The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 8
Celeborn tells them that they must decide what course of action to take next. The group is at a loss without Gandalf to lead them. Boromir thinks that they should head directly for Minas Tirith and that the entire group should go to Gondor and gather their thoughts before striking into the heart of Mordor. Aragorn does not agree and they are at a stalemate. Celeborn says that wherever they go they must pass down the river before they need to make a decision. He furnishes them with the boats to do so. Sam is not happy about having to travel by boat because he fears the water as much as he fears heights. They are to leave the next day.
The company leaves and holds their own council. Aragorn had planned to travel with Boromir until Gandalf fell in the mines of Moria. Boromir still thinks that they should all go to Minas Tirith and approach Mordor with stronger arms and men. Frodo doesn't trust Boromir and Aragorn thinks it is folly to approach Mordor with arms. The point of their expedition was to enter Mordor in relative secrecy. Frodo thinks that Boromir has too great an interest in the ring. The elves supply them with a great amount of bread like food that is very filling. They warn them that they need to only eat a little at a time to keep up their strength. They also provide them with new hoods and cloaks. Their color is indiscernible and it changes with the light and the surroundings. Galadriel's maidens made the garments.
An elf returns with news from the mountains. The passes there have become impassable because of the weather and the orcs that are everywhere. Sam could not return to the Shire even if he wanted to. They walk silently out of the city and make their way slowly to the river. Near the river, the forest and its giant trees end. There are small boats in the water that have been outfitted with thin and resilient rope. The elves tell them that these are boats that will not founder no matter how much they fill them. Legolas and Gimli share one boat, Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam another, and the last is filled by Boromir, Merry, and Pippin. Sam is clearly the least comfortable of the entire group. They begin to move down the river and through the last remnants of the forest. A large boat, shaped like a swan, comes down the river and pulls up near the shore. They stop to see Celeborn and Galadriel. Galadriel sings of calm waters and beautiful forests. They bid the group to have a final farewell meal at a small portion of land. Celeborn advises them of the landscape that they will encounter as they move down river:
"'As you go down the water.. You will find that the trees will fail, and you will come to a barren country. there the River flows in stony vales amid high moors, until at last after many leagues it comes to the tall island of the Tindrock, that we call Tol Brandir. There it casts its arms about the steep shores of the isle, and falls then with a great noise and smoke...'" Book 2, Chapter 8, pg. 440
Boromir and any who go to Gondor should split in the west after the river turns to marshes. Galadriel fills one cup with white mead and they all pass it around. She presents everyone in the company with a gift. To Aragorn she gives a magnificent jeweled sheath for his sword. It is enchanted and will not let anything drawn from it break. She asks him if there is anything else he would like, and he answers cryptically that what he wants he cannot have. She also gives him a stone on a brooch to keep around his chest and lighten his heart. Boromir receives a belt of gold, and silver belts are given to Pippin and Merry. Legolas receives a fine bow with arrows. Sam is given a wooden box. It is filled with magic seeds that, when planted, will grow into a beautiful garden. She asks Gimli what he would like. Gimli speaks eloquently and says that he wants only a strand of her hair to stand as a pledge for peace between the elves and the dwarves. Many are shocked that he would think of such a request, but she smiles and gives him three strands of hair. To Frodo, she gives a crystal vial filled with magic light. He bows to her. All the boats are readied to depart again and the two parties set off in their separate ways. They pass into the currents of the river and move quickly downstream as the elves sing; the song rings in Frodo's head as he translates it for himself. Gimli tells Legolas that he has just seen the most beautiful thing on the planet. He laments that such a land may be destroyed with the ring. Legolas tells him it will grow on in his memory. Gimli thinks that memory is too cold and flat. The river current flows rapidly through the day. There are no sounds of birds in the breezeless sky. They pull onto land to sleep for the night.