Throughout my childhood, my father used to read me bedside stories. When I was six, he started reading The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the Japanese translated version, the whole series consisted of six books, and it took us three years to complete the whole thing.
Every night, I would listen to the story all tensed up as if I were Frodo, the hero of this adventure, making the destined journey to the mountain while keeping his ring safe from his malicious enemies. I would hold my breath when the enemies were chasing Frodo and his followers, savour the food whenever they had a feast at a safe place, and cheer them up when they were about to go in a difficult battle. I was completely absorbed in the story.
During this period, my family moved to a new house in the suburb, and there were quite a few ponds surrounded by woods in the area. My father was keen to explore these spots, and I often accompanied him for a walk. Walking between the trees following narrow passages reminded me of the adventure of Frodo and Sam.
“Dad, let’s play Frodo and Sam!”
I called out one day.
“I’ll be Frodo, so you’ll be Sam, okay?”
I imagined that we were on the destined journey with the ring, chased by dangerous enemies. When I requested my father to say something so that our adventure could sound more real, I heard a husky voice behind me.
My father croaked. It was so funny that I laughed.
“Why are you sounding like that?”
My father croaked again, and said,
“This is how he speaks, isn’t it? Sam speaks like this.”
My father was using the same voice as he did when he read Sam’s lines in the book, but it sounded funnier in the outdoor context. I laughed, and continued walking. We exchanged dialogues mimicking the way Frodo and Sam would speak in the situation for the remainder of the walk. I enjoyed it so much that from that time on, whenever we went for a walk around a new pond, I would say to my father, “Let’s play Frodo and Sam!”