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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

Westward to Oregon

Chapter 1

The Trail Journal of: Jeffery Everboth

I am a trail guide, formerly a farmer, who, on April 1, 1875, set out from Nauvoo, Illinois, to start a new life in Oregon City, Oregon. I began my journey with a large farm wagon, accompanied by the five other members of my family. Their names are Katie, who is ten; Melanie, who is eleven; Jack, who is nine; Joshua, who is twelve; and Susan, my wife, who is 29. I am 34 years old. We started out with six hundred dollars.

Susan has training in cooking, botany, * and sewing, while I have training in medicine, carpentry, and farming. We would need each of these skills on the rough days of the journey through the Oregon Trail. On March 27, 1875 , I called everyone into the family room.


'Susan! Kids! Come in here for a minute, will you please?' called Jeffery. Katie, Melanie, Jack, and Joshua came scampering into the family room moments later.

Susan came in after them. She did not run, as the children had. When she walked in though, she had a mysterious twinkle in her eye. Jack swiveled his head quickly to look at Mama when he saw Papa wink.

However, she looked straight ahead, acting as if she did not know what was going on.

'What is it, Father?' questioned Melanie when they did not speak.

'Well,' Papa paused. 'We are moving west!'

What a frenzy that followed those words! 'Is it true, Mother?' asked Jack.

'If your Papa says so, than sure it is! Let's go get packed!' said Mother. She had known about it ahead of time, but gave no hint of the plan that had been forming between the two parents.

'We have already sold the farm,' aid Father.

'We did?' asked Melanie mournfully.

'Yes, dear, we did, but we will build a new farm when we get to Oregon City, and we will get more chickens and pigs and cows and dogs and cats, and other things, all right?' said Mother, putting her arm around her daughter's shoulder.

Melanie nodded. 'What are we going to take?' she asked. 'May I take my tea set and my doll and my doll's clothes box and my doll's chair and bed and dresser and all her little possessions?'

Papa hesitated. 'Well,' he began. 'Let me put it this way. Each of you may take one small box of things to Oregon. Is that clear?'


'Father,' Katie piped up. 'May we each take the box that is by our beds? You know, the ones you made for us that have nice shiny wood and that we put our stuff in?'

''Yes, you may. You must pack what you are taking tomorrow, or you will not take anything,' Papa replied.

All of the children looked at each other and vowed to themselves that they would pack their boxes first thing in the morning.

Unhappily for them, however, their hopes were dashed as Papa spoke again. 'Tomorrow will be very busy, so you must not dawdle in your chores, especially if you want to take things.'

'We will go into town tomorrow to get the things that we will need for the journey,' said Father. 'We will need many things, besides the things that we are taking from our home. You children may go with us if you behave. Do you remember the last time you went with us? Katie and Joshua knocked over a whole pile of cans!'

Everybody laughed, and the children ran upstairs into the attic to change and get everything ready for the next day. They figured that the sooner they got to bed, the sooner the morning would come. 'I cannot wait for tomorrow, can you guys?' asked Joshua.

After a pause, he remembered something. Quickly, he added, 'and gals?'* not wanting to leave out the girls. He knew that they did not like to be referred to as 'guys'.

The girls giggled, and then they all whispered yes to answer him, rolled over, and tried to go to sleep. They were all thinking the same thought. 'I can't wait for tomorrow!'

Finally, when it was almost midnight, they drifted off to dreamland.

That night, while they slept, their Mama and Papa got some special toys and games that the children loved and packed them into a box. They planned to surprise them when they got to Oregon City by giving them something to do. Then, they too got some sleep.

The Everboth family had no idea of the dangers and hardships that lay ahead of them on the Oregon Trail. The whole family thought that the trip would be fairly easy, but little did they realize how wrong they were!


Early the next morning, Joshua woke up with a start to hear his alarm bell in his pocket watch go off. He jumped out of bed quickly and shook Jack awake. 'Let's wake the girls,' he suggested quietly.

Jack nodded and reached under the bed. He handed Joshua's slippers to him, then pulled out his own. The two boys pulled on their slippers and crept over to the sheet that separated the boy's half of the room from the girl's half.

They slid it back quietly and were startled to hear a low shriek. The two boys ducked behind the curtain then cautiously peeked out again. A nightgown hit Joshua full in the face.

He clawed it off and whispered, 'What do you girls think you're doing?'

'We're dressing!'

The boys giggled, and then went into the girl's room. 'Looks like you had the same idea as us, getting up early to pack our boxes!' said Joshua.

The girls nodded and pulled their boxes out from under their big double bed. Katie slept on the right side of the bed, and Melanie slept on the left.

Katie pulled hers out and dumped its contents on the unruly bedspread. She pulled out her scrapbag, which consisted of small scraps of fabric and felt, a cross-stitch picture not yet completed, thread, needles and other things.

Then, she pulled out her doll and ten of its outfits. After thinking, she reduced it to five. She then got her tea set, a pad of paper and some pencils, and a small quilt she had been working on.

She had about five inches left at the top, so she got some candy that she had saved for a while, and put it in. Then, she got a large piece of fabric and some yarn and knitting needles to add to her box. After that, she shut the lid and went to see what her brothers and sister was packing.

Melanie got her box out and put in it a doll, a doll's chair and dresser and bed, and after that there was not much room, so she put in a scarf that she had knitted.

Joshua and Jack had saved some candy too, and they each got a little bag to put it in.

Then, Joshua pulled out the top drawer in the boys' dresser and pulled out his pocketknife, a pad of paper, three pencils, his history book, and a trail guide. He still had a lot of room left, so he added a couple of books.

He looked up when he heard Katie speak. 'Hey! Now where are my doll's pajamas?'

She ran over to her box and rummaged through it. Then, she turned to the growing heap on the bedspread. 'Here it is!' she exclaimed.

Jack put almost the exact same things into his box as Joshua had put in his. He added a soap carving he had done, a first aid kit, and a pair of tweezers.

Joshua looked at the clock as they were putting away the things they were not going to take, and exclaimed, 'Six thirty already!'

His brother and sisters looked at him in astonishment. 'We'd better get dressed and get downstairs!' said Katie.

As the children tiptoe down the stairs leading from the attic, they heard a loud snore.

Katie and Melanie went into the kitchen to start breakfast, and Joshua and Jack set the table, swept the floors, took out the trash, made the beds in the attic.

All the while, everybody was talking in excited whispers about the day ahead.

When Mama and Papa finally got up, they found the table set and everything else done, a nice warm fire made in the fire place for them to dress by, and Katie was setting the last dish of breakfast on the table. 'Well well well!' said Father. 'I see you already did everything for us! You must be excited about today!'

'Oh, yes!' said Katie.

'We made eggs, toast, flapjacks, * syrup, ham and milk for breakfast!' Melanie excitedly told Mama and Father.

'Don't forget the sausages!' said Joshua. 'Remember how you let us each have one? Boy, were they good!'

Mama pulled her nice blue and white dress down over her long brown hair and straightened it. This was the dress she wore when they went to town, which was not very often.

She then pulled her straw hat with a sprig of blue and white flowers on it down from the hook on which it hung.

Papa and his children were already sitting at the table when Mama sat down. Papa asked the blessing and started to pass the food around. When the eggs were passed to Mother, she took three. She then passed it on.

When the syrup reached her, she poured some over her eggs, and everyone at the table grossed out.

'Mom, why do you do gross stuff like that?' asked Jack.

'Gross stuff like what?'

'Like putting syrup on your eggs and catsup on you cake and basil on your cookies!' he replied.

She winked at him and said, 'Probably because I am pregnant. When I had Joshua, I craved ham sandwiches, when I had Melanie, I craved salt, when I had Katie, I craved biscuits, and when I had Jack, I craved chocolate!'

They all laughed, and Katie and Melanie got up to clear the table.

'When are we going to town, Father?' asked Joshua.

'Right now!'

The children scrambled behind the wagon and Joshua lowered the tailgate. When they had all climbed in, including Lumber, who was their bloodhound, they started.

The ride to town was merry, because they were all singing and laughing and telling jokes. Lumber howled when they sang high-pitched songs, and at that they laughed.

'Here we are!' said Father. 'Hop out!'

When they had just barely gotten out of the wagon, questions were flying all over the place.

'Father, will we get the animals first? I want to see the horses!' pleaded Joshua, tugging on his father's arm.

'I want to get clothes!' cried Melanie.

'Let's get food first!' was Katie's opinion.

'Tools, tools!' shouted Jack.

'We'll have to see what your Mama thinks first,' replied Father.

Overhearing what he said, Mama stated, 'I will take the girls to get the clothes we need, and you can take the boys to get the animals.'

As they were departing, Mama called to them. 'Then, we will all go together and get the other supplies that we will need.'

'Then that's what we'll do! Come on, men!' announced Father, turning toward the stables. 'Let's go get some oxen and pigs!'

'Will we get some chickens too, Father, and maybe a cow?' asked Jack eagerly.

'We'll see,' said Father, with a twinkle in his eye.

'Yippee!' yelled Jack and Joshua, running toward Henderson Stables. They raced, and soon reached it.

They got there ahead of Father, and as soon as they went inside, they came right back out again. 'Pheyew!' they told him.

Papa laughed heartily and said, 'It will always smell like that in a stable that holds lots of horses and cows!'


'Well, come on, girls! We've got some shopping to do!' declared Mother, also turning.

As they entered Sadie Martin's Clothing Emporium,* Melanie spoke. 'Why don't we hurry to get clothes and try to get back outside to the meeting place before the boys do?'

Quickly she put in, 'We will do things right, though, if we are allowed to hurry and beat the boys.'

'Great idea, Melanie,' congratulated Katie. 'May we do it, Mother?'

She then quickly added to her sentence. 'Please?'

'I suppose, as long as you are careful,' Mama replied.

The girls and Mama looked around for clothes that would be suitable for the trip. Katie, holding up a pair of boots, said, 'Mother, don't you think that it would be good for everyone to have a sturdy pair of boots for walking? Shoes would probably wear out too quickly.'

'Well, personally, I think you are right! Let's get them!' answered Mother. 'How much does each pair cost, Katie?'

'Um, let's see, they cost fifty-nine cents a pair, Mother,' she replied, glad to help out.

'Good! Please pick out two pairs for each person, Katie!' Mama did some quick calculating in her head. 'That will total to about seven dollars and twenty cents. That is what I would call a pretty reasonable price!' exclaimed Mother.


Jack had the exact same idea of beating the other three back to the meeting place while the boys and Father were at the stables. 'Are we allowed to, Father?'

'Oh, I guess so,' said Father. 'Just so long as you do not spook the horses.'

'Oh, we won't,' they promised him.

'Alright,' Papa said. 'But, do be careful!'

The boys took a look at the list that their Papa held and scurried off to find several things.


Mama walked up to the counter, her arms full of clothes. Behind her was Katie, carrying the boots, and then Melanie, carrying some other thing that they would need. 'We will take these things, please,' Mama told the counter girl, placing the clothes on the counter.

She braced the pile up with her back, while she pulled her change purse out of her pocketbook. 'Are you moving west?' asked the girl. She started checking things off on a sheet of paper and writing down the prices.

'Why, yes, we are,' Mama exclaimed. 'We heard from our sources that the land would be nice and fertile,* and it is sunny a lot there.'

'Well, yes, I guess it is, but here I get paid a lot, because so many people are going to Oregon these days,' the girl answered.

'Yes, I suppose so,' Mama said, handing the girl eighteen dollars and fifty-six cents.

They headed out of the store after collecting their clothes, and the girls were pleased to see no one at the meeting place where they were headed. 'Yes!' they shouted jumping up and down.


Meanwhile, at the stables, 'Father, look at the beautiful horses!' exclaimed Joshua. 'Will we get one?'''''

He pointed to a beautiful yellow, brown, and black pinto horse.

'We'll see,' said Father.

'Father! Look at the beautiful horses!'

'Okay,' he answered, looking at the other oxen and horses.

Papa went to the back of the stables, looking in the stalls as he went, trying to find a stable hand. The man was mucking* out a stall at the back of the stables when Papa found him, and asked how much the horse cost.

'That one costs one hundred dollars,' the worker replied. 'The horse would cost sixty dollars, but she is special!'

Papa went back to the boys and said, 'I'm afraid we can't get horses, son, they costs too much. Maybe when we get to Oregon, okay?'

'Aw, phooey!' said Jack.

Joshua put in, 'Shucks! Oh, well, though, no use wishing for one when we can't have one, I guess.'

Papa purchased ten healthy, good-looking oxen for twelve dollars each. Then, he asked the stable hand if he knew where they could find an extra yoke and a wagon cover.

'Well,' he drawled. 'You could get them right here if you really wanted to. They would cost a little more, though. Shall I get them for you?'

'Yes, please,' said Father.

