Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. This story is not meant to violate the rights held by New Line, Tolkien Enterprises, nor any other licensee, nor is any disrespect intended. I don’t own Tolkien’s original characters, however, my OC’s, Gwinthorian, Garrick, Devon and several other Rangers are exclusively my own.

by Larrkin

Of all Gandalf’s fine rockets thus far this night, the fire-breathing dragon was best! The absolute best! Even though half the hobbits in the Shire ended up flat on their bellies as it roared past our heads – oh! That thing was magnificent! After it exploded over the lake we all clambered up, and while some of the older, grumpier sorts growled about such foolish, dangerous wizardry, most of us laughed ourselves silly, applauded wildly and hoo-hoooo-ed with glee! The littlest nippers giggled and squealed, though some of them still clung to their mamas’ skirts, the fierceness of the dragon being a bit too much for them.

It had nearly been a bit too much for me. And as it thundered our way all I could think was ‘
Bilbo!' I had to get to him, keep him safe, for even though this gigantic monster of fire and sparkle wasn’t really ‘real’ it still might unnerve him badly. I’d grown up listening to his tales of Smaug. I knew the shimmer of fear that could still light up Bilbo’s eyes when he spoke of his encounter with that very real dragon. So I got to him and pulled him down, and just in time, too. The dragon zoomed right over us, raced out to the lake, and burst into thousands of glistening lights over the water, and then, Oh! the hobbit roars of delight!

“Hoorah for Gandalf!” everyone bellowed, the party erupting into gaiety once more. In a twinkling, tables and benches were righted and covered with yet more food and more ale and the music began again and the dancing re-commenced.

“That was splendid! Splendid!” Bilbo laughed and chuckled, still clapping his hands. “I must find my old friend and congratulate him on yet another great success! But --” He looked around, his eyes searching. “But where--? Frodo, do you see Gandalf about?”

The wizard was always easy to spot, towering as he did over the crowd. I gazed out across the sea of curly hobbit heads, craning my neck this way and that.

“Hm. I don’t see him anywhere, Bilbo.”


“Hm.” I glanced at my uncle. He looked like he could do with a sit down and an ale, so I nodded to a lad heading our way with a tray full of sloshing flagons. “I’ll go find him,” I said shoving a flagon in Bilbo's hand and urging him to sit on the bench. “Wait here. He’s probably near the fireworks wagon.”

“Thank you, dear boy!” Bilbo tossed back his first big gulp. “There’s a good lad.”

And off I trotted in search of the wizard. Odd that I couldn’t just look up and see him, or at least his hat. But when I approached his wagon – which was off limits to all but him, I slowed my steps, and the closer I got the more I slowed down . . . listening . . .

Gandalf’s wagon sat at the edge of the party grounds where few cared to stroll, but there were several storage tents around here, most of them empty now, and I heard a sound coming from the closest tent that, well, shocked and intrigued me. I crept closer, and, noooo, there was no mistaking the sound I heard. It was the sound of a spanking, and a fairly sincere spanking at that. And I had a feeling I knew who . . . .

I stole along the outside shadow of the tent, then stopped and held very still, listening . . . . Oh, yes; I knew who was doing the spanking. I knew from first-hand experience that Gandalf’s Big Person Palm sounded different than a hobbit’s palm sounded when whacking a hobbit bottom. Gandalf’s was a whack that made one gulp! And I knew whose voice was wailing rather piteously.

“AHHHHHHH! S-Sorrrryyy Gan-Gandalf! OW! OW! OWWWWWWWWWWW!”

Yes, indeed. That was Merry’s distinctively low tone, now thick with tears. I stood frozen in place, dumbfounded, wondering what on earth was going on. Well, with my cousins it could be any outlandish kind of mischief.

“Hmmmph. I dare say you are sorry young Brandybuck.” Gandalf’s gruff voice. He sounded decidedly peeved. “Anyone with a bottom as red as yours could do no less than be quite sorry indeed.”


So, this spanking had been going on for some time. Of course Pippin was likely involved, too. I didn’t hear any sniffly, snuffly recovering-just-spanked-Pip sounds, though, so perhaps my littlest cousin hadn’t yet had his turn over Gandalf’s knee. But I’d bet my next month’s ale allowance that Pip was in that tent, watching and trembling.

