Written for Purimgifts 2018.


The grass was fresh and cool under Riwelyth's toes as she moved through the orchard, and a soft spring breeze stirred the young leaves in the sunlight. Riwelyth hummed as she went, a peaceful hmm-hoom, and she heard the trees sing back to her in answer. Leaves and branches turned towards her as she passed; she touched them with her own barky fingers, letting each tree speak to her of its health and growth. From the answers she received, they were content and flourishing. Their branches grew straight and their leaves spread to the sunlight; their roots drank water, and they took nourishment from the fertilizer that she had spread around them. She examined each tree with her eyes as well, in case something afflicted them that they had not yet perceived. To her satisfaction, leaf and bark were whole and healthy, not gnawed by caterpillars or small insects.

She took a winding course through the orchard in order to pass by each tree. They were planted not in straight rows, but one here and one there, and of different kinds: apple and cherry, pear and walnut. Although the arrangement might have seemed purposeless to the eyes of Men, Riwelyth had set each tree and smaller plant carefully in its place. Each tree grew where it would be content and healthy, receive sunlight without blocking other trees, and provide a place for birds and small wild creatures to make their nests and burrows. The trees were spaced widely apart, and underneath them grass and flowers sprang up to form a meadow. She had nurtured her orchard in this way, carefully adding little by little, for many lives of Men.

Riwelyth had nearly finished her task when she heard a high call from the other end of the orchard. Putting her hands to her mouth, she gave a wordless call in return. Her Ent-strides quickly carried her over the grass, and she found the one she expected, her friend and companion Lumúrin. While Riwelyth's winding hair sprouted a crown of white flowers like apple-blossoms in this season, Lumúrin's bark and limbs were akin to the beeches. Like a mature beech that cast a wide spreading shade, Lumúrin gave her strength and protection to all trees and plants that she approached.

They each swayed in greeting, like a tree bending with the wind. "How grows your garden?" Lumúrin asked.

"It grows well," Riwelyth said with satisfaction. "And yours?"

"My trees and berry-bushes grow well. There will be much to share: a fine crop of berries in summer and fruit in autumn."

"If the Ents were here," Riwelyth said, smiling, "they would beg us to come away to their forests with them."

Lumúrin laughed, like clear water rising from a well. "There is too much to do here," she said. "We cannot leave our gardens neglected to go a-wandering! And I know our land is fairer than any."

"Perhaps in another century, when my young trees are stronger and don't require so much care. If they wish to see us, let them come to us!" And the two Entwives went side by side through the orchard, well pleased with all they saw.


Notes:

When I was looking up orchards in order to write this, I found a reference to meadow orchards, which I used as a basis for Riwelyth's orchard. I thought the Entwives would like them.

Treebeard says in The Two Towers that the Entwives didn't desire to speak with the trees and plants they tended, but only for them "to hear and obey what was said to them," but I'm not entirely sure I believe him. I think he means well, but that he has trouble understanding the Entwives' thoughts and motives.