John Larrysson's Column: Summer Story Chapter 6 Part 8 - Evening with Father

Laura said: "Ours was really a bear. But we were not scared, because we thought it was Sukey."

Her father did not say anything, but hugged her tighter.

"Oo-oo! That bear might have eaten Mother and me all up!" Laura said, snuggling closer to him. "But Mother walked right up to him and slapped him. He didn't do anything at all. Why didn't he do anything?"

"I guess he was too surprised to do anything, Laura," her father said. "I guess he was afraid, when the lantern shone in his eyes. And when your mother walked up to him and slapped him, he knew she wasn't afraid."

[audio 1]

"Well, you were brave, too," Laura said. "Even if it was only a stump, you thought it was a bear. You'd have hit him on the head with a club, if he had been a bear, wouldn't you, father?"

"Yes," said her father, "I would. You see, I had to."

Then her mother said it was bedtime. She helped Laura and Mary undress and button up their red flannel nightgowns. (Flannel is a soft cloth; it is good for making warm nightgowns and pyjamas.) They knelt down by the trundle bed and said their prayers.

"Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take."

[audio 2]

Mother kissed them both and tucked the covers in around them. They lay there awhile, looking at Mother's smooth, parted hair and her hands busy with sewing in the lamplight. Her needle made little clicking sounds against her thimble and then the thread went softly through the pretty calico cloth that her father had traded the animal skins and furs for.

[audio 3]

Laura looked at her father, who was greasing his boots. His moustache and his hair and his long brown beard were silky in the lamplight and the colours of his plaid jacket were happy. He whistled cheerfully while he worked and then he sang:

"The birds were singing in the morning,

And the myrtle and the ivy were in bloom,

And the sun over the hills was a-dawning,

It was then that I laid her in the tomb." 

It was a warm night. The fire had gone out in the fireplace and her father did not build it up. All around the little house, in the forest, there were little sounds of falling snow and from the eaves there was the drip, drip of the melting icicles.

In just a little while the trees would be putting out their baby leaves, all rosy, yellow and pale green. There would be wild flowers and birds in the forest.

Then there would be no more stories by the fire at night, but all day long Laura and Mary would run and play among the trees, because it would be spring.

[audio 4]

The Little House in the Big Woods

Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night

Chapter 1 - Part 3: Venison

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 8: Winter

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 1: Sundays

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

Chapter 6 - Part 6 - The Story Of Her Father And The Bear In The Way (1 of 2)

Chapter 6 Part 7a - The Story of Her Father and the Bear in the Way (2 of 2)

Chapter 6 Part 7b - Review Questions: The Bear in the Way

Chapter 6 Part 7c - Answers for Review Questions

by John Larrysson

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A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.


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