John Larrysson Column: Summer Story Chapter 3 Part 1 Introduction - The Long Rifle

This summer, I will read to you the next part from the book called The Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Over the last two years I have read a chapter each summer. Each chapter in this book stands on its own. This is a true story based on the life of the author, Laura.

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Two summers ago I read you chapter 1. The story is about a little girl, named Laura, and her family. She grew up in the American wilderness about a hundred and fifty years ago. At that time, America was an undeveloped country without modern factories, electricity, roads or cars. Her family lived in a little wooden house in a big forest. They had to grow or hunt all their own food. In the first chapter we learned about life in the forest and the games they played.

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Last summer I read you chapter 2. Winter in the forest was a difficult time. However for Laura, and her sister Mary, they stayed indoors and helped their mother with the housework. They played games and sang songs. Her father also told the story of Grandfather and the Panther.

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Chapter Three, The Long Rifle, begins next week. In many dictionaries the definition of a rifle is “a gun that has a long barrel and that is held against your shoulder when you shoot it” (Merriam Webster) or something similar. This is not completely correct, other long guns would be shot in the same way. A rifle has a special barrel. A gun's barrel is the part of a gun where the bullet leaves. Bullets are small pieces of metal shot from a gun. A rifle is a gun with rifling. Rifling is a long spiral (a shape made by curved grooves) cut into the inside of a gun's barrel. This cut causes the bullet to spin when it is shot out of the gun. A spinning bullet goes in a straighter line. This chapter is about the gun Laura's father has. Also her father tells a story about when he was a little boy.

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To make reading easier I will add definitions or notes in brackets after the first time less common words are used. Look at the previous chapters for some words. Often I will alter the text so that the meaning is explained in context. I usually only make minor changes to the original text to use UK spelling or to simplify meanings. This summer, I needed to add a few notes to explain how the use of a gun was very different in the time and place where Laura grew up.

The original book is in the public domain under Hong Kong copyright law. This simplified copy is under a new copyright.

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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

Chapter 2 - Part 1: Winter Days and Winter Nights

Chapter 2 - Part 2: Jack Frost

Chapter 2 - Part 3: Laura and Mary Helped Mother with the Housework

Chapter 2 - Part 4: Churn on Thursday

Chapter 2 - Part 5: The Best Time of All

Chapter 2 - Part 6: Her Father Began to Play his Fiddle and Sing

Chapter 2 - Part 7: Father Told Stories

Chapter 2 - Part 8 - The Story of Grandfather and the Panther

Chapter 3 - Part 1: Introduction (The Long Rifle)

Chapter 3 - Part 2: Making Bullets

Chapter 3 - Part 3: Cleaning the Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 4: Loading the Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 5: Where and Why to Keep a Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 6: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 1

Chapter 3 - Part 7: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 2

by John Larrysson

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A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.