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مجموعه: مجموعه خانه ی کوچک / کتاب: کنار برکه ی نقره ای / فصل 8

مجموعه خانه ی کوچک

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Laura let out her breath. “Oh, Mary! The snow-white horse and the tall, brown man, with such a black head and a bright red shirt! The brown prairie all around—and they rode right into the sun as it was going down. They’ll go on in the sun around the world.”

Mary thought a moment. Then she said, “Laura, you know he couldn’t ride into the sun. He’s just riding along on the ground like anybody.”

But Laura did not feel that she had told a lie. What she had said was true too. Somehow that moment when the beautiful, free pony and the wild man rode into the sun would last forever.

Ma still feared that the other man might be lying in wait to rob them, but Pa told her, “Don’t worry! Big Jerry’s gone ahead to find him and stay with him till we get into camp. Jerry’ll see that nobody molests us.”

Ma looked back to see that her girls were all right, and she held Grace snugly on her lap. She did not say anything because nothing she could say would make any difference. But Laura knew that Ma had never 65

wanted to leave Plum Creek and did not like to be here now; she did not like traveling in that lonely country with night coming on and such men riding the prairie.

The wild calls of birds came down from the fading sky. More and more dark lines streaked the pale-blue air overhead—straight lines of wild ducks, and long flying wedges of wild geese. The leaders called to their flocks behind them, and each bird answered in turn. The whole sky twanged, “Honk? Honk! Honk!

Quanck? Quanck. Quanck.”

” They’re flying low,” said Pa. “Settling down for the night on the lakes.”

There were lakes ahead. A thin silvery line at the very edge of the sky was Silver Lake , and little glimmers south of it were the Twin Lakes , Henry and Thompson. A wee dark blob between them was the Lone Tree. Pa said it was a big cottonwood, the only tree to be seen between the Big Sioux River and the Jim; it grew on a little rise of ground no wider than a road, between the Twin Lakes , and it grew big because its roots could reach water.

“We’ll get some seeds from it to plant on our homestead,” Pa said. “You can’t see Spirit Lake from here, it’s nine miles northwest of Silver Lake . You see, Caroline, what fine hunting country this is. Plenty of water and good feeding ground for wild fowl.”

“Yes, Charles, I see,” said Ma.

The sun sank. A ball of pulsing, liquid light, it sank in clouds of crimson and silver. Cold purple shadows rose in the east, crept slowly across the prairie, then rose in heights on heights of darkness from which the stars swung low and bright.

The wind, which all day long had blown strongly, dropped low with the sun and went whispering among the tall grasses. The earth seemed to lie breathing softly under the summer night.

Pa drove on and on beneath the low stars. The horses’ feet went softly thump-thumping on the grassy ground. Far, far ahead a few tiny lights pricked through the dark. They were the lights of Silver Lake camp.

“Don’t need to see the trail for these next eight miles,” Pa told Ma. “All a man’s got to do is keep driving toward the lights. There’s nothing between us and camp but smooth prairie and air.”

Laura was tired and chilly. The lights were far away.

They might be stars after all. The whole night was a glittering of stars. Close overhead and down on all sides great stars glittered in patterns on the dark. The tall grass rustled against the turning wagon wheels; it kept on rustling, rustling against the wheels that kept on turning.

Suddenly Laura’s eyes jerked open. There was an open doorway and light streaming out. And in the dazzle of lamplight Uncle Henry was coming, laughing. So this must be Uncle Henry’s house in the Big Woods when Laura was little, for that was where Uncle Henry was.

“Henry!” Ma exclaimed.

“It’s a surprise, Caroline!” Pa sang out. “I thought I wouldn’t tell you Henry’s out here.”

“I declare, it takes my breath, I am so surprised,” said Ma.

And then a big man was laughing up at them, and he was Cousin Charley. He was the big boy who had bothered Uncle Henry and Pa in the oat field, and been stung by thousands of yellow jackets. “Hello, Half-Pint! Hello, Mary! And here’s baby Carrie, a big girl now. Not the baby any longer, uh?” Cousin Charley helped them down from the wagon, while Uncle Henry took Grace and Pa helped Ma over the wheel, and here came Cousin Louisa, bustling and talking and herding them all into the shanty.

Cousin Louisa and Charley were both grown up now. They were keeping the boarding shanty, cooking for the men who were working on the grade. But the men had eaten supper long ago, and now they were all sleeping in the bunkhouses. Cousin Louisa talked about all this, while she dished up the supper she had been keeping hot on the stove.

After supper Uncle Henry lighted a lantern and led the way to a shanty that the men had built for Pa.

“It’s all new lumber, Caroline, fresh and clean as a whistle,” Uncle Henry said, holding up the lantern so they could see the new board walls and the bunks built up against them. There was a bunk on one side for Ma and Pa, and on the other side two narrow bunks, one above the other, for Mary and Laura and Carrie and Grace. The beds were already spread in the bunks; Cousin Louisa had seen to that.

In no time at all, Laura and Mary were cuddled on the rustling fresh hay-mattress with the sheet and quilts drawn up to their noses, and Pa blew out the lantern.

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