7. How Green is my Valley
Faramir was ever conscientious about visiting those of his men who had survived the war, but had been permanently maimed as well as the families of those who had not returned from battle. He wanted to ensure that they were well provided for and did not feel forgotten. As they grew older, he would often take his children on these visits.
"You must have been very brave to fight in the war, father," said Elboron as they rode home one afternoon after a visit to a man who had lost both legs.
Faramir shook his head and smiled sadly at his son. "No, I fear I am not brave at all. I was often afraid, but I did what I must."
"Why, father?" the lad persisted.
The two had reached the brow of a hill and Faramir reined in his horse. "Look!" he said, gesturing to the countryside spread out beneath them. The trees were in full leaf of verdant green, while a patchwork of fields was covered with ripening corn amongst which bright poppies and cornflowers were scattered in vivid hues of scarlet and deepest blue. Further away sheep grazed contently. Bees and butterflies fluttered over the wild roses in the hedgerow and the air was filled with birdsong.
"I fought to protect our land and her people, my son," he said. "Had the Dark Lord prevailed, all would be ruin and desolation where there is now life and growth. This land is as much a part of me as I am part of it. I am blessed indeed that our King gave me fair Ithilien for my own and that it has prospered."
Elboron followed his father's gaze and studied the landscape gravely. Then he nodded. "Yes, father, I think I understand now. This was worth fighting for."
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