John Larrysson Column: Summer Story Chapter 1 Part 9 - Winter Night

The best times of all were at night. After supper Pa brought his traps in from the shed to grease (cover with oil) them by the fire. He rubbed them bright and greased the hinges of the jaws and the springs of the pans with a feather dipped in bear's grease.

There were small traps and middle sized traps and great bear traps with teeth in their jaws that Pa said could break a man's leg if they shut on it.

While he greased the traps, Pa told Laura and Mary little jokes and stories, and afterwards he would play his fiddle (violin).

[audio 1]

The doors and windows were tightly shut, and the cracks of the window frames stuffed with cloth, to keep out the cold. But Black Susan, the cat, came and went as she pleased, day and night, through the swinging door of the cat-hole in the bottom of the front door. She always went very quickly, so the door would not catch her tail when it fell shut behind her.

One night when Pa was greasing the traps he watched Black Susan come in, and he said: "There was once a man who had two cats, a big cat and a little cat."

Laura and Mary ran to lean on his knees and hear the rest.

"He had two cats," Pa repeated, "a big cat and a little cat. So he made a big cat-hole in his door for the big cat. And then he made a little cat-hole for the little cat."

There Pa stopped.

"But why couldn't the little cat - " Mary began.

"Because the big cat wouldn't let it,” Laura interrupted (to talk when someone else is talking).

"Laura, that is very rude. You must never interrupt", he said.

"But I see," he said, "that either one of you has more sense than the man who cut two cat-holes in his door."

Then he laid away the traps, and took his fiddle out of its box and began to play. That was the best time of all.

[audio 2]

Read by John Larrysson, from a book called The Little House in the Big Woods.

The Little House in the Big Woods

Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night

Chapter 1 - Part 3: Venison

Chapter 1 - Part 4: Smoked Meat

Chapter 1 - Part 5: Food for Winter

Chapter 1 - Part 6: Butchering Time

Chapter 1 - Part 7: After Butchering Time

Chapter 1 - Part 8: Winter

Chapter 1 - Part 9: Winter Night

Chapter 1 - Part 10: About the Author & Where to Find the Book

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A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for more than a decade.