1. Mirabella Waymoot
My story I suppose can only begin when I was born, that was 1114, Shire Reckoning of course, to you I think it was the year 2714 of the Third Age or some nonsense. Gandalf once told me all about what lies beyond the Shire, but I never found much need to remember all of that, I was quite content in my hobbit-hole with my father and mother Isengar and Asphodel Waymoot.
We lived in Waymoot of course, in the West Farthing. It was found on the East Road which was convenient for travelling and all, but I never found much need. We were a prominent family, rich as ever. As a child I spent my days in the fields surrounding Waymoot and helped my mother out in the Garden. The most adventure I had is when some other children and I would attack birds with rocks, and what mighty aims we all had too! I tell you, those birds ran when they saw us coming up the road.
My father would often sit me on his lap as say in a tender voice: "If you were a boy, you'd be a great warrior."
But I was happy being a girl, I liked taking breaks from my play wars attacking birds to sit in the garden with my mother and plant flowers. My mother even gave me my own little garden in the corner of hers where I could plant what I fancied how I fancied. My mother would then tell me all sorts of things about different herbs, about how they were used to heal and to eat as well as to decorate.
The idea that my little flower garden could cure people interested me so much that I spent most of my days tending to my garden and teaching to myself which root or herb to use on what. I came to consider myself to be quite learned, and so did the other children. Whenever one of the children got a scrape or a bruise from playing, they would track me down and I would play doctor for them.
My parents were very happy that I had taken an interest in the art of healing and so decided one day to introduce me to Angelica Burrows. She was an old hobbit, the oldest in Waymoot and most of us children stayed far away from her, and other would tell stories about the evil deeds she did. But when I met her I noticed that she smelled of herbs and that there was a glint in her eyes that told me she was wise and young at heart.
I was often over at Angelica Burrows' hobbit-hole, and even though she was the mid-wife for Waymoot, she always had time to let me visit or to teach me about brand new medicines and technics of gardening. Being that she was so old, she had had long years to master such things, and she had been midwife for as long as anyone could remember - so she was the one who helped my mother give birth to me, a matter which she was sure to remind me of all the time.
Midwife Burrows, well she took a liking to me, almost like a mother to a daughter I think, because whenever I visited her covered in mud from working and playing she would have a smile on her face and serve me lunch, or elevenses, or tea with cakes, or all three, depending on what time it was. We would talk and she would tell me stories about everyone in Waymoot, and some stories about places farther away, some as far as Bree.
Like I said, she was an old hobbit, 80 back when I was 10, and so she told me all about when my father and mother were growing up. My father, it seemed, had been quite the trouble maker and adventurer, often stealing his fathers bow and a quiver of arrows to go hunting before he was ready for it.
"But always Mira, always, your father would bring back an animal and his parents would cook it for him, aye. Everyone thought for sure that he'd grow up and not marry at all because he was always running off to the North and South Farthing to get to the woods when he became of age." She would say as she smoked her crooked pipe by the roaring fire.
"But he did get married! He had me!" I would retort.
"Aye, he had you. He met yer mother and fell in love, he did! She was a young hobbit and when he saw her his eyes lit up and he broke his bow right on the spot. He said 'I shall never fight or leave Waymoot again' he did!"
"He did not!" I would say with a chuckle, because I could not imagine my father breaking a bow. Many we had hanging around in our hobbit-hole, and at Yulemath he would go out and hunt us a feast. But it was true that since the year 1111 (a very lucky year, I am told) when he married my mother, not once did he leave Waymoot, and I up to that point had never left it neither.
So often did I find myself sitting with the midwife Burrows who would tell me stories of everyone - even myself - over and over again. She always would teach me of herbs, which was why I started visiting her so much in the first place of course. Before I knew it I became something of a midwife myself.
When I turned 20 people began coming to my door with a cold asking for some remedies. Obviously my father had been telling people at the local tavern that I was picking up the trade from midwife Burrows. When I turned 23, midwife Burrows began taking me along with her when there were pregnancies, and I began helping with the deliveries and taking care of the infants and mothers while they recuperated.
Spending all that time around children made me think about them myself. I had grown much from the 10 year old girl who threw rocks at birds - something I hadn't done in such a long while. I spent all my time looking after the sick and newborn, or planting and growing flowers in my little garden.
(Mind you, my garden did quite expand from the little corner that my mother had given to me, though it never grew as large as hers.)
I wanted children. The revelation didn't hit me all at once, it grew in me like a child would. I took care of enough children to know how to do it myself, and knew enough about herbs that if they were ever sick I would never have to truly worry. I also felt old enough, even though I hadn't come of age in the hobbit standards.
This unrest grew in me, and because there was no one in Waymoot that I desired to marry and have children with, I began travelling. I started wandering South, where I often visited Tookbank and then would travel north to Hobbiton or Nobottle and Needlehole, always staying in the West Farthing of course. But my unrest did not give way.
In the year 1140, when my travels were truly just beginning. The Orcs began to attack the Shire. It was strange, because those of us in the West Farthing didn't see it happen often, because most of the fighting happened up in the North Farthings. The raids there were small, and not directed at us, but still they happened and hobbit lives were loss. Enough so that many hobbits left their holes to go off and fight them.