When the owner of the stable returned, Papa questioned him on the price of cows and chickens. When they where done talking, Papa bought five chickens and a milk cow. 'They're for food,' he told the boys.

'But Father! Why would we kill them just for food?' exclaimed Jack.

'Oh, no, that's not what I meant! I meant we would use the chickens for a supply of eggs, and the cow for a source of milk and butter!' Papa laughed. 'That's another thing that we need to get-a new butter churn! The one we have right now is too old. We need to get a new one.'


After finishing getting the things the family needed, they went outside to find the girls standing at the meeting place, waiting for them.

'Papa will be out with the oxen in just a minute,' Joshua told them.

When Papa came out, he laughed heartily, 'It sure looks like your sisters beat you at your own game, boys.'

'What do you mean, Father?' inquired Melanie, puzzled by his words.

Before he could speak, however, Katie told her. 'They must have had the same idea for beating us out here as you did!'

'Oh,' Melanie said, laughing.

'I'm still glad they did not beat us!' voiced Katie.

'I think that since you both had the same idea, and the girls won, that we should make something for them, don't you think so boys?' Papa asked Jack and Joshua.

'Yeah, but...' they started to protest.

'I think it would be a good idea, and I am going to do it,' stated Papa firmly, looking hard at the boys. 'I think that a piece of candy would be good, don't you?'

They looked at the ground and sighed. 'Yes, I guess so,' Joshua said, not sounding like he really agreed at all.

'Jack?' asked Father, looking questioningly at him.

'NO!' Jack shouted. He was in a bad mood just then, and told them his opinion.

'Jack Andrew Everboth!' Papa shouted. 'You stop your bad attitude right this instant!'

Jack timidly told the girls that he was sorry. He finished with, 'Please forgive me. I am sorry for being mean.'

'I forgive you,' Melanie told him sympathetically.

'So do I,' Katie answered; too.

'Oh, you got a cow!' exclaimed Mama as they walked to the wagon store.

'That we did!' said Father.

'Look, the wagons are leaving without us!' Katie cried out suddenly. 'Why are they doing that, Father?'

Patting her head, Papa reassured her that the wagons were part of another train.

'Well, let's go and get the other supplies that we need, because we don't want to hold up our wagon train!' exclaimed Mother, starting toward the drugstore.

Papa corrected her, saying, 'Don't forget now, our train does not leave until tomorrow, but we do need to get our other supplies today, because we will be leaving very early in the morning.'

The children, after hearing what their Mama said about going to the store, raced each other to Festrunk's Drugstore. When they got there, they entered. Papa and Mama came in shortly to tell the children that they were not yet ready to get medicine. 'The bottles might break when carried, because we do not yet have a wagon to put them in.'

They all went out of the store together and across the street to the wagon shop. 'Hello, Namine! How are you this fine morning?' asked Papa heartily.

'Oh, I'm fine, thanks, Everboth!' answered Namine.

Edward Namine was his full name, and he owned the wagon shop. In his spare time, he made and painted wagons to sell. He made quite a large amount of profit from them.

'We'd like to buy a wagon, and a wagon tongue, and an extra wagon wheel. All right with you, Namine?' Papa asked questioningly, looking at the man

Namine agreed to sell Papa the things he requested, and then they went out of the store.

Right outside the door, Papa hooked the wagon tongue to the front of the wagon and harnessed the oxen to it. He put three yoke of oxen on the wagon. One yoke of oxen is two oxen hooked together on a yoke. So, in all, Papa hooked six oxen to the front of the wagon.

All of the Everboth family climbed aboard and with the children's help, they also put the crate of chickens, the clothes, and the lunch basket in the back.

Papa drove the team over to the drugstore and hopped down off the wagon seat. He walked over to the other side of the wagon and helped Mama down. They all walked into the store together and looked around. 'Wow!' shouted Jack, amazed that there were so many cases and bottles lining the walls.

'Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!' Papa cautioned him.

'We will need probably at least one of everything,' announced Mama with finality.

'You're right,' replied Papa with a sigh. 'It will cost a good amount, and we do not have a lot of money. With me losing my job and all, we do not have much money left.'

Just then, a man, a tall one at that, came walking through the swinging door that led to the back of the store. 'Howdy, folks! What can I do for you today?' he asked in a deep voice. He cleared his throat and walked behind the counter. He leaned onto it and looked at them expectantly.

'You can get us one of everything, all right, Festrunk?' Papa also cleared his throat and looked at Festrunk, nodding at the walls.

Festrunk was the drugstore owner. He got his medicine from out-of-town makers. Knowing from reports what most Oregon Trail travelers needed for their journey, he gathered the necessary supplies from the walls and wrote down the prices on a sheet of paper.

The Everboths bought laudanum, iodine, borax, chamomile, calomel, camphor, Epsom salts, castor oil, James Fever Powder, ipecac, quinine, sulfur, spearmint, olive oil, witch hazel, and saleratus. (They got a lot more than that, but it is too much to tell right now.) After that, they went to the gunsmith.

'Hello, we would like to buy three rifles, six boxes of twenty bullets, and one shotgun, please, sir,' Papa told the man at the counter.

'Father, why are you getting three guns?' questioned Joshua.

Jack also looked quizzically at his Father. 'Yeah, how come you are not buying only one?'

'You will see,' said Papa mysteriously.

The man pulled down three rifles from the wall. As he pulled down a shotgun too, he remarked, 'You might want to buy some shot for this, but, if you don't want to buy any'' his voice trailed off.

'Oh, that's all right. We already have two and a half pouches full of shotgun shells out in our wagon,' Papa told him.

'Oh,' the man said, laying the guns and bullets on the counter.

The Everboths paid the price that was due and walked toward the exit of the gunsmith's shop. As they exited, the boys were still wondering why their Papa had gotten three guns. They hung behind the family and talked about it in hushed whispers. When their Papa spoke, it made them jump. 'Boys, the reason that I got three guns, is''

'Oh boy!' Jack whispered to Joshua, keeping his eyes on his father. 'We're about to find out!'

'Is because I think that you boys are old enough and responsible enough to handle a gun!'

Joshua and Jack stood speechless for a moment; their mouths hanging open in surprise. 'You mean it, Father? Do you really really mean it?' shouted Jack.

'Yes, I do mean it,' said Father, handing each boy a gun.

Each boy looked in awe at the gun in his hands. They ran their hands over the smooth stocks* and barrels.

'Girls, I have something for you too,' Papa told his daughters. He led them around to the back of the wagon store with the others trailing behind.

'I don't see anything special, Father!' Melanie said, looking puzzled. 'Nothing except that old shed over there.'

'It's what is in it that is special,' said Father, leading them over to it. 'Mr. Namine let me borrow it to put the things in.'

He pulled the door open, and for a moment they could not see anything. Then, Melanie saw something moving. Papa reached inside the shed and grabbed something.

He led two horses out into the sunshine. Jack then yelled, 'Hey! Neat! I'm glad that you girls got something too! Lucky! Can I ride your horse, Katie?' he slapped one of the light tan horses on the flank. He did not intend to hurt it, though.

The horse turned and nuzzled* his shoulder. Papa handed one pair of reins to Melanie and the other pair to Katie. Mama gently chided Jack, saying, 'Now, now Jack, the girls have not even had a chance to ride them yet. Don't you think you should wait until they have a chance?'

'Yeah, I guess that you are right,' agreed Jack.

'Can I ride it after you though?' he quickly added.

'May I?' Mama reminded him.

'But, I asked first!' said Jack, looking hurtfully at his mother.

Mama laughed and then explained.


Papa then took the children into the wagon and seated them on the floor. 'Now, while we drive the oxen over to the store, I want you kids to fold as many clothes as you can.' he told them. 'You may have a race if you want, but fold them right or you will have to do them all over again.'

The children started folding clothes and putting them in piles. They also wrote names on little tags and put them on each article of clothing. Every once in a while, they could not help but to look back at the two horses that were following the wagon and munching hay from the wagon box.

They put four shirts, two bonnets, two pairs of pants, two dresses, six pairs of socks, one pair of shoes, and two pairs of boots in the girl's stacks, and also in Mother's stack. Into Father's and the boy's piles went four shirts, four pairs of pants, seven pairs of socks, one pair of shoes, and two pairs of boots. Besides labeling each article of clothing, the children also labeled the piles of clothing.

By this time, the wagon and its occupants had reached the store. It was all the way across the town from where the family had been.

Just then, Melanie asked, 'Are we going to Bailey Green's Department Store now?' She had just seen it across the road, and remembered that her Mama once told her about it.

'Yes, actually we are,' replied Father.

They all went into the store together. Papa started to ring the little bell that was there for summoning service, but before he could, Joshua stopped him. 'May I please do it, Father? Please?' he asked pleadingly.

'Oh, all right, I suppose so, go ahead,' Papa gave in to his request, sighing.

Joshua rang the bell several long, loud times until Papa made him stop. A tall man and a short, stubby man came through the door in the back. They were hurrying. 'Is something wrong?' the tall man asked anxiously.

'Oh, no,' laughed Papa when he saw the scared looks on their faces. 'We just wanted to buy some things for our trip to Oregon, and I let Joshua ring the bell. I guess it did sound pretty persistent.'

'Yes, it did,' the tall man released his grip on the counter and relaxed. 'So, what would you like to buy?' he asked.

'Well, we would like to buy whatever would be most needed on the Oregon Trail,' Papa answered, looking around the store.

The man helped the family pick many things, such as: bacon, biscuits, butter, candy, sardines, celery, cheese, coffee beans, cornmeal, crackers, dried beans, and dried bread.

They also got dried vegetables, dried fruit, a butter churn, flour, garlic, ham, honey, lard, licorice, maple syrup, molasses, pemmican, and many other things that they would need on the rough journey.

They also let the children each get one thing apiece, such as a treat. Katie got sugar, Melanie got fish, Jack got a tub of hard candy, and Joshua got Neccos. Neccos are a small round and flat candy wrapped up in a paper package with bright pictures covering it.

Without anybody knowing it, Mama went over to the bakery while the children were picking out their things and ordered a spice cake for the family. Papa did not notice what she was doing, because he was busy supervising what the youngsters picked out.


That night, when they finished shopping, they went home and loaded the things into the wagon. 'All right, everyone,' Papa explained, 'We have a lot of work to do for tonight and for tomorrow.'

'Like what, Father?' questioned Melanie.

'Well, for one thing, we need to unload the wagon and put in things from our house first, and then we need to load all the things that we got today in, and then'' Father's voice trailed off. 'Oh, well, I'll just tell you what to do when the time comes,' he finished.

The family set to work taking things out of the wagon and carrying them inside the house. Snatches of conversation went something like this. 'Mother, where should I put these eggs?'

'Be careful with that pick, son!' yelled Father, handing two loaves of bread down to Mother.

'Joshua, don't drop that!'

'You dropped my doll!'

'Mother, I just dropped your best dress!'

'You didn't!'

'I did!'

'Bring that box over here!'

'What's in there?'

'None ya!'

'Mother, I just squashed that sack of apples that you bought!' screamed Melanie. She ran over to her mother. 'See, I was carrying it, and then I tripped, and then I fell on it, and then they squashed all over me!' she cried. 'It wasn't my fault, really!'

'Shhhh, shh, shh,' Mama comforted. 'I can make applesauce for tomorrow morning.'

Mama took Melanie into the house and got her cleaned up. They then went back outside. They took the others some ice cold water, for they were working quite hard.

It was nearly midnight by the time the whole wagon was unloaded and everything was taken inside the house. Papa told the children to go in the house and go to bed, but they wanted to stay up and help with whatever else that was necessary.

Papa decided that he would let them stay up longer, as the horses and the oxen needed to be put into the barn, the wagon needed to be put away, and other such things.

They all went inside the house and moved everything so that it would be possible to make breakfast in the morning, and so they would be able to get to their bedrooms and into bed.

The whole family walked-or more accurately dragged, into the house and dropped into bed.

'Tomorrow, we will go to town early and meet up with the wagon train so we can get a front position,' said Father. We will wake you kids up if you want us to, or you can get up on your own. However, let me warn you that that will not be very easy, because we will be getting up at five-thirty in the morning.'

They heeded his warning and asked him to wake them up.

'You kids will be going to school in the afternoon tomorrow,' said Papa to his haggard* children.

'Awe,' they said.

'Everyone try to get a good night's sleep,' said Mother. 'I'll probably sleep like a log because I'm so tired from all this shopping.'

Everyone else agreed. After that, they all headed to their own beds and fell asleep instantly.

Chapter 2

Setting Out

At five-thirty the next morning, Jack, Joshua, Katie, and Melanie found themselves being shaken awake by their rather tired-looking mother.

'What's wrong Mother?' questioned Katie. 'Did you not sleep well last night?'

'Oh, I got a good night's sleep all right,' said Mother. 'I just didn't want to get up!' she laughed, and so did the others, putting everyone into a good mood.

