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Little House in the Big Woods
Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.
The great, dark trees of the Big Woods stood all around the house, and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as a man could go to the north in a day, or a week, or a whole month, there was nothing but woods. There were no houses.
There were no roads. There were no people. There were only trees and the wild animals who had their homes among them.
Little House On The Prairie
A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house -in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing among the big trees, and they never saw that little house again.
They were going to the Indian country.
Pa said there were too many people in the Big Woods now. Quite often Laura 'heard the ringing thud of an ax which was not Pa's ax, or the echo of a shot that did not come from his gun.
It was January in northern New York State, sixty-seven years ago. Snow lay deep everywhere. It loaded the bare limbs of oaks and maples and beeches, it bent the green boughs of cedars and spruces down into the drifts. Billows of snow covered the fields and the stone fences.
Down a long road through the woods a little boy trudged toschool, with his big brother Royal and his two sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. Royal was thirteen years old, Eliza Jane was twelve, and Alice was ten...
On the Banks of Plum Creek
The dim wagon track went no farther on the prairie, and Pa stopped the horses.
When the wagon wheels stopped turning, Jack dropped down in the shade between them. His belly sank on the grass- and his front legs stretched out. His nose fitted in the furry hollow. All of him rested, except his ears.
All day long for many, many days, Jack had been trotting under the wagon. He had trotted all the way from the little log house in Indian Territory, across Kansas, across Missouri, across Iowa, and a long way into Minnesota...
By the Shores of Silver Lake
Laura was washing the dishes one morning when old Jack, lying in the sunshine on the doorstep, growled to tell her that someone was coming. She looked out, and saw a buggy crossing the gravelly ford of Plum Creek.
"Ma," she said, "it's a strange woman coming."
Ma sighed. She was ashamed of the untidy house, and so was Laura. But Ma was too weak and Laura was too tired and they were too sad to care very much.
Mary and Carrie and baby Grace and Ma had all had scarlet fever. The Nelsons across the creek had it too...
The Long Winter
The mowing machine's whiffing sounded cheerfully from the old buffalo wallow south of the claim shanty, where bluestem grass stood thick and tall and Pa was cutting it for hay.
The sky was high and quivering with heat over the shimmering prairie. Half-way down to sunset, the sun blazed as hotly as at noon. The wind was scorching hot. But Pa had hours of mowing yet to do before he could stop for the night.
Laura drew up a pailful of water from the well at the edge of the Big Slough. She rinsed the brown jug till it was cool to her hand. Then she filled it with the fresh, cool water, corked it tightly, and started with it to the hayfield.
Little Town on the Prairie
One evening at supper, Pa asked, "How would you like to work in town, Laura?" Laura could not say a word. Neither could any of the others. They all sat as if they were frozen. Grace's blue eyes stared over the rim of her tin cup, Carrie's teeth stayed bitten into a slice of bread, and Mary's hand held her fork stopped in the air. Ma let tea go pouring from the teapot's spout into Pa's brimming cup. Just in time, she quickly set down the teapot.
"What did you say, Charles?" she asked.
These Happy Golden Years
Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine. A little wind blew gently from the south, but it was so cold that the sled runners squeaked as they slid on the hard-packed snow. The horses' hoofs made a dull sound, clop, clop, clop. Pa did not say anything.
Sitting beside him on the board laid across the bobsled, Laura did not say anything, either. There was nothing to say. She was on her way to teach school.
Only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she was a schoolteacher. This had happened so suddenly...
The First Four Years
It was a hot afternoon with a strong wind from the south, but out on the Dakota prairie in 1885 no one minded the hot sunshine or the hard winds. They were to be expected: a natural part of life. And so the swiftly trotting horses drawing the shining black-top buggy swung around the corner of Pearson's livery barn, making the turn from the end of Main Street to the country road Monday afternoon at four o'clock.
Looking from a window of the low, three-room claim shanty a half mile away, Laura saw them coming. She wag basting cambric lining to the bodice pieces of her new black cashmere dress...Little House Nine-Book Boxed Set. Copyright © by Laura Wilder. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.