“Sorrrryyyy! Big-BIG sorry!”

“So you’ve been saying. And why are you big-big sor --”

“S-sorry we took th-the fire w-works and set off th-the dragon!”

Aha. 'We.' Sorry
we took the - WHAT? Sorry they – WHAT? Merciful stars! So that was why the dragon had so perilously mowed down the crowd! I’d wondered what Gandalf had been thinking. Well, this explained it. Ohhhh, that my mischievous cousins had, ohhhhhhh! Those two would dare almost anything. But to mess about with Gandalf’s fireworks, most of which were highly dangerous! A bolt of hot anger flashed through me. Why, they could have set the party afire! They could have set themselves afire!

“Do you realize that you two could have set the party afire, sir?”


“Do you realize that you two could have set yourselves afire?”

“Y-Yessssss! Yes, Gan-d-dalf!”

“And you do realize that it is only by the grace of the Valar that you received a mere charring?”

A - A charring? They were ‘
charred?’ Oh, no! Were they all right? Well, clearly they must be, or Gandalf wouldn’t be spanking them. But, it could have been so much worse! I drew my nails to my teeth and began gnawing.

“Uh-huhhhhh! Y-Yessirr! Real-lize! Sooooo so sorrrrry!”

“Very well then.” A final huge spank that made Merry howl, then the swats halted. Merry wept in a garbled manner, probably into the crook of his arm, and after a few moments Gandalf muttered, “Come here, youngling.”

I envisioned what I heard next, a rustling about, whimpers and Merry’s hoarse voice, snuffled within the grey wizard robes, repeatedly mumbling, “S-Sorryyyy, G-Gandalf,” followed by a rumbly, “Hush now. Shh. I know. Forget it, young sir. That’s enough, now. ‘Tis over.”

Somewhere in that tent, likely clinging to the shadows and shifting from foot to foot was an anxious wee Took. But I heard nothing beyond the comfort sounds of Merry’s calming time . . . nothing save Pippin’s heavy, ominous silence.

Why I kept standing there, I’ve no idea. Morbid curiosity kept me locked in place. But the sudden notion of possible discovery came to me, so I turned to slink back to the party when:

“Frodo! Come in here at once!”

I near jumped out of my skin! Gandalf’s growled order ripped through me like hot lightning, setting every nerve a-quiver. I stood there, blood pounding, shaken. No use wondering just how Gandalf knew I was outside the tent. He simply knew, wretched wizard!


“Coming!” I cried, jolted into action.

“At once!”

“Coming, Gandalf! Coming!” I scurried ‘round to the front of the tent. This was silly. I had nothing to fear. I hadn’t done anything but eavesdrop for a few minutes. No, nothing to fear.

I scampered into the tent and saw what my imagination had tried to conjure, but had fallen short of actually envisioning. Merry was a freakish sight! His hair, blackened with soot, stood straight up on end! He looked fried! Oh, that he should have been so close to such a roaring flame! His tears had sliced glistening trails down through the soot covering his face, and he was now smearing his cheeks even more by trying to swipe the wetness away with his forearms. My cousin, usually so very aware of his dandified appearance, was an absolute mess. My anger melted and my heart went out to him.

With his britches still down below his knees, Merry sat perched on Gandalf’s big lap, staring at me, plainly stunned to see me there. Gandalf, however, gazed at me with an expression of polite inquiry mixed with a vexed frown. A vexed wizard wasn’t a good thing.

A slight shift in the shadows next to me made me jump. Ah. There he was. Pippin. Looking just as frightful as Merry did. I don’t know when I’d ever seen my pretty cousin looking quite so pathetic. I stared, tangled between the urge to burst out laughing and the longing to spank him myself. Pippin stood perfectly still, peering at me with round eyes full of astonished dismay. Being caught and facing a spanking from Gandalf was bad enough, but now, a witness to their comeuppance – horrors!

“WELL?” Gandalf barked.

All three of us flinched and looked at him. But the wizard was staring at me.

