My Aragorn Stories
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Many Guises and Many Names: 21. Of the History and Habits of Hobbits (Pippin, Faramir)
Pippin sneezed. "Nobody's been here for centuries, it seems."
"Not so," Faramir countered. "I often visited the archives as a boy, but war has since kept me away."
"Is there anything about the Shire in all this?" Pippin waved his hands vaguely at the stacks of leatherbound volumes and old scrolls.
"Perhaps," Faramir said. "I never looked. I learned about the land of the halflings as a legend of old." He stood before a tall shelf heaped with cobwebbed, ancient books. "This must be cleaned up," he muttered. "It won't do for the King to see the history of Arnor covered with dust."
"Strider won't mind," Pippin said. "He's not a stick-in-the-mud about all that."
"I am thinking about the future, not the past," said Faramir. "Now that the two realms of Númenor in exile are reunited, Arnor's history is ours." He reached for a gilt-edged tome and, laying it on the table, gently wiped it with a soft cloth. "There, Pippin. The History of Arnor in the Days of Argeleb II. Aragorn says that Argeleb granted the Shire lands to the Hobbits."
"Argeleb? That's a mouthful," Pippin said.
Faramir opened the cover to reveal a portrait of the king, splendid with the Star of Arnor on his brow. "King Argeleb the Second. His son was Arvegil, and his son was Arveleg, followed by Araval."
"They all have the same name," Pippin said. "Ar-this, Ar-that, and Ara-something."
"Do you know why?"
"Lack of imagination?"
"Do I know more of the North's history than its own son, Master Hobbit?"
"Probably," said Pippin miserably. "As Gandalf has remarked more than once, I played truant more often than scholar. I hardly knew we ever had a King, never mind his name. 'When the King comes back,' we said for something that would never happen."
"There were like-minded men in Gondor," Faramir said. "But I did not forget the ancient lore. The names of Isildur's heirs, as with Aragorn's own, come from aran, 'king' in the Elven tongue, which we Dúnedain also speak."
"Oh," said Pippin. He grasped the edge of a huge page and turned it. Close, elegant writing filled the parchment, embellished with gold and silver. He leafed carefully through the volume, admiring colored drawings of beautiful ladies dancing at court, and brave knights on horseback battling foul Orcs. "Nothing on the Shire," he said regretfully.
But on the last page, tucked into one corner, he found a tiny drawing. A rosy-cheeked musician held a flute to his lips, and a comely lass and stout lad, hands joined, kicked out their large, hairy feet in a vigorous dance.
"It's the springle-ring!" Pippin stood out from the table and cocked up one set of furry toes. "Like this." Humming loudly, he began a lively dance, but stopped abruptly. "I need a partner. Faramir?"
And so Lord Faramir, Steward of King Elessar and Prince of Ithilien, became the first in Gondor to learn the dance that was to sweep the streets of Minas Tirith.
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