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No Stories for Us

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Bilbo Baggins of Bag End has a vast collection of books. He has several rooms containing piles of pieces written in a variety of languages, all of them vastly unique. This collection includes thick tomes, crinkled scrolls, and tiny, finely printed, storybooks. The books contain spanning histories, simple folktales, and many stories about heroes and villains. Most of these books are beloved by both the inhabitants of Bag End and they normally peruse them without discrimination.

There is one set of books though that Bilbo Baggins no longer likes to visit. It is a shame really, for his nephew Frodo loves these stories and in his younger days he would ask his uncle to help him translate them from Elvish. Bilbo would force a smile and kindly suggest other pieces to translate, and eventually Frodo would give up on his endeavor and agree to work on an ancient adventure tales.

Frodo never understood why these stories were such a sore subject for his uncle. They were just simple little love stories, all about the romance between the members of the race of men and elves. Frodo could understand why some would make Bilbo sad, for not all of them had happy endings, but many also ended on a quite hopeful note.

One day, Frodo was helping Bilbo sort through books to gain some sort of order in a messy room. Frodo was lifting one box full of poetry books from the corner of a desk, when he came upon one small collection of love stories, pushed back against the wall. It was small, with a green cover and had a decoration of tiny gold leaves pressed into it. The title was in the Elvish script. He placed the box on the floor and then regarded the small book, turning it over in his hands several times and thumbing through it. He then turned to his uncle who was currently sitting on a small stool looking through a book of children's stories and chuckling to himself quietly.

"Bilbo?" asked Frodo.

Bilbo looked up at Frodo, "Yes, my boy?"

Frodo held up the book of love stories, "Why don't you just sell these books? I've always been able to tell that they make you uncomfortable. Honestly, I don't know why you even have them if you are going to hide them away. What is it about love stories that you dislike so much?"

Bilbo looked at Frodo for a moment, getting up and walking over to take the book out of his nephew's hands. "It isn't all love stories, my lad, just these silly ones about men and elves falling in love together and all that nonsense. The songs and the stories make these tales out to be so beautiful! They glorify them so much its positively ridiculous," Bilbo said with an aggravated look on his face.

Frodo was not sure what his uncle was saying and decided to investigate further, "Bilbo, love is wonderful! Why shouldn't those stories make it seem so? What's so ridiculous about these stories over others? The fact that people in love are of two different races? Why shouldn't their love be portrayed as beautiful?"

"Because it's not!" Bilbo yelled in a sudden outburst. His hands were gripping the book so hard they were almost white.

Frodo had jumped back after his uncle raised his voice and stood there with a look of shock on his face. His expression then became sad as he said to his uncle, "Uncle, what happened that made you feel this way? You respect both races equally, I don't understand why you would feel think that."

Bilbo had calmed down in the last few seconds and at his nephew's question he lowered his eyes shamefully. He then moved back over to his stool and sat down, still holding the small green book between his hands. He stared at the cover for a moment before sighing and saying, "My dear boy, do not listen to me, I'm just an old sentimental fool."

He closed his eyes for a moment before turning back to make eye contact with Frodo, "I never told you this, but I was in love once, many years ago and well, it wasn't a hobbit."

Frodo was shocked at his uncle's admission and walked closer to him so he could listen more carefully. He had heard tales of a few hobbit lasses trying to woo his uncle but he had not even tried to court any. Throughout all his years at Bag End he had not see any clues to lead him to believe that his uncle had been involved in a romance.

Bilbo continued on, now staring at the wall, "Those stories don't make me angry, I suppose they just make me sad. So many of the young lovers get their happy endings and even if they do not, at least their love lives on in the songs and stories. The love between elves and men is seen as so beautiful and tragic, but between hobbits and other races? Who wants to read about that? There will be no songs or stories told of my love. No ballads about the love of Bilbo Baggins will be sung in any great halls. Our story ended long ago and I am the only one left to remember it, and when I die it will also fade with me. I've owned these books for so many years, I don't know why I keep them." He turned and smiled weakly at his nephew, "See? Old fool."

Frodo was saddened at his uncle's explanation and reflected a minute before speaking, "I'm sure your love was beautiful, uncle, I can tell you were very happy. Your story deserves to be immortalized just as much as the ones in these books." He then approached his uncle excitedly, "Well we can rectify this situation easily! How about you include that story in your book!"

Bilbo looked appalled, "Oh no, no, he would hate that! He was also so reserved and kept to himself, I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted the whole of the Shire reading intimate details about himself."

"He?" Frodo asked.

Bilbo smiled at his nephew, "Oh Frodo, see why my tale isn't one for the storybooks? People will not understand, and that's why it's best left in the past." He then walked over to the table and opened the box of poetry books, the matter settled for that day.

Within the next few days, Bilbo could be found sitting in his garden taking in the morning sunlight, reading some long-neglected texts with a slight smile on his face.