After breakfast was over, and everyone was refreshed, the family started to pack the wagon. Papa took a small dresser outside and Mama and the girls packed it full of clothes.

After they were finished loading it, they told Papa that they were ready to have it lifted onto the wagon. Papa and the boys had been in the barn pulling equipment down from the walls and packing them neatly in a box. (In this box, they put the horse harnesses, bits, collars, hooks and bridles.) So far, they had packed two boxes.

They, of course, kept out two bridles, two saddles, two saddle blankets, two tailpieces, two bits, and two pairs of reins.

After everything in the house and everything in the barn was packed, they started to load the things into the wagon. 'Joshua, hand me that box of tools, please.' came Father's voice from inside the wagon.

Joshua handed the box up to him and then handed up a box of food that Mama had given to him. Papa took it, and then they put in the furniture. The Everboth family was taking two slat-backed chairs, a dresser, ten boxes of food, two barrels of water, one crate of chickens, one milk cow, and three boxes of tools, and farm equipment.

They also were taking two barrels of flour, ten blankets, two boxes of soap, and sixteen boxes full of miscellaneous items that they would use either along the trail or when they got to Oregon. The last thing that went in mystified the children.

Papa put in a large box that appeared to be very heavy. They could not guess what was in it, and their parents would not tell them.

(It contained the children's toys and games.)


It was ten-o clock, and Papa said that the children must get to school.

They went into the house and got their lunch pails and books, then went up to their rooms for their slates. Joshua led the way, and Mama and Papa watched them walk down the lane that led to the schoolhouse.

When they reached the schoolhouse, Joshua and Jack went to the boys' side of the room and Katie and Melanie went to the girls' side. Katie sat with Susan, her best friend, Melanie sat with Mary, Joshua sat with Harry, and Jack sat with Derek.

When Miss Pendle, the young teacher came into the room, everyone stopped talking. She walked to her desk and sat down. She rearranged the things on her desk and then stood up again.

She looked out over the class and started talking. 'Students, I have an announcement to make. Joshua, Jack, Melanie and Katie are moving west, along with their parents. I am not happy about that decision, but it is not my choice to make.'

The two biggest boys in the school, Denver Hardstow and Barry Whitefield came forward carrying a big box between them.

They set it down and looked up at Miss Pendle for permission to return to their seats. She nodded and they went back. 'Thank you, Denver and Barry,' she said. 'Everyone in this schoolhouse knows what is in this box except for the Everboth children, for whom this is.'

She paused. 'Children, please come open it.'

Joshua, Jack, Katie and Melanie rushed forward, almost knocking each other over.

Eager hands tore at the box's covering.

Inside were brightly colored wrapped packages with names on them. The whole school was silent until Joshua plunged his hand in and pulled out a long package. 'To, Jack Everboth,' he read.

He handed the package to Jack and handed one to each of his sisters, then pulled out another long package that was for him.

Jack and Joshua opened their packages, and inside each was a long, sleek bow and ten arrows!

The girls opened theirs, and inside was a paint set, a pad of paper and pencils and brushes. Then they both got two dresses and two hats, and the boys got two new outfits too.

The girls went into the cloakroom to change out of their old dresses and into their new ones.

After they came out, the boys went in. when they were all together, Miss Pendle told them how fine they looked. 'Now, do you think that possibly there might be a false bottom on that box?'

The Everboth children rushed over to the box and tore off the bottom. Underneath lay two dolls, twenty outfits, and four books. The books were for the boys and the dolls for the girls. They exclaimed in delight at their presents.

'Now, let's all turn to page 89 in our math textbooks,' Miss Pendle said.

The children went back to their seats and opened their schoolbooks. When recital time came, Miss Pendle decided to have a contest. 'Joshua and Katie, will you please come forward and be our team captains?' she asked.

Joshua and Katie went up to the front of the school. 'You may pick first,' Joshua told Katie generously.

'Thank you. I pick Charlotte,' she said, knowing that Charlotte was a whiz in math.

Joshua picked out ten boys and four girls, while Katie picked out twelve girls and two boys.

Miss Pendle wrote some math problems on the chalkboard and explained the rules. 'There are two teams, and the first of each team will do a problem, and whoever gets it done first wins. The other person has to sit down. Got it?'

'Yes, Miss Pendle,' said the class.

Joshua's first problem was multiplication and Katie's was division.

On 'Go,' they started. Joshua multiplied as fast as he could, but Katie finished first. Miss Pendle marked the point at the top of Katie's side of the chalkboard.

The next two of Katie's team won, then lost to five of Joshua's team. Katie told her teammates to work their best.

'Remember, the winner gets a piece of candy!' reminded Miss Pendle.

Melanie and Jack were against each other, and Jack won, adding another point for Katie'''''''s team.

In the end of it all, Katie and Charlotte were left against Derek. Charlotte dropped out, and then Katie beat Derek by a long shot with ten seconds while he took fifty-eight seconds.

Miss Pendle handed a piece of taffy to her, and she split it with Joshua, Jack and Melanie.

After school was out for the day, the children all said goodbye to the Everboth children and went home.

When Joshua, Jack, Melanie, and Katie got home, they were surprised to find the house empty. 'Tonight we will sleep under the stars,' Papa told them.

Later the next day, 'Father, may Melanie and I ride our horses for a while?' asked Katie, petting her horse.

'Oh, I suppose,' said Father. 'Just do not go too fast. They tire more easily that way.'

'All right,' they agreed with him as they mounted their horses.

The boys looked on with envy as the girls both cried out, 'Giddap!' and trotted away. They soon changed to galloping, because trotting made them bounce out of their seats.

Melanie had named her light brown horse Patches, because of the black patch over one eye and a brown patch over the other eye.

Katie named her horse Windwalker, because the horse ran so smoothly under her and felt like the wind.

When everyone was ready, they set out for the town. Singing and laughing, time passed quickly for them. They got there almost before the wagon train leader.

As the wagon master trotted up to him on a horse, he said, 'Well, Mr. Everboth, you and your family sure did get here early!' exclaimed the wagon master.

'Those are nice horses that you have there, girls! Do they have names?'

'Yes, a person has to get here early to get a good place in the wagon train!' replied Father, interrupting the wagon train master's question to the girls.

'How is your family doing, Dave?' Mama asked the wagon master.

'Oh, they're right fine, except for April. She's my youngest, and she's got the measles,' answered the wagon master.

'I'm sorry,' said Mother.

It was then that the girls, Melanie and Katie, had a chance to answer the wagon master. Melanie piped up, 'My horse's name is Patches,' she told him, looking proud.

'That's a very nice name, Melanie,' the wagon master replied, looking impressed. 'Is the reason you named her that because of the patches of color around her eyes?'

'Yes, it is,' Melanie answered.

'What is your horse's name, Katie?' asked the wagon master.

'Her name is Windwalker, and I named her that because when I ride her, it feels like I am riding on the wind!' Katie told him. 'She also likes to run. Papa told us not to run them too much at first, though.'

When Windwalker heard the word run, she tried hard to get away. Katie tried to keep Windwalker still, but was unsuccessful. Windwalker pranced away with Katie on her back, who was trying to slow her down enough to get her back under control. The group near the wagons laughed.


Soon, after a while, the other wagons began to arrive. There was much shouting and yelling going on as the wagons entered town and lined up.

Yes, the town was a busy place that morning, but it would be nearly empty by the afternoon. There was a lot of dust in the air at the time, and there were many oxen bawling, babies crying, and other noises that added to the confusion.

When all 22 wagons were there and were ready to start, the wagon master shouted, 'Onward!' and blew his horn with a loud noise, indicating that they were to start.

Slowly, the wagon train inched across the ground. As the animals got used to what they were doing, they moved faster. Just a few minutes after the train had started, there was a scream from the front of the wagon train.

The families in the train soon found out that a child had fallen out of a wagon accidentally He had been leaning out of the back of the wagon trying to count how many wagons there were, and he lost his balance and fell out.

When the children in the Everboth family heard about it, Mama took the spice cake that she had bought at the store over to the family.

Before she left the wagon however, Papa stopped her. 'Where did you get that cake?' he asked, licking his lips.

'I got it at the store in Nauvoo, but I am giving it to the Mama of the child that fell out of the wagon,' explained Mother.

'I see,' Papa answered, reluctantly taking his eyes off the cake.

Mama then carried the cake to the front and gave it to the woman and her little boy. The little boy, Steven, dried his eyes immediately and smiled at Mama when she handed him the cake.

'What do you say, Steven?' urged his mother.

'Tank u,' he said.

He was not but three years old, and Mama smiled at him.

(Later, the Everboth's wagon will be in front, but that is because they have a wagon train leading father.)


'Isn't this fun?' Katie questioned Melanie.

'Oh, yes!' exclaimed Melanie in reply. 'Let's race our horses to the edge of town and then come flying back, okay?'

'Well, we'll have to ask Papa first,' said Katie, hesitantly. 'He did say that we were not allowed to race them very much, you know. Or didn't you hear him?'

'Yea, yea, I heard him, but,' mumbled Melanie uncomfortably.

'But what?' questioned Katie, giving Melanie her full attention.

'Well, let's break that rule just this once. If he doesn't see, he'll never know and we wouldn't get punished!' Melanie replied.

'Not true,' Katie answered. 'I would tell him. I am also going to ask first, whether you are going to or not.'

She rode Windwalker up to the front of the wagon train where Papa was. 'Father, may we please race our horses to the edge of town and back?' she requested, hoping that he would answer before they were out of town.

'I guess so,' said Father. 'But when you come back, I want you to walk them, not gallop, trot, or prance, but walk them. All right?'

'All right, Father,' Katie agreed to what he said and galloped Windwalker back to where Melanie was riding. 'We are allowed to, but when we get back, Papa said we have to walk them, not prance, gallop, or trot, but walk them.' She relayed Father's information to Melanie.

'Okay, ready, set, GO!' Katie shouted and started to race Windwalker.

'Wait! Katie, Patches isn't moving!' Melanie shouted, wanting Katie to stop.

Katie stopped her mount and turned. She raced back to Melanie and stopped again. 'What's wrong?' she asked.

'I don't know! She just won't move!' Melanie cried in agony.

Katie raced up to the front of the wagon train where her Papa was guiding the train. 'Father, come quickly! Melanie's horse won't move!'

Papa handed the reins and the whip to Mama and hopped onto the horse behind Katie. He then took the reins out of her hands and guided the horse with his own. When he got to where Melanie was, he figured out that the horse had thrown a shoe.

The trio went back into town to buy a new one and to have it put on. The blacksmith went as fast as he could, but it was noon before the trio caught up with the wagon train again.

The train stopped inching along the ground when they arrived. They found out that it was not because they had just arrived, but because they were stopping for the nooning.*

A nooning was when a wagon train stopped at noon for an hour, more or less, and people took a break and ate lunch, talked with people, and just took an overall rest from driving the oxen and sitting down. Some walked around to get the feeling of sitting out of their legs.


The wagon train was on its way soon after they had stopped, for they wanted to travel as fast as possible and get there faster than most. That day at dinnertime, most people thought that they had gone far enough for that day.

Unfortunately for them, the wagon master insisted on keeping up their pace. Many people objected, but some were for it, including the Everboths.

That night, or should I say late evening, the wagon train master stopped the train, because he said that he did not want to stress the oxen too much the first day. Gladly, the people accepted the break.

'I suppose that we should give the oxen a break,' suggested Mother. 'After all, they have been working hard all day and this is the first time that they have done it,' she finished thoughtfully.


The next morning after they had started out and traveled for about a half of an hour, Joshua asked, 'Mother, there are a couple of boys in back of us that I want to meet. May I go and meet them? One of them looks like he is around my age.'

'Oh, I suppose, if it is all right with your father,' replied Mother. 'But you had better check with him before you go to meet them!'

'Yes, Mother,' said Joshua soberly.

After she had dismissed him, Joshua ran to the front of the wagon train where his Papa was directing the wagon train. Before they had left Nauvoo, the men elected Joshua's Papa to be trail guide for the wagon train.

'Father, may I please go and meet the boys that are in the wagon behind ours?' pleaded Joshua.

'That's fine with me, but if they turn out to be bad playmates who affect your Christianity, I do not want you playing with them,' stated Father. Please find out if they are, all right?'

'Yes, sir!' said Joshua, as he ran around to the wagon that held the other boys.

As one of the boys noticed him, Joshua said shyly, 'H-hi. I'm Joshua Everboth, and I am traveling in the wagon that is in front of you. My Papa is the trail guide.'

The tall, thirteen year old boy by the name of Pete Haver, answered, 'Hi. My name is Pete Haver, and this is my brother, Noah. I have a couple of other siblings* in the wagon. Quite a number, actually. Are you and your family going to Oregon City? That is were my family and I are going.'

Noah, who was driving the wagon, reached over and tried to smack Pete. 'You know I hate it when you call me a sibling!' he laughed teasingly.

