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R.R.J Tolkien 03-19-2020 07:49 AM

Sam as Frodo's Garner
Question on Sam as Frodo's garner. Was he paid for this service? did he do it for free? how did it come about?


Inziladun 03-19-2020 09:50 AM

The use of money is well documented in the Shire, so I imagine service workers like Sam were paid. The Gaffer had worked for Bilbo before, so the post wasn't simply Sam helping a friend. Since Sam was also a friend, Frodo probably also gave the Gamgees food items and other sundries from time to time.

The Squatter of Amon Rdh 04-08-2020 05:51 AM

Frodo and Sam have a normal, albeit friendly, master and servant relationship at first, but obviously that changes somewhat during the course of LR. In A Long Expected Party, Hamfast Gamgee mentions having been "prentice" to the previous Bag End gardener, Holman. We can presume, then, a more or less formal system of apprenticeships, which would make gardening a trade in the Shire. Actually a family trade, since Holman is Hamfast's first cousin at one remove through his grandfather's brother Halfred. Tradesmen normally expect payment.

It seems that Bilbo was a considerate employer, and he left Hamfast Gamgee some extremely useful items when he departed. It also seems that Bilbo and Frodo after him treated their gardeners with no little respect and consideration, especially deferring to their professional opinions.

Incidentally, there was a chemist's shop in Exmouth (not very far from Sidmouth) in the 1920s and '30s called Holman and Ham. I've often wondered if Tolkien ever saw it on one of his holidays.

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