A few years ago I started to read you the story of a little girl, named Laura, and her family. Each summer I have read a different chapter. 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. In the second chapter I told you about winter in the forest. It was hard work to stay alive. Laura, and her sister Mary stayed indoors and helped their mother with the housework. In the third chapter I told you about her father's gun, which he used to hunt the animals they ate. This summer the chapter is about Christmas.
The little log house was almost buried in snow. Great piles of snow were against the walls and windows. In the morning when her father opened the door, there was a wall of snow as high as Laura's head. Her father took the shovel and shoveled it away. Then he shoveled a path to the barn, where the horses and the cows lived. They were comfortable and warm.
The weather was good. The sky was clear and it was sunny. Laura and Mary stood on chairs by the window and looked out across the sun shining on the snow. The sun also shone on the ice that covered the trees. Snow covered their bare, dark branches and it sparkled in the sunshine. Ice dripped off the roof and made icicles at the edges of the roof. Icicles hung from the edge of the house. They were great big icicles as large at the top as Laura's arm. They were like glass and full of sunlight.
Her father's breath hung in the air like smoke, when he came along the path from the barn. The barn was the house for animals. He breathed it out in clouds and it froze on his mustache and beard. When he came in, stamping the snow from his boots, and caught Laura up in a bearhug against his cold, big coat, his mustache was wet with little drops of melting ice.