At sunrise on 9 March III 3019, the people of Minas Tirith saw a strange sight: the grey figure of Mithrandir (their name for Gandalf) mounted on Shadowfax and accompanied by a figure out of legend: a perian or Halfling. They rode immediately to the Citadel to confer with Denethor, and after their passing rumours began to spring up about Mithrandir's mysterious companion. Since he was in the company of a Wizard, and went directly into long counsel with the Steward, the people assumed that the Halfling must be a noble, and entitled him Ernil i Pheriannath, 'Prince of the Halflings'. Even more rumours sprang up around the 'prince', and by the time he emerged from Denethor's audience chamber, it was said that he would bring five thousand more of his kind to Gondor's aid, or that the Rohirrim would ride to Minas Tirith each carrying a Halfling warrior.
The mysterious Halfling prince was Peregrin Took, and after he emerged from his long meeting with Denethor, he explained to the people of Minas Tirith that he was not a leader of his people, nor were armies of Hobbit warriors on their way to relieve the city. Nonetheless the people took him to their hearts, and even after discovering the truth, they still used the title they had given him: Ernil i Pheriannath, 'Prince of the Halflings'.
Though Pippin denied the title of 'prince', it was not entirely inappropriate. As the son and heir to Thain Paladin II of the Shire, he was as close to a being a prince as it was possible to come in Shire society. Of course, the people of Gondor were thinking in quite different terms - to them the title Ernil or 'Prince' typically denoted an important lord or leader such as the Prince of Dol Amroth or the Prince of Ithilien.
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