“I-I-I – ”


“Well, I . . . I was j-just . . . ” And my mind went blank. I hadn’t done anything wrong, not really, and yet my mind went positively blank.

“You need answer but one question, Master Baggins,” Gandalf rumbled. “Did you have any part in this dragon rocket theft?”

I gasped. “NO! No, I certainly did not!”

“No, he didn’t, Gandalf!” Merry cried at the same moment. “He really didn’t!”

“NOOOOOO!” Pippin stepped forth into the torchlight. “Frodo dinna know anything about it! It was just me and Merry did it, Gandalf! Just us!”

“Yes, just us. Frodo wouldn’t do anything so, so – ”

“Naughty!” Pip burst in. “He’d never do something so naughty and – and – ”

“Dangerous?” Gandalf raised a bushy brow, freshly peeved. Seriously peeved.

Silence, then: “Uh . . . well, yes.” Merry studied his toes and swallowed hard. “D-Dangerous.”

“Aye,” Pippin muttered. “D-Dangerous, and – and – ”

“Naughty.” Gandalf cast Pip a glower.

“I-I came looking for you for Bilbo’s sake, Gandalf,” I said, feeling I’d best explain myself and quickly. “He wanted to tell you how wonderful the, well, how-how wonderful the dragon w-wasss –” No saving that awkward moment. I squirmed for my cousins, even though I was upset with them.

“Then you’ve naught to fear from me, Frodo,” Gandalf said, tugging Merry’s britches back into place, “save a warning against ill-mannered inquisitiveness. Come. Make yourself useful. Sit you down with your sore-bottomed cousin whilst I deal with his co-conspirator.”

Pippin whimpered softly and I gave him a ‘be brave little cousin’ nod, then I looked about. A large pile of tarpaulin lay bunched to one side of the tent, so I heaped it into a sofa-like form that Merry and I could share, then I sat, spreading my legs just as Gandalf put Merry down and gave his bottom a tap, heading him in my direction. Gingerly rubbing his behind and swallowing back sniffles, Merry collapsed down between my legs and my open arms, hissing when he connected with the tarpaulin. Oh, but he was a sooty mess! It took me a moment to get used to the scent of burnt hair and singed clothing, but I helped shift him onto his hip and lean back against me, settling him within my arms. We then turned our attention to Pippin’s plight.

“Come, sir,” Gandalf said, and he held a hand out to Pip.

My young cousin wasn’t mad enough to outright defy a wizard, but Gandalf the Grey was known at times to be a touch impatient and at present he was clearly of the opinion that Pippin could be moving at a brisker pace.

“Tonight, Master Took!” he barked, and Pippin squeaked and scurried towards him, close enough for Gandalf to snag his wrist, drag him forward, scoop him up and toss him over his lap.

Merry quivered when Pip hit Gandalf’s knees. He pressed himself back against me and in a broken voice he murmured, “It was all my idea, Frodo. My fault.”

I grinned against his singed hair. This was oft Merry’s claim. ‘
My fault, my fault, it’s all my fault. I’m the older one. I got Pip into this. My fault, Frodo.’ I knew what he needed to hear, and it was the absolute truth.

“Rubbish, Merry. Hush. Pippin does just as he pleases. You know that. Think on it, sweet cuz. I’ll wager this was just as much his idea as it was yours.”

And after a moment Merry sniffed and nodded.

“Of course,” I said. “So he deserves to be spanked. He deserves that redemption, doesn’t he?”

“Yes." Merry snuggled further back against me. “Oh, yes. He deserves that.”

I kissed his ear and we turned our full attention to Pippin who was now in true dismay. Gandalf had spanked me a few times, just as he had my cousins, but when one is used to the dimensions of a normal-sized hobbit lap, a Big Person’s lap seems enormous and is greatly unsettling. Gandalf wasn’t giving Pip much time to become acclimated either. He quickly settled a nervously squirming Pippin over his lap, undid his braces, settled Pippin again, pulled down his britches and bared his backside, settled Pippin yet again, growled, “Will you stop that writhing about!” and delivered his first swat.

“OWW! Aye, sir!” Pip cried, wiggling around even more.