I kept on travelling, though my parents begged me to stay home where it was safe. I wondered for a short while then if my father was not now happy that I was a woman and did not feel the obligation to go to war.
For years I travelled between the three villages of Tookbank, Hobbtion and Waymoot, not daring to go back to Nobottle and Needlehole because they were too far north, I would seldon go to Hobbiton even. As I went, I would take care of little illnesses and give advice to people about herbs where I could. After a while I knew that I had to travel further and then I started travelling East along the East Road.
There I found Bywater, and Overhill and on the other side of the hill in my very own farthing I found Tuckburough, perhaps the friendliest place I had been to yet. I was 28 and found myself going to Tuckburough the most, and staying there the longest. Whenever I visited home, I would revive my little garden, and visit midwife Burrows who could no longer see so well or move so much, and her glint seemed to be going out. I knew that soon Waymoot would be without a midwife, but I also knew that I couldn't be that person.
After that in Overhill I found a midwife apprentice who was willing to move there, where there were not as many Orcs, and when I was 29 I returned to Tuckburough and thought I would perhaps get a job there. Who knew who might need me? But before I found a job, I met a hobbit older than me and much taller as well named Ferumbras Took. I think perhaps that I fell in love with him all at once.
Often we would go for walks and speak of news from other parts of the Shire and I would tell him about herbs and he would tell me about all those who living in Tuckburough. Including his brother Bandobras Took who was the tallest hobbit in the Shire, probably the tallest there ever was or ever would be. He could even ride a horse! But I did not see much of Bandobras, because he was often in the North Farthing fighting off the Orcs as well, and so he should by the size of him.
During this wartime there was so much going on in Hobbiton, so many hobbits and men coming and going, the fear of Orc raids was high especially in a place so close to the North Farthing, but always Ferumbras and I were together, and we - as most hobbits do - found happiness in the bleakest of times.
"Mira," Ferumbras said one day, calling me by my nickname that midwife Burrows had given me so long ago. "If it were not for you, I would find no happiness at all through this depression."
Ferumbras and I knew that we were in love, and so it was in the year 1144 when I was 30 and he 43, we were wed in Tuckborough and bought a grand hobbit-hole at the South. I sent word to my family, and they came for the wedding of course. There was much merriment, mostly because everyone enjoyed the thought of not having to think about the war that was going on just North of them, but a week after the wedding when they were leaving they finally told me the news that midwife Burrows had died a month past.
I was crushed, my mentor and friend had died. She had lived to be one hundred, and that was grand, but at the thought that she was no longer in this world, I felt despair enter me. I lost part of my heart, and it was never returned to me. I returned to Waymoot to visit her grave, and when I went to my parents hobbit-hole I saw the corner where my little garden used to be was overgrown with roots and most of the flowers had died off. I knew then that my childhood was over and Waymoot was no longer a place I could call home. I was only 30, but I knew I had come of age.
I left Waymoot the next day, and returned to my beloved Tuckborough and Ferumbras. We lived happily there for many months, and then one day to both our joys, I discovered that I was pregnant.
For the first time since my beloved midwife Burrows had left me, I felt true joy once more, I was pregnant. My travels had all payed off, for now I was going to had a child of my very own, a daughter or son I knew not, nor did I care, because I would finally have my child and that was all that mattered to me. The unrest was gone and I knew that I would be happy for the rest of my life.
Time crept by and soon I was giving birth to my child with the help of the Tuckburough midwife. It was long and hard, but finally my child came into this wold and I found that I had given birth to a son. Ferumbras was astatic! Oh he took our little son into his arms and began dancing around the room with him. Our boy, our healthy little boy, our Fortinbras Took.
I smiled gently at the two of them, I felt a tinge of disappointment appear in me. I had secretly wished for a girl, I had wished for a daughter to name Angelica, so my precious midwife could once again by apart of this world. However, I was still happy. I had wanted a child and had been given one, and it was a gift that I accept gratefully.
For a year the three of us were happy in our hobbit-hole, we deeply enjoyed the growing of our son, and we showed him all the love we could. I would often take him into the garden with me and explain herbs and flowers to him, I knew that he didn't understand me, but he smiled and laughed all the same as if what I was telling him was the most wondrous thing in the world. We were happy, yes, but our happiness could not last for long.
(I wrote this more than a long time ago, back in 2001 methinks. I got the idea in my head when I was reading the Prologue to the Lord of the Rings (Concerning Hobbits) - ordered by the sister to put an end to a dispute - when I came across Tolkien telling about the last fight in the Shire, an then the depression. Both which I noticed happened very close together. I then started looking through the appendixes and at family trees - specifically the Took's where I found some Hobbits mentioned in the books that lived in the time, specifically Bandobras who's credited with being the tallest Hobbit and inventor of Golf. Well, then I just started writing as one does when hit with an interesting prospect and seeing I was reading 'I, Tituba' at the time (there are so many similarities...), it started sounding like a mix between Maryse Conde and Tolkien. I should have named it 'I, Mirabella' - or rather 'I, Hobbit')
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.