It had been a wonderful day, the most wonderful day in Laura's whole life. She thought about the beautiful lake, the town she had seen and the big store full of so many things. She held the pretty round pebbles carefully in her lap. Her candy heart was wrapped carefully in her handkerchief (cloth tissue) until she got home and could put it away to keep always. It was too pretty to eat.
The wagon bounced along on the homeward road through the big forest. The sun set and the forest grew darker, but before the last of the twilight (time between day and night) was gone the moon rose. And they were safe, because her father had his gun.
The soft moonlight came down through the treetops and made patches of light and shade on the road ahead. The horses' hoofs (horse feet) made a cheerful clippety-clop sound.
Laura and Mary did not say anything because they were very tired. Her mother sat silently holding Baby Carrie, sleeping in her arms. But her father sang softly:
hallow - to make holy or religiously important (older word)
humble - ordinary and not fancy
mid - in the middle of
ne'er - never (old contraction)
palace - big fancy house appropriate for a king
thro' - through (old contraction)
vain - uselessly
Laura Ingalls was born in America in 1864, in Wisconsin. As a young girl, Laura lived in a little log house in the forest. Later she moved with her family to the wild Dakota Territory to build a farm. They mistakenly settled in the wrong place and had to leave. In the mid-1870s they managed a hotel in Iowa, but later in the decade travelled back to the wilderness to build another farm. Near the town of De Smet, Laura Ingalls taught school and in 1885 married a farmer named Almanzo Wilder.
Her first published writing appeared in a magazine called the Missouri Ruralist in 1911. She started a bank for farmers and continued to write. She wrote several stories partially based on her childhood. They became very popular. She realized that she had lived history, and she wanted children to learn about America's past as she had experienced it as a child. The country had changed a lot since she was a child. Laura Ingalls Wilder died in 1957.