Last weekend, some brave or at least reckless hobbits did a historical field trip to the Fornost ruins. Thanks to Miss Lina, we learnt a lot about the long-lost kingdom and its past. If you didn’t drink too much of her brandy, you might even remember that there was a great war up north. I mean a thousand years ago, not last weekend! Except for a small-scale battle over pork... Anyway, that northern King needed some help in the great war. Even some Shire hobbit archers travelled north to join the Host of the West and fight the enemy, the evil army led by the Witch King. Now, I couldn’t join you on Sunday for the Fornost visit itself, because I had to return early to the Shire. But as I was about to depart, I made a discovery related to the hobbit archers. Or at least one of them: I found an old journal that is still readable. I will retell this hobbit’s story to you now… you might say that it’s quite colourful! Because the lad who owned the journal was a dye seller. And as it seems, he wasn’t one of the brightest… It all started a long time ago in the Shire. At that time, the King Arvedui of Arthedain called for aid from all good peoples, also from hobbits. Master Merimas Whitfoot was occupied with arranging his dyes at the market, when the King’s messengers arrived. ”Hear ye hear ye!” they shouted and started to read a message from a very long piece of parchment. ”We, King Arvedui of Arthedain, hereby call all free peoples to defend us in the battle against the evil forces of Angmar.” They went on for quite some time, but Master Merimas did not listen to the summons. He had more interest in having his dye phials in a proper order at his booth. But then, the messengers arrested the dye seller's attention too. ”It will be a great honour to make your own people proud of you – we should all be ready to die for a noble cause!” ”Dye for a noble cause?” Merimas repeated and jumped out from his booth. ”Where can I enlist?” he shouted over the crowd. Everyone cheered for this brave volunteer, and Merimas felt already proud of himself. That simple lad never realised what the mission was actually about... ”I bet they have a huge shortage of colour up north!” he pondered. ”I am going to bring my very best dyes along with me!” Someone also mentioned that the hobbits should bring a bow… So he selected his most colourful bow tie and put it proudly around his neck. ”I will show them the proper way to dye!” he declared, as the company of hobbits departed from the Shire. The others gave him an odd look, and no wonder… Dozens of colourful phials were strapped onto his backpack, all clinging like bells as he went. But as the oncoming battle was weighing heavily on their minds, no one paid much attention to the dye seller. As they approached the northern realm, it was already quite beaten up after centuries of war. The land was bare and and deserted, the buildings were in ruins. This didn't upset Merimas. ”This land certainly is lacking colour! I will make millions dye sales here!” Finally, they reached the battle fields and joined the western forces at a campsite near Fornost that was taken by the evil sorcerer. Merimas immediately started to offer his dyes to the generals, but they didn't seem to have any interest in his high quality products. Merimas was a bit disappointed, but he didn't despair. ”These fellows already have nicely coloured banners and clothing, so I need to find another customers,” he thought and left the camp. It was quite dark when he reached another camp, surrounded by dark banners and an awful smell. The camp was set up outside a great city wall, towering up towards the grey, gloomy skies. ”What a mess this place is,” Merimas sighed. ”It needs decorating!” So he entered the camp and looked at the place. It looked empty, but there was all kinds of gear around. ”Looks like armour, shields and weapons,” Merimas observed. ”And no colour on them! They will just blend into this dull environment. I cannot allow that!” ”Good thing I brought a lot of yellow dye. That will stand out a mile!” So, he started to paint all the stuff he found: shields, helmets, spikes and other stuff that lacked colour. Suddenly, he heard someone approach. It was a big warg, coming right at him! ”What are you doing here, maggot?” the warg snarled. ”Well, I am here to dye!” Merimas replied, not forgetting his mission. The warg looked a bit surprised; it certainly hadn't expected this kind of courage from a small hobbit! ”What a cheeky little creature you are!” it said. ”You want to try it on with me, silly maggot?” ”If you want to!” Merimas answered and, without further ado, he smacked one yellow dye phial at the warg's face. The warg didn't look too happy about it, so Merimas decided that it was a good moment to run for his life. As Merimas darted out from the enemy camp, he was closely followed by a pack of wargs, who had been summoned by their newly-dyed lieutenant. But Merimas only cared about his dyes: ”I am not yet finished with dying!” he thought. ”I need to accomplish my mission!” And so he took his backpack and threw it down on the ground as he was running down a steep hill. All the phials cracked and the dyes spread on the ground. He continued running, but the wargs slipped on the slimy dyes and rolled down the hill, ending up into a furry pile. But Merimas just kept running until he was happily back at the western forces' camp. As the western forces marched into battle the next day, Merimas was gone, probably looking for safer dye markets in other lands. But his deeds did not go totally wasted. For when the enemy army approached, it could easily be spotted, brightly coloured as it was. The hobbit archers that were positioned on a hill could clearly see their targets. Besides, the rainbow-coloured wargs didn't look that scary to the soldiers on the battlefield. And as we know, the enemy was forced to retreat on that day. So, what is the moral of the story? I think that... Even if you are not brave nor bright, you might still accomplish great deeds that matter. As an old saying of dye sellers goes: ”All that is gold does not glitter, but that can be solved with dye.” The End.