After the destruction of the great ring, two friends, who were not eager to part ways, made one final journey together. These two, an elf, Legolas, and a dwarf, Gimli, had agreed to re-visit the most beautiful places they had seen on their journey, but had not been able to enjoy properly on account of the war. They had just passed through the forest of Fangorn, which was Legolas’s choice of destination, and were now heading toward the cave’s of Helm’s deep.
“Fangorn has beauty in its own way, I suppose, but it is nothing compared to the beauty of the caves, as you will soon see.” said Gimli
“We shall see.” Legolas responded. He was not convinced that he would soon admit the beauty of the caves was greater than that of Fangorn, but was intrigued by Gimli’s passionate description.
By Gimli’s request they were traveling on foot. He was not overly fond of horses. They were then only a short distance from Fangorn when they spotted a small band of men traveling in the opposite direction of Rohan. Their scraggily hair and dirty faces did not match the beautifully made armor they were wearing.
“Come, let us meet these men of Rohan.” suggested Gimli “Maybe we can take some of Fangorn’s water from our supplies and trade it for some real food. Dwarves can not survive on water alone no matter how nourishing.”
“I would prefer that we avoided these men. Their dark skin and hair color do not look like those of the flaxen haired men of Rohan, and yet they ride on Rohan’s horses. That does not bode well.”
“It does not matter to me what color their hair is, I see they have meat and ale and that is enough for me. Greetings, men of Rohan!” Gimli called out.
The men did not respond and when they got a little closer, Gimli again addressed them amiably.
“We have just visited the forest of Fangorn where we have acquired some of its water. Just a few drinks substitutes as a whole meal, but we have grown tired of the taste, and wonder if you would be willing to trade some of your meat for some of this water.”
The men turned and smirked at one another. Then one who had a bushy beard and sharp eyes responded.
“We would gladly share with you, master dwarf, but we are not fond of his kind.” he said as he nodded toward Legolas.
“What argument do you have with us elves?” asked Legolas calmly.
“Elves have been nothing but trouble for us every time we meet them. They can’t keep their greedy fingers to themselves and they use their magic and tricks to steal from us.”
The other men exclaimed their agreement to this.
“Come Legolas, do not be offended.” spoke Gimli. “These men do not know of what they speak. It would be better for us to go on our way and be content with our water than to waste our time with these fools.”
“Aye, let us go..”
As Legolas and Gimli again began walking on their way the man said:
“Beware, dwarf, keeping with such company. Make sure your companion does not lead you to the woods of Lothlorien. For there, lives a most hideous elf woman, who they say is the most evil and revolting being to walk the earth.”
Gimli immediately turned around ignoring Legolas’s warning hand on his shoulder. His face was red with anger.
“Do not speak of what you know nothing about, for it shows your foolishness. I have seen Lady Galadriel, of whom you speak, and she is neither evil nor hideous, but quite the opposite. Everyone who is lucky enough to lay eyes on her agrees she is more beautiful than anyone else they have ever seen.”
The men laughed with one another.
“I have never heard a dwarf speak so favorably about an elf. You lower my opinion of dwarves. But you might regain honor in my sight if you would fight me in a duel and show your dwarvish strength and honor to this Galadriel.”
“Gimli, as you said, these fools know nothing. Let us not waste our time with them but continue on our journey.” coaxed Legolas
“What are the terms of this duel?”
“Let us fight just the two of us with just our hands. Whoever can get the other one lying on the ground first is the winner and may take as much food as he wants from the other.”
“I accept.” Gimli agreed “I’m sorry, Legolas, but I can not let The Lady Galadriel go unavenged.”
Gimli tossed his axe to the side and the man took off his sword belt. Then they began to fight. The man made the first move by trying to pick Gimli up and throw him to the ground. But Gimli was too heavy to pick up. Then Gimli tried to ram into the man, knocking him over, but that did not work either. They went on in the same way for some time until it seemed they were too evenly matched. One of the other men, who had been leaning against a cart filled with wood, began to move. He slowly picked a piece of wood from the cart and tossed it on the ground right behind Gimli. Just as Legolas tried to warn him, Gimli backed up and tripped over the wood and landed on the ground with a hard thump. All the men cheered and the challenger lifted his arms up in the air as if to soak up the the cheers from his men. As Legolas helped the fuming Gimli off the ground, the challenger walked over to him.
