“When I went to town yesterday with the animal skins and furs I found it hard walking in the soft snow. It took me a long time to get to town and other men with furs had come in earlier to do their trading. The shopkeeper was busy and I had to wait until he could look at my animal skins and furs.
Then we had to bargain and talk about the price of each one. Then I had to pick out the things I wanted to take in trade.
So it was nearly sundown before I could start home. I tried to hurry, but the walking was hard and I was tired, so I had not gone far before night came. And I was alone in the forest without my gun. It is not good to be alone in the forest without a gun. Wolves live in the forest, so do bears and huge wild cats.
There were still eight kilometres to walk and I walked as fast as I could. The night grew darker and darker. I wished I had my gun, because I knew that some of the bears had come out of their winter dens. I had seen their tracks when I went to town in the morning.
Bears are hungry and fierce at this time of year. They have been sleeping in their dens (winter homes) all winter long with nothing to eat. That makes them thin and angry when they wake up. I did not want to meet one. I did not want to get eaten.
I hurried along as quickly as I could in the dark. The stars gave me a very little light. It was still very black where the forest was thick, but in the open places I could see, dimly. I could see the snowy road ahead a little way and I could see the dark forest standing all around me. I was glad when I came into an open place where the stars gave me this faint light.
All the time I was watching, as well as I could, for bears. I was listening for the sounds they make when they go noisily and carelessly through the bushes.
Then I came again into an open place and in the middle of the road, I saw a big black bear.
He was standing up on his back legs, looking at me. I could see his eyes shine. I could see his nose. I could even see one of his claws, in the starlight.
The hair on my head stood straight up. I stopped walking. I stood very still and quiet. The bear did not move. There he stood, looking at me.
I knew it would do no good to try to go around him. He would follow me into the dark forest, where he could see much better than I could. I did not want to fight a winter-starved bear in the dark. Oh, how I wished for my gun!”
The story continues in the next article.
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)
Chapter 6 - Part 2 - Getting Ready to Go
Chapter 6 - Part 3 - Milking Sukey the Cow (1 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4a - Milking Sukey the Cow (2 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4b - Review Questions: Milking Sukey
Chapter 6 - Part 4c - Answers for Review Questions
Chapter 6 - Part 5 - Her Father Has Not Come Home
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
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