'Well, you are!' protested Pete.

'Yeah, yeah, I know, but I still don't like it,' Noah teased. 'I know you do it just to annoy me, but that doesn't mean you get to call me that all the time!' he laughed.

By this time, Joshua, who seemed to have lost his shyness, laughed and answered Pete. 'Yes, actually, that is were we are going.' he replied. 'Do you have a bat and a baseball?' he asked.

As Pete jumped down from the wagon seat to walk beside Joshua, he asked, 'Sibling, will you tell Mom that I'm playing with a new friend for me?'

'There you go again!' shouted Noah. 'This time I'm going to get you!' he disappeared inside the wagon.

Both boys heard as he said, 'Curt, will you drive the wagon for me? I have got to get that little rat brother, Pete.'

The boys jumped and started to run. They looked back to find Noah coming out of the wagon with something in each hand. They also saw a tall, handsome young man climb out and take Noah's place as he jumped down.

Noah walked calmly towards them, and then he suddenly stopped. He drew back his arm, and suddenly Pete found himself covered with goop. Joshua managed to dodge the one that was thrown at him.

'Hey! This tastes like apple!' exclaimed Pete. 'Noah, did you''

'Yes, Ma gave me two of her pies. It's a good thing that you dodged that one, Joshua! That one was rotten!'

Pete went back to his wagon to clean up. Noah reached out as he passed and stuck a finger into the goop. He stuck it into his mouth and then ran to catch up with Pete.

This time, he grabbed a piece of crust and raced back to where Joshua was standing. He handed the crust to him and said, 'You weren't the one teasing, so you can have this.'

Joshua took it and ran back to his own wagon. It was a large piece of crust, filled with glop, so it was large enough to share He called everyone around and told them his story, and ended with cutting the piece up and handing one piece to each member of the family.

They were all very glad to have the pie, but Father claimed he had an overall taste in his. 'It must have landed on him!' he joked.

Everyone laughed, and the children went back outside.

Joshua went to find Pete, and when he did find him, Pete said while he was turning to Joshua, he answered. 'No, I don't have a bat, but I do have a ball, but it isn't the kind that you would want to use for a baseball. My Pa wouldn't let me bring mine. We do not have much room in our wagon. That is my answer to your question.'

'Oh, that's okay, I've got one myself. Want to play?' asked Joshua.

He headed for his wagon to get them but was pulled up short, as Pete said, 'No, not right now.'

Joshua turned around and waited for Pete to catch up. Then, he asked, 'Are you a Christian, Pete?'

Pete looked startled. 'No, what is that?'

'A Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I will get my Bible and show you some verses after I tell you something about it. To become a Christian, you have to ask Jesus into your heart, ask Him to save you, and ask Him to forgive you from your sins. Do you understand?' answered Joshua.

'Yes, I do, and I would like to be one too. Will you help me?' said Pete.

'Yes, I will. Just kneel down, and we will pray together.'

They did that, and Joshua said, 'Repeat after me. Dear Jesus, I am sorry for all my sins,'

'Dear Jesus, I am sorry for all my sins,' repeated Pete.

'Please come into my heart and save me from my sins,' dictated Joshua.

'Please come into my heart and save me from my sins. Amen.' finished Pete.

'There! Now you are a Christian, and you will go to Heaven when you die. And if Jesus comes down from Heaven before you die, He will take you back up to Heaven with Him.' declared Joshua happily, looking at his friend.

'Let's go play!' shouted Pete, jumping up and running away from Joshua. 'You have to try to tag me!'

'Okay!' shouted Joshua, also jumping up. He ran after Pete and it was a couple of fun filled minutes before he finally caught up.


Meanwhile, back at the Everboth's wagon, Mama was preparing lunch.

'Melanie, will you please get some beans for me with this scoop?' she asked. 'The beans are at the back of the wagon.'

'Then when you are done getting plates, Katie, you and Melanie go round up your Papa and brothers, and tell Joshua's new friend that if he's allowed, he is invited to have lunch with us,' she said.

'All right, Mother,' Katie replied, reaching for the plates.

She straightened out a blanket that they had been using for their lunches, and started setting the table.

Meanwhile, Melanie had found the bag of beans and was reaching in with the scoop when all of a sudden; the wagon gave a lurch. Katie and Mama turned quickly at the sound of, 'Owwwwww! That hurt!'

Katie looked out the back of the wagon and saw Melanie lying on the ground amidst a pile of beans. Together, they soon cleaned up the mess and fed the beans to the chickens and pigs. Whatever the pigs and chickens could not eat, they put into the feed trough for the cow. She followed along behind the wagon, munching happily.

'I really wish that you had been more careful, Melanie,' Mama chided her.

'I was!' Melanie protested.

'No you weren't, or it would not have happened!'

'I was so!'

'No you weren't!'

'Yes I was!'


Jack then appeared at the front of the wagon. 'Mmmmmm, it sure does smell good in here!' he exclaimed. '''What are we having?'

'Well, we are having beans, biscuits, and maple syrup, and eggs.' Mama answered him.

'Yum!' he exclaimed, dipping his finger into the hot maple syrup. He licked it and got prepared to stick it in again.

'Hey, you sneak!' Mama laughed, smacking his hand. 'That's for lunch, you cheat!'

'Oh!' he said. ''I thought that it was for me to eat right now!' he teased, even though that he knew it was for lunch.

As he started to leave the wagon, he quickly dipped his finger into the maple syrup again. Mama did not have time to slap his hand, but shouted after him teasingly, 'You rascal!'*

'I'm gonna see if I can find any friends to play with, okay?' he shouted over his shoulder.

'All right, but please be back in time for lunch!'

'Don't worry, I will!'

Katie appeared at the flapway (the flap of cloth covering the doorway) just then. 'Joshua's friend is allowed to come, and Father's on his way,' she said. 'Joshua went to tell him that we have a guest for lunch.'

As she said those very words, Pete, Joshua, and Papa came through the improvised doorway.

Soon, they were all seated on the floor eating except Father, who was driving the oxen. Joshua spoke up. 'Mother, Katie, Melanie, Jack, this is Pete Haver. Pete, this is my Mother, my sisters Katie and Melanie, and my brother Jack.'

As everyone exchanged friendly greetings, they ate lunch. After they had eaten, Pete spotted his brother Curt, age twenty, and heard him calling, 'Pete! Time to come back! Mama needs all of our help! Betty has the grippe!'

His voice sounded frantic.

Setting down his plate quickly, Pete said, 'I had better get over there fast! Thanks for the lunch!' and he was gone. Melanie stared after him and found out that it was a very nice young man that was driving the wagon. A thought entered her mind, but she quickly pushed it back out.

'I think that I will go over there and see if I can help at all,' said Mother, interrupting her thoughts.


A little while later, Jack happened to look out the back of the wagon. Seeing a turtle crawling slowly along, he jumped out of the wagon and picked it up. 'Hey, guys! Look what I found!' he shouted, holding it so that they could see it.

A little while later, Jack saw a turtle crawling along the ground.

Katie, Melanie, and Joshua came scrambling out of the wagon, followed by Daniel and Pete. 'Cool!' they chorused together.

'I think that I will sell it on trading day!' he announced.

'Can I have half of whatever you get for it if I help you sell it?' asked Daniel.

Daniel was a friend that Jack had met when he went out to find a friend after leaving the wagon.

'No, I want to trade it for a pocket watch,' replied Jack.

Daniel shrugged. 'Okay,' he said, walking away. 'It is your choice, and it is your turtle.'

'Let's go and play tag!' yelled Katie. 'I'm not it!'

These words brought Daniel racing back in a hurry.

The others counted ONE, TWO, THREE, and 'Not it!' Only Pete did not say it fast enough, and he ended up being 'It'. They kept playing until Pete finally caught Joshua, who tripped over his untied shoelace.

He flopped down on the ground and said in reply, 'Pooh! I do not want to be it! Let's have someone else be it! Nearly every single game we play, I am it!'

He pouted.

'I will be it,' Melanie volunteered.

Soon enough, she caught Daniel, and in turn he caught Katie. Soon they were out of breath and they decided to take a break from their running.


Late that night, the wagon train reached the Mississippi River. A sign near its edge showed that it was 5,500 feet across.

Papa went to the front of the wagon train and told the wagon master, 'I think that we should cross on the ice. It looks pretty solid. But, we should probably wait until tomorrow.'

'It would not be smart to cross in the dark, because the wagons might hit a bump that we can't see in the dark and skid around on the river.'

'You're right as always, Jeffery,' replied the wagon master.

Chapter 3

Broken Ice

Early the next morning, the first wagon started across the treacherous stretch of ice. Papa watched for a minute and then went back and told his family that they were going to go across the river last. When their turn finally came, they started across. When they were almost halfway across, Melanie asked, 'Mother, what is that sound?'

Mama turned quickly. It was then that everyone heard the loud grinding sound. Seconds later, the left front wagon wheel went down.

'Oh, no!' shouted Joshua. 'The ice is breaking!'

At that moment, the whole wagon broke through the ice. The oxen bawled loudly, for the wagon almost pulled them under. Papa struggled to the top and out onto the solid ice, all the while shouting, 'Go! Giddap!' to the oxen.

The oxen pulled with all their might, and with some resistance, the wagon came out of the large, broken hole in the ice. As fast as they could go, the oxen ran across the ice.

When they reached the other side, they all climbed out. Katie and Jack were soaked to the skin, because, when the back wheels of the wagon went down, they had gotten sprayed with water.

Melanie and Joshua had avoided getting wet, because they had been making a little fort out of the sacks, and had just put on the roof when the wagon went down. They were inside it at the time, and the heavily filled sacks had prevented them from getting wet. Pete and Noah ran over with a couple of large, woolen blankets.

'Here, put these around you,' Noah ordered Katie and Jack.

He helped Katie get one around her, and then ran into his wagon to get dry clothes from his fifteen year-old sister, Betty. She had gotten over the grippe by this time, and Katie would not catch any disease from wearing her clothes.

After they had gotten warm, the wagon train continued on its way and this time with the Everboth's wagon in the lead. Mama checked their supplies after they were on their way again.

'Oh, no! Jeffery, we lost a lot of supplies in the spill!' exclaimed Mother.

'Well, we'll just have to do with what we have until we get to somewhere where we can buy more things,' murmured Papa sadly.

Minutes later, came the shout, 'We just passed the thirty mile mark!'

'Is that good, Mother?' asked Melanie.

'Yes, I suppose that you could call that a pretty good start, for the way that we are traveling!' remarked Mother.

On April 3, the wagon train stopped so the men could hunt. Papa went to a quiet, remote, area to do his hunting and shot two bucks and big bear. In all, he shot 395 pounds of meat.

Papa shot two bucks and a big bear.

It took him quite a while to gather all the meat that he had shot, and also to skin and tie it up so that it was suitable* to carry.

The family was getting worried about him, and they prayed very hard that he was not hurt and that the Lord would protect him from anything that might hurt him in the dark.

When Mama first spotted him, he had a lot of meat in his arms, and he was whistling.

'Jeffery! Thank the Lord you're all right!' praised Mother.

'Why were you gone so long? We were getting worried about you!' Mama continued as he got closer.

'Oh, it took me a while to gather up all the meat,' he answered her calmly.


'Jeffery, the wagon master told me that this afternoon we are going to reach the Des Moines River and that we are going to have to cross it on the ice!' she told him. 'What if the ice was to break again?'

'That's just fine, only this time, we are going across first!' he laughed. 'Just to make sure that the ice doesn't break while we are crossing.'

They did, but not one single wagon went down. The reason that the Everboth's wagon had gone down was because there was a weak spot in the ice were all the other wagons had crossed. The wagon had hit it and gone down.

One day later, they ran into a very severe thunderstorm and waited for the conditions to improve, but the storm lasted until nighttime, so they had to wait until morning came.

When the train reached Fox River, it rested for an hour or so. This gave Mama a chance to trade with an old woman named Granny Chicken. She loved chickens, and she raised them. Mama made some tea for them both and they sat down to talk for a while. They talked about children, their lives, where they grew up, and how they were getting along on the trail.

They also talked about things that happened to them, and Mama brought up the subject of why they wanted to move west by saying, 'So, Granny, what made you and your chickens feel the urge to move west?'

Granny answered in a quivery voice. 'Oh, I used to have six children, but the Lord took them away with cholera. My littlest one, though, did not have cholera, she had'''

Mama looked at the old woman. 'What did she have?' she asked after Granny had been silent for several minutes.

'Dysentery,' she answered, letting out her breath with a rush. 'You see, I let them go exploring, and when they came back, they looked sick, so I put them to bed. I asked them if they had eaten anything, and they answered that after they had eaten their lunch, they had still been hungry, so they ate some mushrooms and leaves. They also ate some berries.'

The old lady let her story pour forth from her lips, knowing that this was a person she could rely on for sympathy.

