Her father came in, shaking the soft snow from his shoulders and stamping it from his boots. "It's a sugar snow," he said.
Laura put her tongue quickly to a little bit of the white snow that lay in a fold of his sleeve. It was nothing, but wet on her tongue, like any snow. She was glad that nobody had seen her taste it.
"Why is it a sugar snow, father?" she asked him, but he said he didn't have time to explain now. He must hurry away; he was going to Grandfather's house.
Grandfather lived far away in the forest, where the trees were closer together and larger.
Laura stood at the window and watched her father, big and quick and strong, walking away over the snow. His gun was on his shoulder, his axe and gunpowder horn hung at his side. His tall boots made great tracks in the soft snow. Laura watched him until he was out of sight in the forest.
It was late before he came home that night. Her mother had already lighted the lamp when he came in. Under one arm he carried a large package and in the other hand was a big, covered, wooden bucket (pail).
"Here, Caroline," he said, handing the package and the bucket to Laura's mother. Then he put the gun on its hooks over the door. "If I'd met a bear," he said, "I couldn't have shot him without dropping what I was carrying." Then he laughed. "And if I'd dropped that bucket and bundle, I wouldn't have had to shoot him. I could have stood and watched him eat what's in them and lick his lips."
Laura's mother unwrapped the package and there were two hard, brown cakes, each as large as a pan. She uncovered the bucket, and it was full of dark brown maple syrup.
"Here, Laura and Mary," their father said and he gave them each a little round package out of his pocket.
They took off the paper wrappings and each had a little, hard, brown cake, with beautiful edges.
"Bite it," said their father and his blue eyes twinkled.
Each bit off one little piece and it was sweet. It broke apart in their mouths. It was better even than their Christmas candy.
"Maple sugar," their father said.
Supper was ready. Laura and Mary laid the little maple sugar cakes beside their plates, while they ate the maple syrup on their bread.
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
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
Chapter 6 Part 8 - Evening with Father
Chapter 6 Part 9 - When idiots see a bear: Hey let's feed the real live teddy bear!
Chapter 7 Part 1 Introduction - Maple Syrup
Chapter 7 Part 2 - The snow is melting
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
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