‘And look at this!’ He held up a thing that glittered in the sunlight. It looked like a new-opened leaf of a beech-tree, fair and strange in that treeless plain.
‘The brooch of an elven cloak!’ cried Legolas and Gimli together.
‘Not idly do the leaves of Lórien fall,’ said Aragorn. ‘This did not drop by chance: it was cast away as a token to any that might follow. I think Pippin ran away from the trail for that purpose.’
‘Then at least he was alive,’ said Gimli. ‘And he had the use of his wits, and of his legs, too. That is heartening. We do not pursue in vain.’
(J.R.R. Tolkien: The Two Towers: The Riders of Rohan)
Fast forward 7 chapters:
‘And here is also your brooch, Pippin,’ said Aragorn. ‘I have kept it safe, for it is a very precious thing.’
‘I know,’ said Pippin. ‘It was a wrench to let it go; but what else could I do?’
‘Nothing else,’ answered Aragorn. ‘One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters. You did rightly.’
(J.R.R. Tolkien: The Two Towers: Flotsam and Jetsam)
There is lots to say to this little interaction, one of which being that Aragorn kept the little brooch safe through the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
But this is one of these little nuggets of gold that Tolkien’s writing is so full of, and it reflects a Stoic attitude. Clinging to stuff for the stuff’s sake, being unable to part from something precious, proves that we are indeed bound, and not free to do what is right and necessary.
How about you: Are you possessed by your possessions?