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Section XX-Lessons

Bless Sam. He continues to indulge me in my efforts to teach him the elvish tongue, though both of us know it's useless. It breaks up the long, dark days. We usually find ourselves in fits of laughter. Fortunately, Sam's wise enough to know that I am not laughing at him. He is well aware of his ineptitude with the language. If ever I think he perhaps takes it too serious, which is rarely, I am quick to remind him that the gardens would surely wither to ruin the first season left in my care.

It also turns out that I am not the only one who'd had enough of being inside, with poor Sam being dragged along as a reluctant companion. Merry and Pippin, with their usual good timing, popped over just in time for second breakfast during one of the elvish lessons. They chuckled and ribbed Sam for tripping over his tongue. I couldn't resist asking them to repeat an elvish greeting, "Elen sla lmenn' omentielvo." They both gave me startled, blank stares. Without looking at them, Sam, bobbing his head tiredly, added, "a star shines on the hour of our meeting." Merry and Pippin shot him such looks, their mouths gaping open. The silence stretched, and Sam looking up briefly suddenly wondered if he had spoken amiss and turned a disconcerted face to me. Merry and Pippin also turned to me. I returned their shocked surprise with a steady gaze. I raised my eyebrows in question. They shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders and remained silent. They stepped almost imperceptibly closer to Sam. I smiled and went on to explain that we'd been repeating it for days now, and Sam was no closer to pronouncing it correctly than they were. The momentary tension disappeared into laughter like so much smoke from a pipe, with the point gently taken.

Odd how things turn out. Merry and Pippin may have an aptitude for learning elvish but neither has any desire, seeing no use for it. Sam, on the other hand, would dearly love to learn, but as for aptitude has none at all.

Turns my mind to them that think Sam's slow. His language is not refined, and he seems to measure his words as he says them. But fortunately, I have learned to listen to him. He speaks plainly and from the heart. You always know where you stand with him. There's much to be said for that. From time to time, I seek his opinion when a decision needs making and I am divided by my choices. He never tries to make the decision for me but on the rare occasion he does offer me his point of view, it is usually level headed. I suspect there are many who underestimate my dear gardener, including on occasion, me.