If I had a Hammer

Author: grey_wonderer

Nominator: Bodkin

2006 Award Category: Times: Late Third Age: The Shire - Third Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Novella

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: It is summer in the Shire and Frodo has guests but not everything is going smoothly. Pippin has difficulty with his lessons, Merry has difficulty with Pippin, Sam puts his own safety on the line, and the Gaffer enjoys it all. With luck Frodo will get through the summer somehow.

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Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 10

Poor Frodo. Having to deal with woodworking Pippin, modest Sam and crotchety Merry. Demands beyond the call of duty for a bachelor cousin. Still at least he knows Pippin's trials from experience – that was a great sidelight on Frodo’s talents. Pippin must be so sick of not being able to do the things that his big cousins find so easy – and slightly less willing to accept the magnificence of Merry. Sam is a star – he does a brilliant job of encouraging and teaching Pippin. And boosting his confidence after the dreadful Tobias Tunnely did his best to demolish it. And letting him explain his very Pippish train of thought – and then giving him the opportunity to try out his ideas. Pippin may well come out of this having learnt a huge amount. And not just about carpentry. (Measure twice, cut once, Pippin.) But I reckon his cousins will have learnt a good deal, too. And maybe even Sam will have come to believe in himself a bit more. Merry is much more pleasant company as a hobbit with a mission – well, unless you are Tobias Tunnely. (I love the moment he lets the old carpenter know that the Heir to the Master of Buckland is Displeased.) The competition itself was a delight – full of characters – and the party afterwards just confirmed Pippin’s charm. Hamfast makes an excellent recipient for the wheelbarrow – and I’m fairly sure the design will spread rapidly throughout the Shire! I am glad Tobias Tunnely very wisely decided in the end to be gracious about his loss. Although I suspect he is extremely relieved that Sam has no plan to set up as a carpentry teacher! I really enjoyed this story - great stuff.

Reviewed by: GamgeeFest  ✧  Score: 10

This is a truly delightful story from beginning to end. The idea is simple enough - Pippin has to learn carpentry and enter his creation in a fair - yet GW's deft hand turns this into a life lesson for each hobbit concerned. Pippin is at that fragile age of adolescence where he's comparing himself to his idolistic older cousins and always measuring himself short. His difficulty with carpentry doesn't help, and Merry and Frodo's attempts to get to the heart of the matter come to nil. Sam is the unspoken hero of the piece, and his patience and perseverance as he teaches Pippin his craft is not only a delight to behold but is exactly what Pippin needs. By the end of the story, Pippin learns not only the secrets and skill of craftsmanship, but also that he is talented in many respects, and that his seemingly perfect cousins have more than a few flaws of their own. Merry learns how to be a true friend and that the meaning of 'help' isn't just doing something for someone else, but offering encouragment. Frodo learns that he doesn't always have the answer to everything and that Merry can be as sensitive to Pippin's needs as himself. Sam learns to accept praise for his work and that he's appreciated for far more than his gardening skills. Throughout the story is interweaved a most intriguing mystery. When it is finally solved and how each cousin reacts to it further proves this story to be one of the author's best.

Reviewed by: Marigold  ✧  Score: 6

This is an all-around good story! The characterisations of the cousins and Sam are spot on. Sam makes a wonderfully patient teacher, and I loved that he let Pippin do all of the work himself, unlike expedient Merry’s wish to just do the project for Pippin himself. Pippin really shone here with the cleverness of his invention, and I loved his choice of the recipient. Something that is a bit different here is that Merry and Pippin are both at an age where they are not exactly getting along the way that we are used to them doing, and that makes for a very realistic and enjoyable change. It isn't just Pippin that learns something here, Merry learns an important lesson himself, about friendship and encouragement. The OC’s in this story are also very well written and so is the dialogue and all of the descriptions. Another story by Grey Wonderer that doesn’t disappoint!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

I hereby accuse Grey Wonderer of being a corrupting influence, for this story was one of the inspirations for one of my own. Young Peregrin Took needs to take lessons in carpentry, but the teacher hired by Paladin despairs of teaching the lad anything and has declared him a menace. So it falls to Frodo to find a new tutor, and young Samwise Gamgee begins to fill in the void. But will he and Pippin survive the tutelage, and will Merry be able to get over his jealousy that here is a part of Pippin's life he can't fully aid in? As for Pippin's project and how well it will do at the Fair--well, that's still another subject! Superbly and humorously done, as always.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

I love this story. It is funny and touching, hilarious and sad, all at the same time. And woven throughout is the deep love of friends and family. The premise is simple: Pippin is to have carpentry lessons while staying at Bag End. But there are complications, not the least of which is that both he and Merry are at a rather prickly age, and are a bit at odds with one another. Poor Frodo tries to deal with it all, but the star of the story is Sam, who is calm, patient and wise. Of course all comes out well in the end. I also really enjoy the OCs, and particularly seeing Tobias Tunelly get his comeuppance.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 4

Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Sam are in wonderful character here. This story does a very good job of bringing out their distinct personalities. I liked the premise very much and the believable way that the author builds upon events to the very satisfactory conclusion. All of the hobbits in this story are excellent, the descriptions are good and the dialogue spot-on. The humour of the story is nicely balanced with the drama. Very enjoyable!