“I will take that nourishing water you spoke of, Master dwarf.” He said smugly, while he held out his hand.
“I will not give anything to you since that was not a fair fight,” Gimli huffed.
“It’s not my fault that you are clumsy. Come now, hand over the water or I will have to take it from you.”
The man that moved the log to trip Gimli reached inside Gimli’s pack that was lying on the ground and pulled up three flasks of the water and threw them to the other man.
“Thank you. Now I believe it is time for us to be on our way. It was a pleasure to meet you, master dwarf.” With that all the men hopped into their wagons and started off.
“May you never have the fortune of meeting Lady Galadriel,” Gimli sputtered as they left.
“Oh, I have made a mess of things now. I am sorry Legolas.”
“It may have been well that we met those men. I do not think you are the only one they swindled. Did you not notice the wagons and armor looked of Rohanian make? Similarly, their horses had Rohanian coloring. I think I can guess how they came in possession of such things”
“I should have recognized that from the beginning. Now I feel even more hostile toward these people. Maybe Treebeard could help us retake them! We would only need a couple of Ents to defeat such a small band of men!” Gimli exclaimed
“I doubt we would be able to find them again since we know so little about them. We do not have our expert tracker with us anymore.”
“Aye, Strider would be very helpful in this venture. But we must try to find them again! Rohan can not stand many more losses.”
“You speak truth. If we do not over take them by tomorrow then we will continue on our way.”
“Let us make haste. It would give me great joy to put these men in their place.” Gimli exclaimed with renewed vigor. And with that they started for Fangorn. With much heavy breathing and complaints on Gimli’s part, they made it to Fangorn in good time. They quickly found Treebeard and convinced him and a few other young Ents to help them.
“I guess that these men will be heading towards the forests between Rohan and Gondor since that is where I think they are from.” explained Legolas.
Late the next morning they were still going and had not overtaken the band of men.
“Well I suppose we have lost them” Legolas admitted sadly.
“Let us not give up yet. We could be right on their tails.” Gimli suggested hopefully.
“I’m sorry master dwarf but, I have business to attend to in Fangorn.” replied Treebeard
“Come, Gimli, let’s just forget about them.”
“It wounds my pride to let such villains go unavenged but I suppose there is nothing we can do about it.” The trio then turned around and sulkily walked back toward Fangorn. After they had been walking for several minutes Legolas paused and tilted his head as if listening
“Do you hear something?” questioned Gimli.
“Yes, I believe it is the wild men! I think we will catch those villains yet, Gimli,” replied Legolas They barely had time to finish discussing their plan of attack before the men were close enough to see. Legolas and Gimli approached the men alone, leaving Treebeard and the other Ents behind the hill unseen.
“What are you two doing here?” asked a man, warily, as Gimli and Legolas approached them.“We noticed last time we talked that these carts and material were from Rohan. We were curious to find out how you came into possession of such things.” said Gimli
“We traded them for it.” replied the man shortly.
“What did you trade it for?” asked Legolas
“I don’t see how its an elf’s business.”
“It is my business because the people of Rohan are our friends and I would not have you stealing from them.”
“And what if we did steal from them. What are you going to do about it? Reclaim it and deliver it to Rohan.” The men began to laugh but they soon stopped as Treebeard became visible. Treebeard planted his feet and made a loud yell into the sky. The villains ran in every direction. Soon Legolas Gimli and the Ents were alone with the carts and horses, who were all tied up and couldn’t run anywhere. Gimli and Treebeard began laughing and Legolas smiled.
“Well, Rohan will not get its armor back, but hopefully they won’t have need of it.”
“I am happy I was of service to you both, but I think it is time for us to return home.”
Legolas and Gimli thanked Treebeard and the ents and then watched them disappear over the horizon. After that they made a wagon train with all the horses and carts and they hopped on the first one.
“I suppose I owe you an apology for all the time I have wasted. I should have listened to you in the first place,” sighed Gimli
“I must admit I was irritated with you at first for not listening to me. But it is well you didn’t, for Rohan would not have gotten any of this back, if you had.”
“I suppose we even each other out.”
And with that they made their way to Helms Deep with few troubles.