The sky did not seem that big in the forest. There was so much empty space all around her that she felt small and frightened. Suddenly the sunshine was hot. The sun was almost overhead in the large, empty sky and the cool forest stood back from the edge of the lake. Even the forest seemed smaller under so much sky.
Her father stopped the horses and turned around on the wagon seat. He pointed ahead with his horse whip. "There you are, Laura and Mary!" he said. "There's the town of Pepin."
Laura stood up on the board and her father held her safe by the arm, so she could see the town. When she saw it, she could hardly breathe. She could not see the town because there were so many houses.
Right on the edge of the lake, there was one great big building. That was the store, her father told her. It was not made of logs. It was made of wide, grey boards, running up and down. The sand spread all around it.
Behind the store there was an open space, larger than her father's garden in the forest at home. There were more houses than Laura could count. They were not made of logs, either; they were made of boards, like the store. Logs are cut trees, but wooden boards are flat and thin.
Laura had never imagined so many houses and they were so close together. Of course, they were much smaller than the store. One of them was made of new boards that had not had time to get grey; it was the yellow colour of newly-cut wood.
People were living in all those houses. Smoke rose up from their chimneys. Although it was not Monday, some woman had spread out washing on the bushes by her house to dry. Laura’s mother always did the washing on Monday.
Several girls and boys were playing in the sunshine, in the open space between the store and the houses. They were jumping from one stump (remains of a cut down tree) to the next stump and shouting.
"Well, that's the town of Pepin," Her father said.
Laura just nodded her head. She looked and looked and could not say a word. After awhile she sat down again and the horses went on.