“The Sea looks happy today,” Amaryllis remarked to her Granddad after breakfast, as he smoked his pipe. She was scrooched up beside him in the long chair on the terrace of his house. She was too big any more to sit on his lap, but she still liked to snuggle with him whenever she could. “The waves are dancing and clapping their hands,” she said importantly.
“Aye, that they are, and I know why,” said the silver-haired hobbit, smiling and wrapping an arm tightly about the elfling, who was nearly as tall as himself now. Her braided hair was blue-black and full of soft waving mystery like her mum’s, her eyes violet and starry like her grandmum’s, her features sharp and fair like her dad’s, but her spirit was all her own.
Why was I named for a dead person? she had demanded to know when informed that she'd been named for her great-aunt, her Granddad’s sister, who had died when she was a tiny babe. They had told her that after she’d demanded to know why she’d been named for a boat—her best friend Silivren’s parents having a boat bearing the same name. You should feel honored, her parents both told her, and so did Silivren’s parents, and also Silivren’s brother Little Iorhael, who wasn’t so little now, but was still called that so as not to confuse him with Granddad. And they showed her the pretty stone bearing the name of the great-aunt. Amaryllis knelt down and stared at it, trying to feel honored. She tried sitting on it, but that only made her bottom cold, so she danced around it, humming her favorite song, then running and jumping over it again and again. When that didn’t work, she picked some of the flowers that grew nearby and made a garland, and wrapped it about herself, and knelt down again, but still could not understand why she should feel honored to be named for a dead baby, and finally she laid the garland gently over the stone and went home with her hands clasped behind her back. How could a baby be a great-aunt anyway?
“There’s a good reason why it glitters and dances today, my Bud,” Granddad was saying as she laid her head on his shoulder and took his hand in hers. “And that’s because someone special is coming to the Island.”
“Truly?” She lifted her head and looked him full in the face. “How do you know this, Granddad?”
“The star-glass told me,” he said nodding. “And it never lies.”
“Ahhh! Don’t tell me who’s coming,” she said, and for some reason she shut her eyes tight. “Let me guess. He’s coming by ship, right?”
“Well, it’s a bit far to swim, I should think,” her Granddad said with a naughty twinkle in his still bright blue eyes. “And I somehow doubt he’ll be arriving by wave-board. So tell me, who’s coming?”
Amaryllis giggled. She knew perfectly well who was coming. She just liked to pull her Granddad’s leg when she could. “Is it…can it be…oh, pooh. The others are here!”
Not that she wasn’t always glad to see her cousins, but today they were spoiling The Moment. And she’d wanted to be alone with Granddad when she spoke The Name. It wouldn't be the same if she spoke it now.
Six of them were approaching the cottage now, two boys and four girls. Summershine, their mum, held the two littlest ones by the hands, smiling gaily as she hastened them along—she was always smiling and sunshiny, just like her name, and she laughed and swooped up the smallest one in a circle then balanced him on her hip, as his sister broke away and began to run. Well, but Amaryllis had one comfort: she knew ahead of all the others Who was coming! And she couldn’t wait one more moment to tell them, and so she sprang up from the chair and dashed out to meet them, nearly knocking poor Granddad out the other side in her haste.
He chuckled to watch her go, feeding the ashes of his pipe to the midsummer breeze. Anemone was coming out the door just then, and she looked at him with a huge smile--well, huge for a woman of about three feet and eight inches high--for he was outshining the sun, himself, in his radiance, which no amount of age could steal from him. Whether it was at the sight of the great-grandchildren or at the thought of Who was coming, she could not have said for certain.