'I called a doctor, and when he got there, we found out that five of them had cholera. He did not know at the time what she had, but later, after they had died, it was known that she had caught dysentery,' she finished her story with a sigh.

'I'm so sorry,' Mama said softly, but Granny Chicken was not finished.

'Then I did not feel anything that wanted to make me stay in Nauvoo, so I got all my things, bought a wagon and several oxen, and headed west!' Granny stood up. 'I really must get back to my wagon,' she said. 'But thank you for having me over!'

'You're welcome,' Mama waved from the back of the wagon canvas to her.

While they talked, everyone else filled up the water kegs, even though they did not need the water very much.

At Ely's Ford, the train continued past it without stopping. Ely's Ford, a bad place for the pioneers, was flooded. They traveled as fast as they could through the mess, and soon they were past it.

At Locust Creek, everyone stayed in the wagon to stay away from the mosquitoes.

'These mosquitoes are terrible!' exclaimed Katie, hugging the blanket that she was wrapped in.

'I'll say!' replied Mother, slapping at yet another mosquito that was trying to bite her through the blanket.

'I wish that we had mosquito netting, because it would be nice to not have these stupid mosquitoes biting us!' commented Jack, wrapping another blanket around him.

'Yes, that would be nice,' said Mama in answer to him.

The whole family had wrapped themselves up tightly in large blankets to try to keep themselves protected from the stinging mosquitoes.


That night, Jack nodded off to sleep over his supper, and Papa had to carry him into the wagon and into his bed. Everyone else in the family went to bed early, too.

Early the next morning, Papa got up and rose all the other men in the train so they could start out.

When he reached the last wagon, he found a woman crying and a ransacked wagon. He asked her what was wrong and what had happened, and she replied with, 'Last night a burglar broke into our wagon and killed my husband as we slept.' The woman sobbed even louder.

Papa went back to his own wagon and roused Mother. He explained what had happened, and she bustled about, telling the pastor what had happened, and other things that were necessary.


On the night of April 5th, the people of the train held a funeral for the man that had died. Mrs. Kennter, the woman whose husband had died, sobbed loudly all through the funeral. The same night, men held a meeting. 'I think that we should try and push ourselves and the oxen up to twelve hours for each day,' announced Father, standing up.

There was mumbling in the crowd and then one man said, 'I think that that is a good idea. After all, it will take long enough as it is to get there.'

Someone else said, 'We will get up at six in the morning and stop at eight in the evening.'

'Yeah, but why bother? It'll take forever, anyway!' someone shouted.

'I think it's a good idea!'

'So do I!'

Everyone else agreed after quarreling for a number of minutes. Then, they vowed to push themselves even harder each day.

Chapter 4


The next day, which was April 6th, they reached a place in the trail that had flooded because of the storm earlier in the week. The previous day, the woman's husband had been buried.

The woman also found out that the burglar had stolen a lot of her things. She tried to make light of it by saying, 'Oh well, at least I will have a lot less to carry when we reach the mountains!'


'Now what are we going to do?' asked Jack, with worry in his voice.

He was asking about the flooded place in the trail, of course.

'We'll ford* it,' replied Father.

'What does it mean to 'ford it'?' he asked.

'It means to wade through something,' Papa told him after thinking for a minute for an accurate answer.

'I see,' replied Jack. 'Are we going first?'

'Maybe, probably,' said Father, looking straight ahead.

They did go first, but, however, the whole wagon train was not able to ford it without getting stuck.

They took about three hours out of traveling time to get the wagon out. Mother, Katie, Melanie, Jack, Joshua, and the other children and women stood on the other side and watched.

All of the men in the wagon train added up to 23 men. Altogether, even with their strength combined, it took a while to get the wagon out. Shouts went back and forth between the crowd of men.

'Get the oxen out!'

'Take this to shore!'

'Hey, Peterdas! Get over here and help me with this barrel of whatever and these boxes!' one of the men yelled as he dropped a box into the muddy slop accidentally.

The men were trying to get the supplies that were in the wagon to safety and also to get the animals, people, and wagon out. They thought that it would not be possible to get it all out, though.

Later, they figured out that it had been quicksand, and they were surprised that they had gotten themselves, let alone the wagon, out of the mess.

The next afternoon, the train reached Garden Grove Waystation and went in to get the food and the other things that they needed for the rest of their journey. They got the things that they needed, which was quite a lot.

The train stopped at Garden Grove Waystation to get the food they needed.

'This is going to cost us almost 22 dollars, you know, but we need it in a bad way,' said Father.

'Yes, that is a lot of money to use, but I think we need it. After all, we did lose things when we went down through the broken ice.' Mama replied, trying to make light of it.

That day at lunch, Mama and Papa shooed the children outside. The children puzzled over this until their parents let them back in. As they scrambled up by means of stepping on the wagon wheels, they almost fell head over heels in their surprise. There, right in front of their eyes, lay a beautiful picnic lunch.

'''''Wow! Ham sandwiches!''' shouted Melanie.

'And cookies!' said Joshua happily, reaching into the cookie basket. 'This looks good!'

'Where did you get all of this, Mother?' asked Katie in a shocked voice.

'We got it at Garden Grove Waystation when you were not looking!' Mama replied with glee.

Everyone in the Everboth's family ate a tasty feast that day. They enjoyed it immensely. Jack and Joshua each had two ham sandwiches, eight cookies, and two glasses of ice cold water. The girls had five cookies each, Katie ate one sandwich, and Melanie ate two.

Later that day, Melanie said, 'Mother, my head hurts and I feel dizzy.'

Mama did not start worrying because she thought that it was a side effect from eating so much. It was only when Melanie began to vomit that she began to feel uneasy. 'Uh-oh, let's look this up in the guidebook. 'Jeffery! Come here a minute!' called Mother.

After Papa had checked Melanie over, he said, 'I think that you have cholera, * young lady!'

'Cholera!' Mother's hand flew to her mouth.

'Is that bad?' Melanie asked in a small voice.

'Yes, dear, it is. And unless we get a doctor, the worst may be assumed.' Papa did not want to tell her that, but she had asked and he did not want to lie.

Melanie shut her eyes and lay back against the pillows. She whispered before she drifted of to sleep, 'I don't want to die.'

Melanie's Mama and Papa gave her peppermint after she woke up. Peppermint was a medicine that was supposed to relive cholera. After she had taken the medicine, Melanie fell fast asleep again and did not wake up until around midnight.

When she woke up, she saw Joshua's face above her, looking anxious. 'I'm supposed to give you this medicine when you wake up,' he said.

The next afternoon, Melanie sat up in bed after sleeping for hours, and said 'Mother, I'm as hungry as a bear. Are there any ham sandwiches left?'

Mama asked if she was feeling all right, and she replied with a yes.

Mama fed her, and then allowed Melanie to get up, but not to leave the wagon. She pouted a lot, but was still not allowed to leave the wagon.

When Papa came into the wagon that evening, he rejoiced to find Melanie up and all right, and he said that the doctor had examined her and told them that she did have cholera, but a very light case of it. This was unusual, for most people that got cholera died. A few days later, Melanie was completely healed from her cholera incident.

That very evening, someone near the front of the wagon train shouted, 'Heavy fog up ahead! We need to slow down because we can hardly see our hands in front of our faces!'

Papa took a step outside and instantly agreed. The next day was April 9th, and on that day the wagon train reached the Middle Nodaway River. 'Are we almost there?' asked Katie impatiently.

'No, we are not even nearly there. We haven't even gotten halfway there yet,' snapped Father. 'Now, stop bugging me! I have things to do!' he said angrily.

Papa was in a bad mood at that moment, and no one knew why. He just was, for some reason.

'Aren't we even halfway there?' she bugged.

Papa got very mad. 'What did I just say?' he stormed. 'Anyway, I just told you that we are not even halfway there!'


By the end of the afternoon, everyone had caulked* his or her wagons and was ready to go across. 'Let's go!' shouted the wagon master.

The first wagon started into the water. When it was halfway across, the second one started into the stretch of river. When all of the wagons had crossed except for the Everboth's, it was five o' clock.

'Gee up!' shouted Father, slapping the reins on the backs of the oxen.

The four oxen put their front feet into the water and stopped. Papa yelled at them, but to no avail. Joshua hopped out of the wagon and walked behind them. He gave one a slap on the rump, then the other one in that yoke. Then he turned around and did the same to the other yoke of oxen.

When they did not move, Joshua climbed back into the wagon. 'I don't know why they are acting like this. Do you have a whip?'

'Yes, I do. Do you think they will respond?' asked Father.

'Probably. I saw someone else using a bullwhip, and they were scared of it. They did everything they were told to.' Joshua replied with a satisfactory air.

Papa gave Joshua instructions on where to find the bullwhip, but he could not find it. 'Here,' said Papa in disgust, handing the reins over to Joshua.

'I'll find it myself,' muttered Father, as he scrambled back to the back of the wagon.

Papa got the whip and climbed back up on the wagon seat. He used the whip, but the oxen did not respond. 'Father, why don't we hitch the horses up to it?' suggested Katie.

Papa thought about this for a minute, then said that it was a good idea. Jack, Joshua, and Papa all climbed down from the wagon, and started to unhitch the yokes of oxen.

Just as they finished, the girls appeared around the end of the wagon, leading the horses.

'Thanks!' exclaimed Father.

'We had a little trouble untying their ropes, but we managed,' Katie told them happily.

'That's okay,' said Joshua. 'It was still good of you to get them. That is very helpful.'

The girls then took the oxen to the back of the train and turned them loose in the remuda.

As they turned to go, they heard one of the nearer herders mutter, 'Oh, great. Four more to herd.'

Katie and Melanie went back to the wagon to find the wagon heading into the water. 'Hey! Wait for us!' they yelled, running toward the wagon and flailing their arms.

The wagon stopped and waited for the girls. The two climbed in and settled themselves between some furniture.

They had barely settled themselves when the wagon started with a jolting bump.

The horses shook their manes as they headed into the deep water. This particular river was quite strong that day, for the wind was against them, and this made it even harder to control.

The horses struggled against the flow of the river and almost lost their balance. Papa talked soothingly to the horses, and they stopped for a moment, and then started up again.

They were about halfway to the end of the river, when all of a sudden, there was heard a loud crack! Papa turned around, startled, and then cried out.

'Oh, no!' he shouted. 'A wheel has broken!'

Mama gasped. 'Are, are you sure?'

'Yes, I am! If you don't believe me, go look at the rear left wheel!' Papa told her.

Mama scrambled to the back of the wagon and looked out. Behind the wagon, she could see the broken wheel floating off into the river.

All of a sudden, the wheel disappeared. 'What happened to the wheel?' asked Melanie.

Papa turned around and answered her question. 'It probably went down in a whirlpool!'

'Does that mean that there are other whirlpools around here in this river?' asked Jack.

'Yes,' replied Father.

The children gasped and looked for more. They wanted to warn Papa if they saw any more.

Papa continued talking. 'We probably struck a log on something underneath the water. We can not see anything, and we might hit something else.'

'Do you think we will hit anything else?' asked Mama with anxiety.

'Um, well, it's hard to tell,' Papa replied.

'I hope not!' put in Joshua.

'Well, so do I!' exclaimed Katie.

The family did not know that they would strike something else, but it would not be a log.

The wagon continued, without its wheel, on to the other side of the river. They were nearly there when all of a sudden; one of the horses neighed loudly.

Rose, the bay horse, broke away from the harnessed horses, for one of the harness straps had broken, and off she splashed through the water. Without another horse to pull the wagon, and because the horses were now spooked, the wagon went out of control.

Papa jumped into the water to try to save Rose. The horse was floundering in the middle of the river, and went down twice.

Rose brayed shrilly, and the people on the land and in the wagon plugged their ears. Papa reached the horse and grabbed her bridle.

The horse neighed again, and tried to break away from Father's grip. However, she could not. Papa hopped onto her wet, slippery back and guided her back toward the wagon, where his family was waiting for them.

Since nobody was guiding the wagon, there was no one to see where they were headed.

The people on the shore were shouting at them to watch where they were going, but they failed to hear.

All of a sudden, there was a bump that sent all of the occupants in the back right into the water. 'Yow!' shouted the children.

Papa was back with the horse by then, and, instead of hitching her back up to the wagon, he took her to shore and sent her into the hands of the people on shore.

Then, he swam back to the wagon and rescued his children from the water.

They thanked him, and then climbed back into the wagon.

The children took turns drying off with a towel that Mama had given them, and then they got dressed.

After they were finished, Jack asked a question. 'What made her run off like that?'

'Oh, well, I don't rightly know, but a strap of her harness came loose, and she broke away!' Papa answered.

Jack thought about this. Then he asked, 'Are we going to keep the horses pulling the wagon?'

'Hmmm,' Papa said. 'Maybe we could do that,' he said.

'Really?' asked Joshua.