“He can’t help it,” Merry murmured to me.

“I know,” I whispered.

“He can’t stop himself. He has to squirm.”

“Don’t worry. I vow Gandalf will remember that in a moment.”

I doubted Gandalf had truly forgotten that it was Pippin’s way to squirm. Pip relied on others to control him for he simply couldn’t control himself. And after less than a minute of spanking a very wiggly bottom, Gandalf grumbled, “Ah, indeed, I see that you’ve still not mastered your penchant for squirming.”

“Ahhhh! N-Nay! I-I canna –”

“And you still bellow to excess.”


“Trust me, young Took. You do indeed bellow to excess.”

And so Pippin did. Gandalf was in fine form, tonight, and he plainly meant to teach a lesson my cousins would not forget. Although I hadn’t seen Merry’s spanking, I’d seen the results displayed on his red backside and I’d seen Merry’s state of dishevelment. I knew from unhappy experience that my uncle Saradoc, Merry’s father, could deliver quite a walloping. Gandalf had apparently just done the same to Merry.

So of course Pippin, true to form, was squirming and bellowing to excess, and Gandalf had no choice but to secure his little legs between his own to keep Pippin still.

I whispered to Merry, “Any moment now he’ll --”

“Put his hand back to cover his --”

And, as if on cue, Pippin whisked his hand back to cover his hot bottom, bawling anew when Gandalf grasped his wrist, drew it up over his back and went right on spanking him.

“It’s rather like a dance,” I murmured in Merry’s ear, “each step in its proper order.” And he nodded, for there were simply certain practices one carried out during a spanking, such as trying in any manner to save one’s bottom from the next burning spank, feeble though the attempt may be. Pippin was fulfilling those practices.

“Instinct,” Merry said. “I tried to cover my backside, too.”

“I would have done so as well,” I said, and thank the Valar I wasn’t with my cousins when they planned this little escapade, for, dangerous though it was, reckless though it was, I might have found myself caught up in it with them. I’d have been guilty of shielding them, at the very least. And I knew that, without a doubt, Gandalf would have had no trouble spanking three hobbits in a row.

It didn’t take the wizard long to redden a backside. That big hand could cover an entire hobbit bottom with one smack. There was great economy in that. It took two smacks with a hobbit-sized hand to cover an entire bottom. Dreadful thoughts to entertain when my cousin was taking a spanking.

“He’s making us do the dishes after this,” Merry suddenly muttered.


“And he says he’s gonna stay right there and keep an eye on us.”


“He said that way he’s sure we’ll stay out of mischief.”

Well, Gandalf was right about that. “I’m sorry, Merry.”

“Well . . .” He turned and gave me a weak grin. “At least we’ll be standing.”

I do so love my cousins. They’re the most irresponsible dunderheads at times, but nothing ever really knocks them down. Nothing. They’re irrepressible and devoted and loyal, and although they were going to be stuck in the scullery washing up, they were nonetheless accepting of whatever came their way. And I doubted Gandalf would force them to stay there for the rest of the entire party.

“AHHHHHHHHHH! G-Gandalf! P-Pleeeeeease! Sorrryyyyyy!”


Pippin was crying quite sincerely now, and Gandalf had released his legs, allowing him to kick if he liked. Ah, more freedom! Always a good sign during a spanking as it’s often a signal that the end is in sight. Pippin took full advantage. He kicked his little legs and wiggled and squalled.

Gandalf hadn’t lectured much during this spanking, but there wasn’t much to say really. Merry and Pip knew what they’d done and they knew they deserved all Gandalf chose to give. The matter was plain and straightforward. A few confirmations and apologies, though, such babblings could be expected to go on throughout.

“Sor-ry we were naughty, Gand-dalf!”

“Yesssss, I know,” the wizard purred.

“We dinna m-mean it!”

“You didn’t mean to fire off the rocket?”

“Uhh, oh, n-noooo, we-we meant to d-do that. But--”

“Stop there, my lad. Did you know you should not have taken the rocket?”

“Aye, s-sir!”

“Did you take it nonetheless?”

“Aye, s-sir!”

“Then that is all there is to say.”

