[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.It was a sheltered, private place.Sam and his cousin Zach liked to sit with their bare feet in the water on a hot day and talk.Sam looked out over the endless rippling prairie grass.Maybe he could find such a place out there somewhere.But it didn’t seem likely.For a long time they rode in silence.Chalkey, on his big brown horse, led the way along a faint trail in the grass.After a while he dropped back and rode beside the wagon.“This trail runs along the section line that marks the boundary of your land,” he said.“Someday it will be a road.I guess you’ll want to build your house somewhere near it.” He reined in his horse.“Look, there’s one of your markers.” He pointed at a small rectangular stone half buried in the grass.Pa said, “Whoa,” to the team.He pushed back his hat and sat with the reins slack, looking past the marker toward the horizon.“Well, Sam,” he said, “this is home and you can’t beat the view.Why don’t you take a look around? Find a good place to build a house.”To Sam the place where they had stopped looked exactly like the rest of the prairie.But Chalkey and Pa knew it was the Ferriers’ land.There was no use just sitting in the wagon, so Sam jumped down and began to walk north.He knew it was north because Chalkey had pointed out that all the tracks that would become roads were laid out by the compass.For the last hour they had been driving west with the sun on their backs.But if you were away from the track, Sam didn’t see how you would know one direction from another.Except for the sun, of course.Even out on this land with no landmarks, the sun would travel from east to west.That was a comfort.Sam walked as straight north as he could for about ten minutes.Then he stopped and turned around slowly.He was in the middle of an enormous circle.The horizon might be ten miles away or a hundred.There was nothing — not a tree, not a building, not a fence post — to give him a guide to how far his eyes were seeing.Only grass, ruffled by the wind.It was a relief to turn his eyes to the south where the wagon, the two men and the horses looked comfortingly solid and perpendicular.A relief from the flatness all around.Sam ran back to join them just in time to say goodbye to Chalkey who was mounting his horse, getting ready to ride back to Curlew.“I expect I’ll come into town tomorrow, after we see what we’re missing out here.We’ll need to get a well dug first thing,” said Pa.“I’ll look you up, anyway.”Chalkey waved and went off, his horse trotting briskly as if it was glad to be going back to a more sociable place.Pa didn’t look after him.Instead he looked out across the expanse of land and nodded in a pleased way.Sam guessed he was seeing a house and a barn and plowed fields.After a moment Pa turned back toward the wagon and said, “Now, son, we have work to do.First we should pitch the tent and organize our supplies.”The tent they had brought was just big enough for them to lay out the two bedrolls Mama had made.Their clothes stayed in the satchels.Pa made a lean-to shelter out of a piece of canvas and two extra tent poles.There they set up their little tin cook stove.They had brought a sack of coal to burn in it since there was no wood to be had out here.The iron skillet, the biscuit tin and their tin plates and utensils were stowed in the supply box along with the crocks of sausage, tins of tomatoes and stout bags of flour, beans and dried fruit that Mama had packed.There was enough food to last them the two months until the family came, but nothing extra.When everything was in place, Pa smiled at Sam and said, “Now that looks like home.” But it didn’t, not to Sam.The tent and lean-to looked small and lonely under the huge sky.They looked too small for people to live in.Even people as small under that sky as Sam and Pa.3WHEN SAM CRAWLED out of the tent the next morning the sky was pink from horizon to horizon.Pa was busy at the little stove, and Sam sat on his heels and watched the pink grow paler and paler as the sun rose.He waited until the sky was a cloudless blue before he splashed some water from the wash bowl onto his face [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]