'No more boring old oxen for us!' Melanie exclaimed.

'Actually, maybe it would be a good idea to keep the oxen on. That way, the horses can have a rest!' Papa declared.

'Aw,' said Joshua.

'Rats!' Jack agreed.

The girls were rather disappointed, too. They did not protest, however. Papa was glad of this, because he was not in the mood for an argument.

When the wagon reached the shore of the other bank, people crowded around them and tried to make sure they were okay.

Papa assured them that they were, just a little shaken up and very wet.

A person offered blankets them, but Papa and Mama refused. They did not want charity, and they already had blankets of their own.


All the wagons crossed the river by the end of the evening. After they had crossed, The train stopped for an hour. It was only a few minutes after they had started up again that Jack said, 'I itch all over.'

'It'll go away,' Mama said, not looking up.

A little while later, Jack threw up. It was then that Mama turned and grabbed the guidebook.

They looked up the symptoms in the guidebook. 'Uh-oh! I think that he has the measles. What he has sure does match the symptoms in the guidebook,' said Mother.

'How long does it take to get over it?' asked Jack.

'Unfortunately, it will take quite a while,' said Father.

'Does that mean that I can't play with my friends?' questioned Jack sadly.

'Yes, I'm afraid it does,' said Mother.

'Phooey!' said Jack as he lay down.


That night, the family had leftover ham sandwiches and maple syrup poured over biscuits. Jack said that he wanted some, but Mama gave him broth instead.

The next day, Joshua started coughing very hard. When he was finally able to stop, he wheezed, 'I feel terrible, Mother.'

'Good grief! All of you kids have gotten something except for Katie. She has been lucky to get this far without getting anything.' she replied. 'I think that you might have a cold, Joshua. I'm glad that it is not as serious as the diseases that your brother and sister got.'

By the time the word had gotten to the wagon master, who was near the back of the train checking someone in someone else's family, Katie caught the measles from Jack. After all, measles are contagious.

'Now they all have or had something.' cried Mother, throwing her hands into the air. 'Why did we come on this trip? Why don't we just turn around and go back?'

Papa comforted her, and then they both gave the children some medicine.

Early the next morning, the cry went up, 'Lighten the load!'

The Everboth's wagon was very heavy, considering that all four children, all the supplies, and all the other things they had in the wagon.

Together, Mama and Papa lifted out a small table, two slat backed chairs, six books, one box of tools, and two barrels of flour. By the time they left the sight, that place could have been turned into a store! There were many, many, things that the people were leaving behind, and many women cried, but others set forth with hard, set faces, determined to move on.

Everyone knew that the less weight they added to their wagons, the better off they would be. Katie watched the pile of things grow smaller as they moved farther into the desolate wilderness.


To treat Katie for the measles, Mama and Papa gave her something else. 'This time,' said Father. 'We will give her Epsom salts to see if they do any good, instead of peppermint. It did not do any good when we gave it to Jack.'

They gave the medicine to Katie, and she commented that it tasted awful. Papa replied, 'Well, I cannot help that, but do you want to get even sicker?'

'No,' she said.

'Then you need to take it twice every day, until they go away.' Papa told her.

'Let's give some to Jack to, because he still has not taken a medicine that works,' Mama gave this suggestion.

'That''''''''''''s a good idea,' said Father, pouring some more into a spoon for Jack.

He took it, and also commented on how awful it tasted.

That afternoon, Papa went fishing to try his luck and to see what he could catch. As he walked gaily up the trail ahead of the train, a couple of other men joined him.

They chattered as they walked together, and then, after a while, the pond came into sight. As they walked up to it, the two men that had come with Papa went over to the other side of the pond to fish while Papa threw his line into the water. They fished for about an hour, and then they got up and headed back up the trail.

When they got to the place where the walking trail led into the Oregon Trail, they saw in the distance the train disappearing over the crest of a large hill.

'Come on!' shouted Father, starting to run.

The men ran as fast as they could, but they were carrying many strings of fish, and the running was not easy going. Papa gradually drew abreast of the other two, and caught up with the wagon train a few minutes before the others did.

In all, he had caught 34 pounds of fish. 'That's enough to last us for about 5 days,' said Mother.

When everyone heard how much fish that Papa had caught, they wanted to eat some right away, which Mama let them do. As they ate the pickerel, perch, and bass, Papa told them of his exciting chase after the wagon train.

Joshua said that he wished that he could have been with them at the time. 'I could have run faster that anybody!' he boasted.

'Yeah, right, you can't run worth a dime!' taunted Melanie.

Mama stopped the argument as fast as she could, but Joshua managed to get in a: 'You can't run so well yourself!'


Right after they had eaten lunch, the family heard something in the distance. All of a sudden, Katie asked,' What is that noise? It sounds like drums!'

Before Papa could answer, Pete appeared at the flapway. 'It is,' he said. 'We are almost at Indian Town. The wagon train master sent me tell you.'

He scurried off to tell the others of the train.

'What kind of Indians are they, Mother?' asked Jack.

'I think they are Pawnee,' Mama answered as best she could.

That afternoon, April 11th, 1875 , wagon train two reached Indian Town, Iowa. Mama got into a long conversation with an old Indian named Naomi.

Naomi did not know too much English, but Mama somehow managed to get into a discussion with her just the same. Mama asked her if she had anything to trade, and she replied, 'You tr-ade. Me? You-me, Tra-de. Trade?'

Mama made motions of trading things back and forth until at last the old Indian woman understood. Naomi stood up and went inside an Indian wigwam. She came out with a large string of fish and five pairs of soft moccasins.

Mama walked over to her own wagon and pulled out several things that they had double of, and also things that they had gotten for trade with the Indians.

The Indian woman watched excitedly as Mama pulled object after object out of the bag and laid it on the ground.

After several minutes, a large array of bright colored things lay on the ground in an orderly fashion. There were many things, such as bright colored beads, a harmonica, two pairs of brand new shoes, six sewing needles, and one pair of scissors.

There was also a fiddle and a long dress. Naomi handed the moccasins to Mama and picked up a needle that was lying on a blanket. She touched the end of it, and was startled to find that it was sharp. She held her finger, which was bleeding, out to Mother, and Mama bandaged it up nicely.

Naomi said something in her strange tongue, and then went back to looking over the things. Mama assumed that what she said was Thank you.

'You may have anything in that pile for all five pairs of these moccasins,' Mama told the Indian woman.

'Is good, is good,' was the reply.

She picked out the dress and two sewing needles as pay for the moccasins.

Mama gave her one fiddle, because they had two, for the fresh fish that she had for trade. There were many large salmon from the creek.

Mama then put back the bag of things for trading, and gathered up the moccasins and the fish. Naomi watched, and then gathered up her own things and took them inside the tepee.

Mama climbed into the wagon and drove the oxen over to the chief's tent, where Papa was talking to the chief. She told him that she had traded, and she was ready to go.

He told her this: 'Susan, we are going to stay here for several days, and the chief said that he is going to let the people of our train sleep in their tepees!'


The wagon train rested at the old Indian town for day to rest everyone up for the rest of the trip.

One hour after they left the town, Bessie, one of the Everboth's best pulling oxen, turned her foot when she went down in a gopher hole. 'Father! I think Bessie is hurt! Her foot went into something!' shouted Joshua.

He had gotten over his cold by this time, because the chief had had his wife, who was Naomi, give him an herb that helped them when they were sick.

The old chief had also given them some of it to take along, saying that it helped just about anything.

Papa asked the wagon train to wait for them while he unhitched her and examined her injured foot to see if she could go on.

Fortunately, the gopher hole was not too deep and Bessie's foot had not turned much. Papa took her to the back of the wagon train, where the extra animals were driven. He picked a new ox out of the ones that he owned. This ox was frisky, and he had a hard time getting it hitched to the wagon.

Ten minutes later, the wagon train was on the way to Oregon again. Papa had trouble with the oxen, because when one of the oxen turns, then the rest of them have to turn. That is the way that the yokes worked. If one ox wants to turn, and he does, then because the yoke is wooden, and cannot bend, that forces the other ox to move, too.

Now, this ox wanted to turn, and this was the reason that Papa was having trouble with the ox. Joshua came out of the wagon to help, and got shoved out of the way by Papa when he tried to help stop the oxen. Papa was trying to get the ox to slow down, but it refused.

When he finally got the ox under control, he helped Joshua brush off.

'I'm sorry that I pushed you so hard, Joshua, but I did not want you to get kicked by the frisky ox,' Papa apologized.

'That's all right. I probably spooked him anyway, and would have gotten kicked!' Joshua laughed.


After a little while, the men stopped again and hitched another ox to the yoke. They put the skittery ox back with the rest and put on a more solemn one. 'Mother, when are we going to stop?' asked Jack.

'We will be stopping at Council Bluffs when we get there,' she answered.

'Good. I want to look around. Pete and I want to see if we can find any money lying around in the dirt,' Jack exclaimed.

'If you do find any, you must ask Papa before you use any of it, or give it to me to hang onto, all right?' Mama told him.

'Okay,' he shouted over his shoulder as he hopped out of the wagon and ran off to play.

Mama watched him go and shook her head, thinking I sure am blessed with such good children. I just hope the good Lord helps us get to Oregon all right.


At 1:07 on April 13th, the rather tired looking wagon train inched into view of Council Bluffs. Unfortunately, Mama had been wrong. The wagon train did not stop at Council Bluffs, but continued its journey until it reached Kanesville Crossing.

There, the men stopped the wagons to try to figure out a way to cross the river. It was not iced over like the other rivers had been.

Many arguments went on between them, and there were many disputes over how the river should be crossed.

'We should ford it!'

'I say we make a raft!'

'That would take too long!'

After one hour of planning, the men decided that they would ford the river until Papa spoke up. He had been thinking, and now he told of what he thought they should do. 'Men, that river over there is ten feet deep and the oxen's legs are only two feet high. Now, if you want to drown your oxen and lose all your supplies, go right ahead.'

Papa continued with, 'It's not up to me what you fellers do, but me and my family are caulking our wagon and we are floating across that treacherous river.'

The men talked and argued about this for a couple of minutes and decided that Father's word about river crossing was the best. 'Why didn't I think of that?' questioned one of the men.

'You must just not be smart enough!' another joked.

'All of us know that Mr. Everboth is the smartest one out of all of us!' exclaimed one man loudly.

Papa heard this complement as he walked away from the circle of light where the men had met. When he looked back, nearly the whole area was deserted, for everybody had gone back to his own wagons.

'Did you know that Council Bluffs used to be called Kanesville?' asked Katie, her face buried in the guidebook.

'Yes, I did,' replied Mother.

The next morning, the wagons started across the stretch of river that lay ahead. The first wagon tipped, and six men swam out to try to rescue the people and the oxen, but they were not quite in time. The whole thing went under, taking the people, the oxen, and many loud screams and bawls.

It was a sad sight, and the next wagon that went across was extra careful. All of the people were careful, but yet another wagon went down.

'Mother, what made those wagons go down?' asked Melanie. She was upset about the incident, too.

'Well, that I can't tell you exactly, but I can at least tell you what I think happened!' Mama replied. 'I think that there is a whirlpool in the middle where both of those wagons went down.'

'What is a whirlpool?' Melanie came back with yet another question.

'A whirlpool is a spinning column of water that sucks things into it's depth,' Mama answered.

'Oh,' said Melanie.

'Do you think that it will get us?' asked Joshua, who had been listening in.

'Well, maybe, but it won't get us if we are careful and stay away from it,' she explained.


By 5:00 that evening, all but three of the wagons were across the river. The last one, as it turned out, also got sucked into the whirlpool, even though they were careful. One of the people, a little boy, clung onto one of the oxen when the wagon went under, and the ox struggled to shore with the little boy on his back.

His Mama had been rescued, and she rejoiced to find her little boy alive. Mama provided her with a towel to dry Steven, her son, off.

'Praise the Lord!' the woman kept saying over and over again.

It was decide that the woman would walk, and her son would ride on the ox's back. Many of the families donated something from their stock of supplies to that small family.

One family gave them a large patchwork quilt, one gave them a raincoat, another an umbrella, and yet another gave the little boy a bag of candy and a new set of clothes to wear.

The Everboths gave him a Bible and when Papa took something out of his pocket, he walked over to the ox where the little boy rode, and handed something to him. 'This is for you,' he said. 'I personally think that you are old and responsible enough to have a jackknife.'

Quickly, he added, 'If your parents say it is all right. Oh, I mean your mother.'

Steven's Mama nodded her head happily.

'Oh, thank you, sir,' said the boy, looking with wide eyes at the knife.

'You're welcome,' replied Father, heading back to his wagon.

When he got back to the wagon, Joshua asked him, 'Father, what did you give him?'

'I gave him a jackknife, and I got it at Council Bluffs,' Papa answered.

'Did you get me one?' Joshua persisted.

