One day Laura's father said that spring was coming. In the forest, the snow was beginning to melt. Bits of it dropped from the branches of the trees and made little holes in the softening snow below. At noon all the icicles hanging along the edge of the little house sparkled in the sunshine and drops of water hung shaking at their tips.
Laura's father said he must go to town to trade the skins and furs of the wild animals he had been catching all winter. So one evening he tied them up into a big bundle. There were so many furs that when they were packed tightly and tied together they made a bundle almost as big as Father himself.
Very early one morning her father strapped the bundle of furs on his shoulders and started to walk to town. There were so many furs to carry that he could not take his gun. Laura's mother was worried, but her father said that by starting before the sun came up and walking very fast all day he could get home again before dark. Laura's mother was worried because the bears in the spring were hungry. But her father knew how to deal with wild animals. Almost all wild animals will leave people alone.1
The nearest town was far away. Laura and Mary lived in the forest and had never seen a town. They had never seen a store. They had never seen even two houses standing together. But they knew that in a town there were many houses. There was a store full of candy, cloth and other wonderful things. It had gun powder, shot (bullets), salt and sugar.
They knew that her father would trade his furs to the storekeeper for beautiful things from town and all day they were expecting the presents he would bring them. When the sun sank low above the treetops and no more drops fell from the tips of the icicles they began to watch eagerly for Father.
The sun sank out of sight, the forest grew dark and he did not come home. Her mother started supper and set the bowls on the table, but he did not come home. It was time to do the chores and still he had not come home.
1 In Hong Kong's hills there are many poisonous snakes. I have stopped and watched them. None have ever been aggressive. Do not stand in the way of any snake you see, let it get away from you. I have seen idiots stand around a snake in a big circle to see what it would do. Snakes are easy to deal with, they do not outrun people.
The Little House in the Big Woods
Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction
Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night
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 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
Chapter 4 - Part 1: Christmas in the Forest
Chapter 4 - Part 2: Making a Gift for his Wife
Chapter 4 - Part 3: Christmas is Coming
Chapter 4 - Part 4: Children Make Pictures in the Snow
Chapter 4 - Part 5: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 1 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 6: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 2 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 7: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 3 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 8: Christmas Morning
Chapter 4 - Part 9: Santa Claus Only Gives Presents to Children
Chapter 5 - Part 2: The Weekly Bath
Chapter 5 - Part 3: Being Quiet
Chapter 5 - Part 4: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 1 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 5: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 2 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 6: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 3 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 7: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 4 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 8: Sunday Music
Chapter 5 - Part 9: Birthday Spanking
Chapter 6 - Part 1 - Introduction (Two Big Bears)
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
General Enquiry: We welcome enquiries and feedback. Please contact us through [email protected]