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An Anniversary Night with Pie Competition

posted Apr 21, 2011, 2:28 AM by Yola Plumblossom
By Tibba Stoutfoot 

The first of two anniversary Green Dragon Friday nights has passed, and it was a grand night indeed! Many hobbits from near and far had come to celebrate the third year of Green Dragon nights, and Barmy was hard put to fill all the orders for ale and Wine constantly shouted by thirsty hobbits. Miss Lina, though, stood calmly in front of the fire, her trusty lute in hand, unfaced by the throng of hobbits surrounding her on the old rug. And although it was very crowded on the rug, all hobbits took care not to come too close. Perhaps it was the presence of Mistress Saphyre, sitting on the bench next to the fire, whose stern gaze kept things in order and all hobbits a few paces away. Whatever the reason, it gave Miss Lina enough room to play, and soon the inn was filled with the sounds of her lute, and the steps of merry hobbits dancing, broken by the odd "'scuse me" and "look where you put your feet!"

But this was an anniversary night, and some very special events had been planned. So as soon as the hobbits were warmed up, Miss Lina stopped playing and announced the first event of the evening: the Pie Competition. As you can imagine, interest to participate in the competition had been great, both for a spot in the competition and on the jury. As for the jury, nobody was surprised when Master Simbo was announced as the first juror. It was only natural, all agreed. The announcement of the second juror was followed avidly, hope gleaming in the eyes of many a spectator. The lucky second juror was Miss Jadite, and she took her place next to Master Simbo to the cheers of all (and the envy of many).
The participants in the competition were Miss Coromandel, Master Tibrand, Miss Amorey, Master Jerremiah, Miss Bramba (who had made the long journey from Combe to celebrate with us that night), Master Jiro, Miss Dittany, and myself. Miss Lina had all participants line up with their pies, which were all still covered, with only the smell wafting from some of them revealing the delicious dish underneath.

Then one by one, the hobbits stepped forward to present their pie to the jury. Unfortunately, the first pie (the author's) fell out of the competition at that point, as it turned out to already have been eaten by a hungry relative (not Nimelia, I hasten to say, but one of her cousins who had picked a most unfortunate time to visit and believe the pie was a welcome-pie for him). But this slight disappointment -- one pie less to taste for Master Simbo -- was soon made up by Miss Coromandel, who presented her apple and juniper pie next, to the content smiles and approval of the judges. Master Tibrand's sweet berry pie had mouths watering all around, and Miss Dittany's blueberry pie elicited some delighted oohs and aaahs from the audience. Miss Bramba presented an invention of her own, a three-course pie with three distinct and labelled sections, containing three courses of a meal all in one pie. Master Simbo was particularily fond of this pie, as it allowed him to taste it three times. Master Jerremiah proudly brought forward his pie, made to a foreign recipe with rare ingredients, and of course the revealing of this pie was followed with particular interest by all. Unfortunately, though, the recipe was of dwarfish origin, which on hindsight should have given some hint that it might have been tailored to somewhat different tastes. It was no wonder then that the Resplendent Rushock Roasted Slug Pie did not elicit the same delight in Master Simbo that it would have in a dwarfish judge, and Miss Jadite was at that point feeling a bit full and had to decline a bite.

A slight misunderstanding prevented the judging of Master Jiro's pie, as he had not known that the competition pies should be edible, and had forged a pie out of precious metals. His offer to go to the nearest forge and melt a piece off for tasting was politely declined by both judges. But the most lovely of all entries was Miss Amorey's pie. As she explained, it was a pie she only bakes on special occasions and for special friends, and I am sure all in the Dragon were envying her friends when she revealed a lovely pie with strawberries arranged in the shape of a heart on top, and recited a charming poem to go along with the tasting. So all hobbits in the room cheered long and loud when she was announced as the winner. But the other winners received hardly any less cheers: Master Tibrand, who took the second place with his sweet berry pie (mind your teeth when eating it!), Miss Bramba with her three-course pie as third, and Miss Coromandel's apple and juniper pie as fourth. Congratulations to all the winners!

After the excitement of the competition had settled, Miss Lina announced the next event: An epic poem by Master Simbo! So all hobbits, after refilling their mugs, settled down to hear how the Green Dragon came by its name, as told by an old gaffer sipping his mug and surrounded by an avidly listening audience. As there is hope that Master Simbo will publish his poem soon, we do not want to spoil the suspense for the readers by giving away too much of the story, but only like to say at this place that Master Simbo so skillfully interwove the gaffer's telling of the story with his own telling of the poem that when the old gaffer said he would not speak any more until his mug was refilled, several hobbits scrambled to their feet and rushed off to Barmy to get Master Simbo an ale.

While Master Simbo was enjoying all the ales pressed into his hands by eager hobbits, Miss Amorey stepped up to tell a different story about how the Dragon came by its name. In her version, it was the imagination of a little boy seeing a caterpillar that led to the story of a Great Green Dragon. Again, it is best to hear the story from Miss Amorey herself, as she told it most charmingly and had her audience spellbound while she spoke.
After the poem and the story, Miss Lina took the stage again, playing and singing to every hobbit's delight. Her songs to honour the Green Dragon soon had the inn filled with laughter and merry voices, and time flew as it only does on a Green Dragon night. Too soon, it was time for the last song, and many hobbits joined in the chorus to celebrate their Home Sweet Home in the Dragon. When Master Simbo stepped up to thank Miss Lina for all she has done to organise the Green Dragon nights every week, the cheers and clapping and shouts of HURRAH! surely could be heard back in Hobbiton as all the hobbits at once expressed their gratitude at the top of their lungs.

As a spectacular conclusion of the evening, the guests were treated to a magnificent firework outside the inn, which certainly woke all the hobbits in Bywater who had managed to sleep through the cheering a few moments before. With the bright colours of the fireworks in their minds, and the songs of Miss Lina in their ear, the tired and contented hobbits bid their farewell to each other and returned home, already turning their thoughts to the second anniversary night in a week. It had been a grand night, a true Green Dragon Friday night with new songs, and poems, and stories, and a lot of entertainment for all. So thank you, Miss Lina, and thank you all who come and make this night something to remember, and something to look forward to. Happy anniversary, and a great many returns!