'No, I did not, Joshua, and you already have one, so you do not need a new one. Don't be greedy. Yours is perfectly fine.' Papa said, sitting down on the wagon seat and taking the reins and whip from Mother.

He looked back at Joshua, who had pulled out his jackknife, and was now looking at it. Joshua was thinking, Maybe I did just get this at the beginning of the trip, but I still want a new one. Maybe Papa was going to give that one to me, but decided to give it to the other boy instead. Oh, well.


That night, Mama called everyone together. When everyone was gathered around her, she started to talk. 'From now on, there will me some different rules around here. Papa and I will explain them, and you must listen carefully. Number one, girls, I have noticed that you have neglected wearing your bonnets, and that is the first rule. From now on, unless you are sleeping or in the water, you must wear your bonnets.'

'Number two,' said Father, 'You boys will comb your hair each morning before breakfast.'

'Number three, you will not ride in the wagon unless you are sick,' Mama put in.

'Number four, you will not pick up things that you see in piles of stuff that others have left behind,' voiced Father.

'That is right,' said Mother. She continued with, 'I have noticed some strange things in the wagon, and this is one of them.'

She held up a dishtowel with a picture of a kitten and a dog on it. 'Whom might this belong to?' she asked.

Katie timidly raised her hand. 'It belongs to me.'

'Well, don't pick up anything else that is without value, all right?'

All the children agreed, although they did look kind of forlorn. 'Does that mean we cannot pick up anything?' asked Joshua sadly.

'Not unless we say it is all right to keep,' replied Father.

The children agreed and trudged out of the wagon unhappily.


The next morning Mama announced, 'It is April 15th, and we have gone three hundred and four miles and we are almost to Florence, where we will stock up on supplies that we used or lost during the trip.'

'Yippee!' Melanie and Jack shouted.

'I want to see if there is anything lying around, like money! Mama did not let me look when we got to the Bluff of Council!' Joshua exclaimed, combing his hair with the new comb Papa had given to him the previous day.

Mama laughed. 'Joshua, it is Council Bluffs, not Bluff of Council!'

Joshua looked embarrassed. 'Oh,' he said, sitting down in a chair. 'What's for breakfast?'

'Oh, let's see,' Mama replied, starting to serve things on the plates. 'We are having roasted ham dipped in honey, eggs, milk, and''

'Where did you get milk?' demanded Joshua, looking in the cups.

'I got it in trade for a harmonica,' she answered.

'Oh, I see,' he said in reply.

'Who did you get it from?' interrupted Jack.

'I got it at'' Mama tried to answer, but was cut off by another question.

'Are we having anything else?' asked Katie.

'In answer to your question Jack, I got the milk from Mrs. Peterdas, and Katie, here is what we are having.' Mama explained.

Just then, Melanie clambered in. 'What is for breakfast, Mother?'

Mama handed each of her children a plate. 'Look and see!' she said happily.

'Oh boy!' they exclaimed when they saw what was on their plates.

Papa came in just then, and picked up a plate. 'This is good, Susan,' he mumbled through a mouth full of food.

'Thank you,' said Mother.

'Yeah, Mother, it is good, but what is this on top of the ham?' asked Melanie, gazing at the glop on top of her ham.

'It's honey, silly,' chided Joshua. '''See? It's all drippy, and stretchy, and gooey!'

'Yeah, it is, isn't it?' she said, taking a large mouthful. Immediately she spit it back out.

'Eeew! What is this stuff?' she sputtered.

The boys were in hysteria; they were laughing so hard. 'It's it's'' they could not answer.

'Well, come on, out with it!' Mama told them. She took the ham off Melanie's plate and split it open. Inside, the brothers had hollowed out it out, and there was a large amount of mud.

Papa saw what was inside and started to shout. 'JOSHUA AND JACK, YOU TWO ARE IN BIG, BIG TROUBLE!'

Joshua and Jack hunkered down in their seats and looked timidly up their father. Meanwhile, Mama tasted the glaze on the mud pie. (Or, should I say, ham.)

'This is melted lard!' she exclaimed. 'You boys didn't use the melted lard I was trying not to use, I hope!'

Glad to turn away from the angry face of Father, the two boys turned to their mother. They nodded timidly, and then they apologized to Melanie for playing such a mean trick.

'That's all right, guys,' she said. 'I guess I was just surprised when I bit into it, and screamed!'

'Thanks for forgiving us, Melanie.' Joshua said.

'You're welcome,' she replied.

'Well, I suppose that if Melanie is not mad, I can let you guys off just this once,' remarked Father. 'But this is THE last time, do you here me?'

'Yes, sir,' they replied meekly.


Mama was wrong again. When the train got to Florence, they did not stop, but continued on slowly. Everyone thought that they were going to stop, but Mr. Catemade, the wagon train leader, gave no indication that they were going to stop or turn into the gates.

When they were past, Jack exclaimed, 'Mother, you said that we were going to stop! I wanted to stretch my legs!'

'Then get out and walk beside the wagon, if it's exercise you want,' snapped Mother.

As soon as she said this, Joshua piped up with, 'Mother! You said I could go look for money in the town! It's not fair that we didn't stop!'

'If you think that it isn''t fair, go talk to the head of the wagon train!' she answered, not looking at him.

Muttering, Joshua walked toward the front of the wagon train. Then, a thought hit him.

Why not run up front and guide the wagon train, since no one was there? Joshua set out for the lead wagon as fast as he could. When he got to about the third wagon behind the first, he peeked cautiously around the lead wagon, and, seeing nobody, he trotted over to the wagon master's horse.

He climbed onto the tethered horse that the wagon master owned, and stuck his feet into the stirrups. For a few minutes, everything went well. The horse behaved well, and the oxen in the wagon behind him followed the horse.

Joshua started to worry that the wagon master or his Papa would come around the corner just then, and spoil his fun. Joshua sat up straight in the saddle, and shifted his weight, trying to think about something good.

After all, I am doing them a favor. Nobody was here, and the oxen might have run away if I had not gotten on this horse. 'Yeah!' he said out loud.

Joshua straightened up suddenly, and smiled. Now he felt proud. But there was still the problem of people seeing him. Oh, well, I'll just say that they should be proud of me for taking over for them while they here.

Joshua shifted his weight again, and then stood up in the saddle to try to see what was over the next ridge of land. He gave a loud war whoop when he saw what was coming. Just ahead, coming towards them, was a horse and wagon. 'A peddler!' he shouted with joy.

The peddler was to far away to hear him, but the horse was not. The midnight black horse that Joshua was riding bolted and started to run. Somehow, Joshua managed to turn him back around and ride back to the front of the wagon train.

Joshua calmed the horse down somewhat, but after a couple of minutes, the horse stated getting skittery.

The horse got irritated of having someone incapable of riding on his back, and started to kick. The horse kicked up his hind feet and then reared. 'Whoa!' shouted Joshua, this time not able to keep the horse under control.

At that moment, Papa and the wagon master came around the side of the wagon. 'Oh, my goodness!' exclaimed the wagon master.

Seeing the horse kicking and bucking with Joshua on his back, Papa rolled up his sleeves and started toward the wagon master's horse and his son.

Just in time, Dave Catemade, the wagon master, caught his arm and said, 'Jeffery, don't go just yet. I'll handle this, and you can talk to Joshua later, all right?'

Papa sighed. 'All right,' he said, rolling down his sleeves back down.

'I know this horse, because I've had him a long time,' replied the wagon master.

Mr. Catemade walked slowly up to the horse, saying calmly, 'Whoa, there, Trusty, Whoa, there.'

Trusty turned toward the wagon master, who was his master, and reared again. Then, he kicked up his heels and ran.

'You know how he works, huh?' Papa shouted at Dave. 'Looks to me like he doesn't even like you!'

Papa started to run towards his wagon, but Dave stopped him by putting his hand on Father's arm. 'Where are you going, Jeffery?'

'I'm going to get one of my daughter's horses and I'm going to go after my son!' he snapped.

'Jeffery, calm down!' said the wagon master. He turned toward the horse, which was still running. He whistled loudly, and the horse stopped and perked up his ears. From the distance, Papa and Dave saw Joshua move around, and assumed that he was getting off.

Before he could, Dave whistled again. This time, Trusty streaked toward the wagon train. They could see Joshua almost fall off. As soon as the horse calmed down, Joshua was able to get off the back of the horse that had given him that very scary ride.

Papa looked at him sternly and Joshua knew that that meant, 'Get back to the wagon and we'll talk about this later.'

Dave started to pet Trusty on the neck, and the horse nuzzled his shoulder. He then looked at Papa as if expecting something.

'I'm really sorry about all this, Dave,' said Father, seeing his look.

'Well, so am I,' said Dave, the wagon master. 'Why don't you head back to your wagon?'

'No, not quite yet, I'd like to hang around for a while, and help with whatever I can,' replied Father, looking at Joshua.

Joshua knew that that look meant, and it meant, Get back to the wagon NOW, and stay there until I see you to talk with you. Tell your Mama what happened, and don't leave the wagon until I say you can. Now, Go!

Joshua trudged toward the wagon, and once he looked back. He saw that Papa was still staring at him, so he turned around and ran the rest of the way to his wagon.

When he arrived, he told Mama this. 'Papa said to tell you what happened. You see, I, um, well, I kind of like, um, well, got onto the wagon master's horse, and it kind of um, like, ran away?'

'Joshua! You didn't!' exclaimed a shocked Mother.

'I'm afraid to say that I did! I'm supposed to stay in the wagon until Papa comes home. He'll tell you the rest when he comes home,' Joshua said, looking at his feet.

Mama looked at him sternly for a moment, and then turned back to preparing supper. As she worked, she talked to Joshua. 'You should never, never, take anything that belong to someone else!'

'But I didn't take it!' said Joshua, who was protestant.

'Yes, you were! Maybe you didn't steal it, but you sure did take it and ride that horse!' Mama shouted back.

'No I did not!' he shouted back.

'Yes, you did!' she came back with.

'I DID NOT!' Joshua shouted as loud as he could.

Papa appeared at the front of the wagon just then and looked inside. 'What is going on in here?' he asked, covering his ears.

First Papa heard what Mama had to say, and he responded, 'Joshua, yes, you did ride that horse.'

'But I''

'There'll be no buts about it, young man. Tonight, tomorrow night, and each night for the rest of the week, you will go to bed one hour earlier, and you are grounded to this wagon for all of tomorrow,' Papa pronounced.

'But but''

'I said no buts about it, and I mean it!' Papa shouted at him.

'Yes, sir,' he muttered.

Joshua got out of his seat and jumped off of the wagon tongue. He started to run towards his friend Pete's wagon, but was pulled up short as Papa called out. 'Joshua!' he crooked his finger towards him, motioning for Joshua to come back

'What now?' he asked with a sassy ring to his voice as he walked back toward the wagon yet again.

'You also may not go out for the rest of the day,' Papa stated with finality in his tone of voice.

Joshua's mouth dropped open, but he climbed back up into the wagon bed and sat down in a slat-backed chair. He did not look at his parents, whom he knew were looking at him.

'Well, Susan, I'm going to head back up to the front of the wagons, and I guess I'll see you later!' he said.

Before he left, he told Joshua that he was to obey his mother's commands, and he was still not to leave the wagon. 'I will talk to you more about this later, but for now, I'm going to see if I can help with anything up front.'

'Okay, bye.' Joshua told him downheartedly.

Papa left the wagon and Joshua saw him run toward the wagon master, who was up ahead.

Because of the diseases that the Everboths had gotten, the wagon master had put them at the end of the train, and they were still there.

Just then, Mama called to Joshua. 'Come help me get dinner, please. I would like you to set out the plates and silverware. It's in the box under sewing kit.'

As Joshua set the table, he was feeling regret, and then he had a thought. I never told them what I was going too!

But then, they told me I was punished for doing wrong, and I believe it.


The next morning was the shout, 'Elkhorn River, straight ahead!'

A great cheer went up from the members of the train. This was a pretty famous landmark, and they were glad to reach it.

'Wow, we have traveled three-hundred and thirty one miles so far!' cried Katie, who was in the back of the wagon.

'Yeah!' Melanie also exclaimed. 'We have gone real far!'

The girls chattered on and on, telling what they would do first when they got to Oregon.

Joshua felt jealous, because his sisters were so happy.


The day that they reached the Elkhorn River was the day after the peddler joined the wagon train for a few days. The wagon master called the wagons into a circle, and then he had the peddler open his cart to show his wares.

'Yup, folks, all my stuff is made from genuine metal, no artificial stuff, all genuine!' the peddler said, looking out over the crowd of people.

This particular peddler had a dog, and the Everboths found out that its name was Grapple. They found out why he was named this when the peddler called Joshua forward''

'I need a volunteer!' he shouted loudly at the people gathered around his cart.

Many people raised their hands, but the peddler did not call on any of them. Instead, he saw the Everboths, standing quietly, and watching what he would do.