“Aye, but we dinna m-mean it, Gandalf!”

“Yesssss, I know,” Gandalf repeated, sighing heavily. He glanced over at Merry and me with a look of exasperated affection, that flinty glitter in his eye he seemed to have fashioned for hobbits alone.

Gandalf is simply fond of the Shire, and he enjoys the company of hobbits,” Bilbo had once told me when I was very young and puzzling over why so great a being as a wizard would choose to spend time with hobbits. “Ask him yourself if you like. He’ll answer you truthfully, lad.”

And so I did. I asked, “
Why do you like coming to spend time with us in the Shire, Gandalf?”

“Why not?”
he’d replied.

Well, because . . . well, aren’t there bigger more important things for a great wizard to do in Middle Earth?”

He gave me a quiet smile and said, “
Frodo, when you’ve lived as long as I have you’ll come to realize that there’s nothing more important than a full pipe and a warm hearth and the company of good friends.”

Wise wizard. And he was indeed nearing the end of Pippin’s spanking. My little cousin looked depleted. He was reduced to only an occasional weak kick and he’d stopped wrenching around all together. Small wonder. His wee bottom was every bit as red as Merry’s was. Ow. And now I realized that I was hearing something familiar, something similar to what I’d heard when Merry had been in Pippin’s place:

“Sorry Gand-dalf! Big-big sorrryyy!”

“And why are you big-big sorry, Peregrin Took?”

“S-sorry we f-fired off a r-rocket, and sh-shouldn’t have touched it and we-we set off th-the dragon!”

“Do you realize that you two could have set the party afire, sir?”


“Do you realize that you two could have set yourselves afire?”


“And you do realize that it is only by the grace of the Valar that you received a mere charring?”


“Are you bellowing at me, ye' little bratling?”

“Nooo, no, soorrry! Not bel-lowing! But I-I-I do know! I dooo! Could’ve been burned up! B-Burned bad! So, I-I’m so sorrrrry, Gandalf!”

“Very well then.” A final huge swat that made Pip howl, then: “Come here, little one.”

And this time I didn’t need to envision anything. I watched Gandalf turn Pippin and gather him up and cuddle him close, my cousin near vanishing within the folds of Gandalf’s grey robes. Pippin’s weeping softened now, muffled within those robes, and he occasionally stammered in a small, sweet voice, “s-sorryyyy,” and “d-dinna mean to cause t-trouble,” followed by Gandalf's rumbled, “Hush now. Shh. I know. Forget it, little Took. No more fussing. ‘Tis over now.”

I held a melted Merry and we watched Gandalf rock and soothe Pippin until he quieted. And when Pippin was fully calmed, Gandalf sat him up on his lap and reached over to snag Pippin’s britches from the floor. Once again Pip had kicked them off. Oh, but he was a pitiable sight, though, his face just as smeared with soot and tears as Merry’s was. What a pair!

Watching Gandalf thread his britches up his legs, Pip shyly asked, “Gandalf?”


“Do-Do we really have to w-wash dishes?”


I finally tracked down Bilbo. He’d just finished telling the nippers another adventure story.

“Did you find him?” he asked me. “I’m sorry, lad. I’d forgotten all about sending you off in search of Gandalf. The little ones came and dragged me back to the story circle and, well, what could I do? Were you gone long? Where is that wizard?”

I grinned. How like Bilbo to be so caught up in his storytelling that he didn’t know how much time had gone by.

“I found him,” I said. “And I told him how much you liked the dragon. He said he’d join you soon but he had a little firework business to attend to first.”

“Firework business? There’s more? I thought that marvelous dragon was the finale.”

“He said there was a bit of cleaning up that still needed to be done.”

“Oh.” Bilbo looked off in the direction of the tents. “Oh, but he shouldn’t have to tend to such a task alone. I believe I’ll go help--”

“No, no! He’s not alone. Merry and Pippin are there. They volunteered to help him.”

“Did they?” Bilbo’s face brightened. “Did they indeed? Well! Imagine that. Offering to help clean up. Well, well. Good lads! Such good lads! Aren’t they good lads, Frodo?”

“They really are,” I said, chuckling. “The absolute best!”