Father had brushed the horse's hair until it shone. He had swept the wagon box clean and laid a clean blanket on the wagon seat. Their mother, with Baby Carrie in her arms, sat up on the wagon seat with their father. Laura and Mary sat on a board fastened across the wagon box behind the seat.
They were happy as they drove through the springtime forest. Carrie laughed and bounced, their mother was smiling. Their father whistled while he drove the horses. The sun was bright and warm on the road. Sweet, cool smells came out of the leafy forest.
Rabbits stood up in the road ahead, their little front paws (animal feet) dangling down and their noses sniffing and the sun shone through their tall, twitching ears. Then they bounded away, with a flash of little white tail. Twice Laura and Mary saw deer looking at them with their large, dark eyes, from the shadows among the trees.
It was seven miles (11 km) to town. The town was named Pepin and it was on the shore of Lake Pepin.
After a long time Laura began to see some blue water between the trees. The hard road turned to soft sand. The wagon wheels went deep down in it and the horses pulled and sweated. Often their father stopped and allowed the horses to stop and rest for a few minutes.
Then all at once the road came out of the forest and Laura saw the lake. It was as blue as the sky and it went to the edge of the world. As far as she could see, there was nothing but flat, blue water. Very far away, the sky and the water met and there was a darker blue line. She had never seen a lake before.
The sky was large overhead. Laura had never known that the sky was so big. It did not seem that big in the forest. There was so much empty space all around her that she felt small and frightened. She was glad that her father and her mother were there.