Early that morning, Laura's father has gone to town to trade his furs for things the family would need. Now it was late evening and her father had not come home yet. Laura worried that he might have gotten hurt. He might have been eaten by a bear. Mother put supper on the table for Laura and Mary. Then they got ready for bed. They said their prayers and snuggled into the trundle bed.
Her mother finished mending the shirt. Laura saw her fold it slowly and carefully. She smoothed it with her hand. Then she did something she had never done before. She went to the door and pulled the leather latch-string. The leather latch-string was a type of lock. She pulled it inside through its hole in the door, so that nobody could get in from outside unless she opened the door from the inside. She came and took baby Carrie, all limp and sleeping, out of the bed.
She saw that Laura and Mary were still awake and she said to them: “Go to sleep, girls. Everything is all right. Your father will be here in the morning.” Then she went back to her rocking chair and sat there rocking gently and holding Baby Carrie in her arms.
She was sitting up late, waiting for their father. Laura and Mary meant to stay awake, too, until he came. But at last they went to sleep.
In the morning her father was there. He had brought candy for Laura and Mary. He also brought two pieces of pretty calico cloth to make them each a dress. Mary's was a china-blue pattern on a white background and Laura's was dark red with little golden-brown dots on it. Her mother had calico for a dress, too; it was brown, with a big, feathery white pattern all over it.
They were all happy because her father had got such good prices for his furs that he could afford to get them such beautiful presents.
The tracks of the big bear that Laura and her mother met last night were in the snow all around the barn and there were marks of his claws on the barn walls. But Sukey and the pigs were safe inside.
All that day the sun shone, the snow melted some more. Water ran from the ice hanging on the edge of the house. The ice grew thinner. Before the sun set that night, the bear tracks were only shapeless marks in the wet, soft snow.
After supper her father sat Laura and Mary on his knees and said he had a new story to tell them.