemies.
One day the little boy decided he wanted to be brave and have adventures as well, but his brothers told him he was not old enough."
"What did he do, then?"
"Oh, he was very said, and angry too. He thought he was big enough and when his brothers left their home again, he followed them."
"Did they not notice?"
"No, because the boy kept very quiet. Or at least the boy thought so."
Estel checked his little bow and 'sword' one last time and began to follow the soft hoof-prints. He would show them all that he was old enough.
Suddenly the prints disappeared and he found himself alone in an unfamiliar forest. He was lost! He did not feel so strong any more and only wanted to be home and with his Ada.
The boy sat on the ground and began to sob. He cried for a long time, and eventually he fell into an uneasy sleep.
There he was found a few hours later by his brothers.
When they returned home, he was glad to be the little one for a while longer.
"So how did the little boy get punished?"
"His parents thought he had already been punished enough. And he had learned a lesson."
"What was that lesson, Ada?"
"Several, you know. He learned that he should listen to what other people tell him, for sometimes they know better than oneself what is good or bad. His family treated him like that because they loved him very much and wanted to protect him, not because they thought little of him.
The boy would have enough time to be a ranger when he was older, but for the moment, he should enjoy being a child."
"Did he like being a little boy then?"
"Yes, he did, little one. He spent some more happy years. He remembered the lesson and took a bit more time to grow up and become a ranger."
"Did he grow up to be a real ranger?"
"Aye, my son. He grew up and to be very brave and had many adventures both with his brothers and alone. And when the grown up ranger looks back in time, he realizes that those childhood times were among the best of his life. I would not want to miss them for all the gold of Smaug's lair."
"You, Ada? You were the little boy?"
"Yes, my perceptive son. And you did act wiser than me." Aragorn tickled his little boy until he shrieked with laughter. "Do you still think they were mean to you?"
"No, Ada. And I do not want to be a ranger just yet. I love you, Ada."
Aragorn hugged his son, "I love you as well, Dari. And no matter what, I always will."
They remained in the embrace for a little longer, then Aragorn removed his arms and looked into Eldarion's smiling face. And at that moment life felt so very right.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.