Here is a story I told yesterday at the Green Dragon. It's about giving presents! You all must know the feeling… When you want to give a present to someone, but you don’t know what to give them! And it gets even harder when that someone is very special to you. Now, I am going to tell a story about an elderly lad who wanted to give a present to his wife… But some things got in the way. Once upon a time, an elderly hobbit couple lived in the Shire. They were simple farmers, working hard on their fields and garden and cherishing the quiet and peaceful way of life. The husband loved pipeweed and spent long days smoking his pipe on the porch. The wife liked to get dirt in her hands and nurture her plants with love and tender care. And the husband loved her wife’s cookings. Actually, he loved everything she did. Her song could turn any bleakness into sunshine, her smile warmed up any cold heart. The husband only wished that he could show her how grateful he was for having her. But anytime their anniversary got near, he just couldn’t figure out what he could give her as a token of his love. Once again, the anniversary was getting near, and it was a special one: they had been married for 50 years! “I need to give her somet special now,” the husband thought. “Maybe a fine dress, a tasty dinner and a beautiful necklace would do.” He decided to go to Michel Delving to order all those things. First, the husband went to see the best tailor in town. He ordered a dress made of the finest green silks available, decorated with the loveliest patterns. “She should look as pretty as the blooming Shire fields in that dress,” he said to the tailor. Then, he went to see the best cook in Michel Delving. “Please make me the most perfect pie, one that melts on the tongue and reminds the eater of their childhood days,” he asked the cook. Finally, he went to the best jeweller of Michel Delving. “Please make a fine necklace with a jade gemstone, rich in colour like the Shire forests”, he asked the jeweller. He felt pretty pleased with these gifts himself. But things got in the way… When the day of the anniversary arrived, the husband went to collect all the presents he had ordered. First, he went to get the dress from the tailor. It was just like he had imagined: a fine, silken dress, decorated with flowery patterns. “My wife will be happy when she sees this… as well as I, I bet she will look dashing in it!” He took the dress and continued to the cook. There, he received a pie that made his belly rumble: A sweet berry pie, made from fresh blueberries, cream and a lot of sugar, of course. “This will make my wife happy… well, it will make me happy too, I guess,” he said, licking his lips. Finally, he got to the jeweller. There, he got the most beautiful jade necklace he had seen. “It glooms bright like my wife's eyes… it is perfect,” he thought. So, he got all the things he wanted to give his wife and he left for home. On the way, he spotted some lovely flowers on the field. “Oh, flowers of course!” he thought and ran to pick up some of them. He left the dress, the pie and the necklace on the edge of the field while he started to gather a colourful bouquet. But suddenly, he heard loud munching noise… There it was: a hungry goat was eating the lovely green dress! “You rascal!” the husband shouted and ran towards the goat. The goat got scared ran away, trampling on the berry pie… The lad looked around in horror. Where was the necklace? He heard screeching from the nearby tree. There it was: a greedy magpie was inspecting its newest loot, looking victorious. The husband was only left with his bouquet. So, he had to return home, emptyhanded. His wife was sitting on a garden bench, watching happily at the sunset. “I am so sorry, dear wife,” the husband said. “I really wanted to give you something special on our 50th anniversary.” “But all those gifts I prepared got lost.” “Oh, what were they?” the wife asked. The husband told about the fine dress, the tasty pie dinner and the beautiful necklace. The wife listened and smiled happily. “I have already received all those lovely things from you,” she said. The husband looked baffled. “What do you mean?” he asked. “I don’t need a silken dress; I need somet that keeps me nice and warm: a hug from you.” Then she hugged her husband. “And when I need something tasty, all I need is a kiss from you, dear.” And she kissed her husband. “And what would I do with all those jools, when I have all these wrinkles from smiling?” “To me, they are more precious than any jools you could give me: they are the true token of happiness.” “No one will ever take them from me, they will stay with me until my dying day.” “So thank you dear, for all those things you have given me,” she said. After that, they celebrated every day like it was an anniversary... ...with hugs, kisses and a lot of smiling, giving them even more wrinkles. We should live our lives like that too. But a pie or too wouldn't hurt, I am sure! The End.