The Measure of Love by Lbilover

Based on the word of the day 'apotropaic' which means intended to ward off evil. Anise seeds were indeed thought to ward off evil.


'Take these, Sam-lad,' the Gaffer said.


Sam looked up from his packing to see his father's hand held out toward him. On the leathery palm rested a half-dozen seed pods, shaped like a flower with eight petals, each petal containing a buff-coloured seed.


'I reckon I won’t need no anise seeds, Dad,' Sam replied. 'Mr. Frodo ain’t prone to stomach upset.'


To Sam's surprise, the Gaffer reddened slightly. 'They ain't meant for that.'


'Then what for?' asked Sam in puzzlement.


The Gaffer grew even redder. 'For keeping you from harm. Things be right queer down in Buckland, agin that Old Forest. Just you put these seeds under your pillow while you sleep, that's all. And don't give me no lip about it neither.'


'I won't, Dad.' Sam took the anise pods, wrapped them carefully in a kerchief and stowed them away.


Not another word was said about it, not that Sam would have found it easy to speak anyway, for he was oddly choked up. It wasn't like his dad to yield to superstition. Well, Sam thought, if he needed a measure of the Gaffer’s unspoken love for him, or his fear for a son going off to 'foreign parts', it resided in those half-dozen seed pods.


But it was a measure of Sam's unspoken love for Frodo Baggins, and his fear, that he snuck them under Frodo's bedroll behind his back the first night they camped on the way to Crickhollow, and every night thereafter.