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Memory...7 On the Anduin (day 1)

Faramir perched in the front of the small boat which floated along the Brandywine River in the cool autumn evening. He wiggled his ten year old bottom, partly to make the boat rock but mostly to get Pippin to admonish him. 'Sit still, Fam!' he expected to hear, but he was instead surprised by the lighthearted laugh his father gave.

"I've rocked the boat a few times myself, in my day," Pippin laughed. He took hold of the gunnels and tipped the boat to either side as far as it would safely go.

Fam grabbed on as tightly as he could, riding the rocking boat. "Like when, Dad?"

Pippin picked up the paddle and began to stroke gently through the water. The boat slid silently through the peaceful water, leaving only the lightest of wakes. "That trip down the Anduin," he said. "I had some fun with that, at least in the beginning. You remember I told you about the boats the Lady Galadriel gave us? Well, they were like this one, weren't they. That's why no other hobbit will go in this boat but you and me. Back at Lothlorien, though, when they told us we were going to travel in boats, I boasted - I just couldn't resist because they all thought hobbits were scared of water - about being at home in a boat, so when the elves led us to the shore, I jumped in first! What a shock I got when I was half way in. It wasn't at all like boats that hobbits prefer - those few of us that use boats, anyway. It rocked like nobody's business, and I went top over tail, right over the other side. Boromir hauled me out of the river, sputtering and gasping at the surprise, and they were all laughing hard enough to split their sides. I really thought Merry would! Even the elves had a hard time hiding their mirth. Some of them didn't even bother!"

"I know what Merry said when you fell in," interrupted Fam. "Oh, Pip!" they both said together, and laughed at the familiar phrase.

"He also used terms like 'Drowned rat' and 'Serves you right," said Pippin indignantly. "And a few other things, too," he muttered darkly. "Never mind that,' he said, cheering up once again. "I was more careful after. Those elf boats hardly ever tipped, but it was still a task to get in and out of them.

"It turned out that we, that is Merry and I, were in a boat with Boromir. He sat in the stern because he was bigger and stronger, and probably because he still didn't take us hobbits all that seriously. We had fun that first day. It was sunny and we floated along through lovely countryside, though we stuck closer to the eastern shore. Merry and I didn't have to paddle, so we entertained ourselves by regaling Boromir with boating stories, though we were careful not to say anything if our boat came too close to Frodo's.

We sang lots of songs too, until Boromir told us he'd throw to the orcs if we didn't stop the 'infernal racket!' I was quite insulted. I thought I had - still have, if I do say so - quite a respectable voice, though Merry could never keep a tune the way I could.

"That's not true, Dad, and you know it!"

Pippin ignored the interruption and began to sing lustily in his still clear piping voice:

"There's nothing like playing about in boats
To make a feller feel glad,
There's nothing like paddling a boat that floats
To make hobbits think you're mad!

'You crazy fool!' landlubbers all say
'Cause they don't really think I oughter
But I'll never stop, no how no way,
Messing about on the water!"

He ended in a triumphant shout while Faramir put his hands over his ears in mock horror. "No wonder Boromir wanted to throw you overboard!" he said.