Laura's father is telling her a story about being good on Sunday.
When your grandfather was a little boy no work or play was allowed on Sunday. They must go to church, and sit quietly. Afterwards they had to sit and study from their Christian textbook.
Grandfather’s home was about halfway down the side of a steep hill. The road went from the top of the hill to the bottom, right past the front door. In winter, it was the best place for sliding downhill that you could possibly imagine.
One week Grandfather and his brothers, James and George, were making a new sledge. They worked at it every minute of their playtime. It was the best sledge they had ever made. It was so long that all three of them could sit on it, one behind the other. They planned to finish it in time to slide downhill Saturday afternoon. For every Saturday afternoon they had two or three hours to play.
But that week their father was cutting down trees in the forest. He was working hard and he kept the boys working with him. They got up early in the morning, when it was still dark. They did all the morning housework and chores by lantern-light. They were hard at work in the forest when the sun came up. They worked until dark and then there were chores to do around the house. After supper they had to go to bed so they could get up early in the morning.
They had no time to work on the sledge until Saturday afternoon. Then they worked at it just as fast as they could, but they didn't get it finished until just as the sun went down, Saturday night.
After the sun went down, they could not slide downhill, not even once. That would be breaking the Sabbath, the rule that no work was allowed on Sunday. So they put the sledge in the shed behind the house, to wait until Sunday was over.
During the two long hours in church the next day, while they kept their feet still and their eyes on the preacher, they were thinking about the sledge. At home while they ate dinner they couldn't think of anything else. After dinner their father sat down to read the Bible, Grandfather, James and George sat as quiet and as still as mice on their bench with their catechism, which was their Christian textbook. But they were thinking about the sled.
The sun shone brightly and the snow was smooth and shiny on the road; they could see it through the window. It was a perfect day for sliding downhill. They looked at their Christian textbook and they thought about the new sledge. It seemed that Sunday would never end.
Then their father fell asleep and this was the boy's chance. Next week I will tell you about what happened.
(The original book is in the public domain under Hong Kong copyright law. This simplified copy is under my new copyright.)