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Memory...8 Old Man Willow

"But how could a tree capture you?" Faramir asked Pippin, snorting at the idea that an old tree could have a hope of capturing him. "I would just pull out my sword of Westernesse and plunge it into Old Man Willow's heart!" He suited his actions to his words, brandishing an imaginary sword at a dangerous tree.

Pippin put his hand on Faramir's shoulder as they walked through Woody End on that warm summer afternoon. "It wasn't quite as simple as that, Fam." he said, smiling. "For one thing, we didn't get the swords until the next time Tom Bombadil rescued us! And we were very inexperienced at the adventure thing then, it was so early in the story. I was hardly more than a lad myself on top of that!

"Walking through the Old Forest was not like walking through these lovely woods. If we are lucky, we might even run into some elves here, though it is much less likely these days. But the Old Forest hated anyone to walk through. It seemed that no matter how hard we tried to make our way through to the other side, the forest made us walk toward the Withywindle, until we were on a path beside the river. Merry thought it was alright, though I had me doubts. Then things really started to go wrong. It was very hot, especially as the forest kept putting obstacles in our path which we had to climb over or bogs we had to go around. The sun was burning us and finally we were all overcome with an intense desire to sleep. Finally we couldn't keep our eyes open, so we lay down to rest. It was more than ordinary tiredness, Fam. The forest put a spell on us somehow - or, I should say, Old Man Willow did." Faramir snorted, but Pippin disregarded him.

"So Merry and I lay down with our backs to the lovely, or so we thought, willow tree, and fell fast asleep. It was so peaceful." Pippin sounded almost dreamy as he remembered. "We could hear soothing words that made us feel cool and homelike. Then I began to dream that the tree was magic and began to open and offer me a lovely cool, refreshing, restful place inside, a refuge, a bower. I didn't even have to make an effort, it gently pulled me in to a bed softer than clouds."

Pippin began to talk more sharply. "But it was a trick, you see, a spell, nasty magic that pretends to be lovely and is actually horrid." He shuddered, and Faramir began to understand. "It had pulled me in and had half of Merry when Frodo and Sam realized what was going on, and that only because it threw Frodo into the river! If Frodo hadn't happened to find Tom Bombadil, our adventure, Merry's and mine, anyway, might have been over before it began. No axe or fire could hurt that tree because then it would just hurt us more, see. Even if you had my sword, you would not have been able to avoid capture."

Pippin ruffled Faramir's hair, but his son had stopped sead in the middle of the path. "What's that?" he said. They stood still, listening intently. "I can hear singing!" cried Faramir. "Elves! Elves in the woods!"

The two hobbits, one very young and the other young at heart, ran toward the music of the Elves.