'You! The little boy in the blue shirt and black pants! Come here!' said the peddler, pointing to Joshua.

'Y-y-you mean me?' Joshua asked timidly.

'Yes, you,' said the peddler, motioning for him to come closer.

Mama gave Joshua a little shove, and he slowly walked forward. When he reached the side of the peddler's cart, he stopped and said 'What?'

'Good! Good!' said the peddler, guiding him toward the front of the cart.

He held the shoulders of Joshua and addressed him in front of the crowd. 'This here is a boy, and he is going to find out why I named my dog Grapple.'

Joshua shivered, but he did what the peddler told him to.

The peddler said, 'Now, you may call me George McParleyson, and what I want you to do is stand right here.'

George had Joshua stand a distance away from the cart with his back to Grapple. Then he positioned Grapple directly behind Joshua, and the he told Grapple go, and before Joshua knew it, he was on the ground with Grapple on top of him.

'He did that to me when I first got him, and he does it to me every once in a while. So, I trained him to do it so that it would not hurt people, and I use it for a show,' the peddler told him.

'Well, that certainly is some show,' Joshua said to him.

'Thank you,' said the peddler.

'Can he do anything else?' shouted someone in the crowd.

'Yes, he can,' George answered.

He motioned for Grapple to get off of Joshua, and when Joshua stood up, he was pretty shaken. 'Is there a reason that he does that?' he asked.

'Well, I'm not exactly sure, but I think that he does it to people he likes. I got him at a farm where people were selling puppies, and I could not for the life of me decide which one I wanted. Right then and there, one of the puppies woke up, and stretched. All of a sudden, as I turned around and started to leave, I felt something hit my back. I was so surprised, I fell down!' George the peddler laughed.

Joshua laughed, too, and the peddler continued his story. 'Anyway, the owners started to laugh, and so did I. I decided that this was the perfect puppy for me, because it seemed that he liked me. And, I took him home, and he has been traveling with me ever since.'

'Wow!' exclaimed Joshua. 'What an experience!'

'You got that right!' declared the peddler.

The peddler reached into his wagon and pulled out a hoop, two balls, and a hat. He set the hat on Grapple's head, and then held the hoop up to waist level. He gave Grapple a signal, and the dog sailed through the hoop.

Someone started to cheer, and the rest of the crowd joined him. When the whole crowd was cheering, Grapple flung his head forward so his hat came off of his head, and then he snatched it back up with his teeth and flipped it up through the air onto his head.

This caused a great deal more cheering and clapping. The peddler, George, bowed, and then he explained that his dog had been bowing, too.

Someone else then shouted, 'Can he do anything else?'

Another asked, 'What are the balls for?'

'Well, I'll show you!' said the peddler.

He picked up the two balls, and rolled one toward the outside of the wagon circle. Grapple ran after it, and as soon as he got there, George, the peddler, threw the ball up into the air and let it drop to the ground. Grapple ran back to his master, dropped the ball that had been rolled at his feet, picked up the other one, and ran back to the place where he had gotten the other ball.

George threw the ball up into the air and again let it fall to the ground. Once again, Grapple brought the other one back, dropped it, and then took the other one back.

This time, George whistled to his dog, and Grapple brought the ball back, dropped it, and stared up at his master to wait for his next command to fill out.

George patted Grapple's head, and the dog lay down on his master's feet.

People began to clap yet again, and then the rest joined him. The peddler and his dog bowed again, and then George put away the hoop, the two balls, and took the hat off Grapple's head, and put that away, too.

The people kept on cheering until he put his hands up for silence, and motioned for them to be quiet.


After the crowd had dispersed, the peddler took his wagon to the back of the wagon train and climbed up onto the high seat. 'Gee-up!' he told his mules.

The train was starting, and they were pulling out of the circle that had formed.

The wagon master called for them to start, and the wagons started to roll. The people that were at the back of the train watched through the back to see what the peddler would do.

Instead of doing anything worth watching, he just smiled and drove his mules at the same pace.

At the end of the day, when the wagon master called a halt, the peddler walked back out into the circle again, and he said, 'Now, you may see what is in my cart, and I will sell you things,' the peddler told the crowd.

The Everboth family was one of the first to be called on to buy things, and they went forward. Papa told all of the children that they would each be allowed to pick out one thing that they wanted.

'Yay!' they shouted, jumping up and down while they were still outside of the cart.

When they got inside the cart, all the things took the children's breaths away. It was very shiny inside, as a peddler's cart should be. There were pots, pans, skillets, cake pans, shoes, aprons, cookie cutters, tin horns, pens, pencils, scissors, and many, many, other wonderful things that a peddler would carry.

Joshua picked out a tin horn, Jack picked out a tin horn also, Melanie got a diamond shaped cookie cutter, and Katie got an apron.

After the kids had picked out what they wanted, Mama and Papa made them wait outside while they made their purchases. While the children waited, inside their parents were buying pots, pans, a skillet, two cake pans, six pairs of shoes, one more apron, six more cookie cutters, and six pens and pencils.

When they hopped out of the back of the peddler's wagon, Mama and Papa handed each child a pen, a pencil, and a new pair of shoes. They were very happy, and thanked Mama and Papa profusely.


The next morning, which was April 17th, when the wagons once again pulled out of a circle. About an hour after they had started, Mama started to sing, because she was in a good mood that morning.

''Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,

Where the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Home, home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope play;

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs* so free,

The breezes so balmy and light,

That I would not exchange my home on the range

For all of the cities so bright.

The red man was pressed from this part of the West,

He's likely no more to return

To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever

Their flickering campfires burn.

How often at night when the heavens are bright

With the light of the glittering stars,

Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed

If their glory exceeds that of ours.

Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land of ours,

The curlew I love to hear scream,

And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks

That graze on the mountaintops green.

Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand

Flows leisurely down the stream;

Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along

Like a maid in a heavenly dream.

Then I would not exchange my home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope play;

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Home, home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope play;

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.'

Melanie was listening to the song, and she asked what the name of it was. Mama answered. 'It is called the A Home on the Range.'

'Why is it called that?' she asked.

'Because it is all about a home on the range,' replied Mother.

'I see,' she answered.

'Who wrote it?' asked Katie.

'Uh, let's see. I know it, but it just doesn't come to mind at the moment,' she said. 'Oh, wait a minute! John Lomax wrote it!'

'Oh,' she replied.

'Will you write it down for us?' asked Melanie.

'Sure!' said Mother.

'Here, take the reins, but be careful!' Mama told them.

'Okay!' the girls readily agreed.

Mama handed the reins to Katie and said, 'You may drive the wagon, but have Melanie help you. Be very careful.'

The girls' mouths dropped open, because they had never been allowed to drive the wagon before.

'Well, go ahead! Take the reins!' said Mother, holding the reins out to them.

Katie eagerly took the reins, and then she scrambled over the boxes and things to sit down on the seat.

'This is fun!' she exclaimed.

'Yeah!' Melanie agreed.

'Good. I'm glad you're having fun.' Mama told them.

'Thanks, Mother, for letting us drive them,' Katie said happily.

'You're welcome, Katie,' replied Mother.

She looked into the box where they normally kept the writing paper, but when she reached for it, the box was not there! She looked around for it and she finally located it underneath the rocking chair. She pulled out the package of writing paper and took a piece out.

She wrote the song down, planning and taking pains to make it just right. When she was finished, she handed it to Melanie. 'Here, girls,' she said, addressing both Katie and Melanie.

Katie turned around and reached for it, but Melanie let go of the reins and snatched the piece of paper from Mother. 'Melanie!' Mama said in a shocked voice. 'You give that to Katie right this instant!'

'Yes, ma'am,' Melanie muttered.

She handed the slip of paper to Katie and said, 'Here.'

'Thank you, said Katie, taking the paper.

'I'm sorry for snatching it from you,' Melanie apologized.

'That's okay, I forgive you,' Katie replied, looking up.

'Are you going to read it, or not?' asked Mother.

'Yes, just let me see it first, okay?'

'All right, but hurry.'

'Let's see. Will you please hum the tune for me so I can sing it?' she asked.

Mama hummed the whole tune, and then Melanie suggested, 'Why don't you hum the tune while Katie and I sing it?'

'That's a good idea,' Katie agreed, looking at Mama for approval.

Mama laughed and said, 'All right, all right. We'll do it.'

Mama started to hum, and the girls started to sing. This is how they sounded:


Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.'

Papa had come in just then, and started to sing along with them.

They all started to laugh near the end of the song, and when they finished, they laughed even harder.

The family started to laugh. 'Didn't we sound funny, all singing together?' asked Katie, laughing so hard that she was bent over double.

'Yes, we did,' Papa laughed along with them.

The rest joined in the laughter, and by the time they stopped, they were all out of breath.

Joshua came in just then, and Jack came in right after him. 'What are you laughing about?' asked Jack.

When Katie could finally stop laughing, she told him. 'We were laughing because we were all singing together, and we sounded funny.'

'I see,' replied Jack.

'You were not here, so you did not know how we sounded!' exclaimed Melanie when she saw that Jack did not look too impressed.


Joshua came into the wagon, and was greeted by Melanie and Katie. Katie hopped out of the wagon after saying hello, and then only Melanie was left with Joshua. 'Hi, Joshua! What are you doing?'

'Oh, nothing much,' he replied. 'Where is Katie going?'

'She's going to play with Amelia.' Melanie answered. 'Well, okay, what were you doing?' she asked again.

'I was playing with Pete, and then he had to go home, so I came back too.' Joshua answered.

'I see,' replied Melanie, going back to stirring the soup. 'Do you wish something exciting would happen?' she asked him.

'Yes, I do. Nothing ever happens that's fun around here,' he said with a disgusted look twisting up his face.

'You can say that again!' Melanie agreed heartily.

'That again!' Joshua laughed.

Melanie glared at him. 'Ha ha. Very funny, Joshua.'

Joshua then looked out the back of the wagon, and saw a horse appear over the hill.

He strained his eyes to be able to see well. All of a sudden, he saw another horse appear. Then another, then another.

As the large amount of dust came closer, he thought that it was the remuda. Joshua scrambled over the sacks of food and his sister Melanie. He got to the bag of sugar and reached his hand way down inside. They had used a lot, so he had to reach pretty far down.

'Look, Melanie! It's the remuda!'* he shouted at his sister.

'What's a remuda?' she asked, looking at him.

'A remuda is; well, I guess it's a bunch of animals. Mostly horses though,' he told her.

'But a bunch of animals is called a group, and a group of geese is called a gaggle, and a bunch of cows is called a herd, and'' she was interrupted by Joshua's voice.

'A remuda is a bunch of animals driven at the back of a wagon train, and they are mostly horses.' Joshua was losing his patience.

'Oh,' she said sullenly.

'I'm sorry for being mean, Melanie,' Joshua said. He felt bad for being mean.

'That's okay,' she accepted his apology.

'Will you look at it?' he asked, turning toward the back to see them again.

'Oh, all right, but just for a minute,' she said.

Now, both of these children had neglected to see that they had stopped driving the wagon, and they also neglected to see that the other wagons were getting farther and farther ahead of them.

Also, no one else had noticed that they had been falling behind, and they had no idea of the disaster that was about to happen behind their backs to Joshua, Melanie, and all the rest of them.


Meanwhile, Mama was at the wagon owned by Mrs. Arber, and Katie was at the same wagon, only talking with a different person.

Father, well, he was guiding the train, like usual, and he had no idea that his children were alone and far behind the rest of the wagons.

'So, Susan, how is Jeffery and the rest of your kids?' asked the lady.

'Oh, they're fine, I guess,' replied Mother, staring out the back of the wagon.

'Good!' exclaimed Mrs. Arber.

'You know, for some reason, I feel like something is about to happen,' Mama said uneasily.

'Yes, I know how you feel,' noted Mrs. Arber, feeling the tension in the air.

'Kind of like something bad,' Mama told her feelings.

'Yes,' the older woman answered thoughtfully, also looking out the back of the wagon.


Melanie scrambled up over the boxes and the furniture to the back of the wagon. By this time, the remuda had gotten close enough for Joshua to see that it was not a remuda, but a large group of painted riders on horses!

'Oh, no!' shouted Melanie.

Joshua repeated her words, and turned around. 'Hey! Where did all the wagons go?'

'I don't know!'

'You should! Why weren't you driving?' yelled Joshua.

''Cause Mama and Papa told you to!' she yelled back.

'Well, let's get going!' shouted Joshua, hopping onto the seat.

Melanie followed him, and when she was seated, Joshua slapped the lines on the backs of the oxen and they started to run. The two children were bounced up and down as the wagon was jolted over ruts and bumps.

'Joshua, what are we going to do?' screamed Melanie.

Joshua did not answer, but sat there tight lipped, still driving the oxen. He turned around quickly, though, when a thunk was heard embedding itself into the wagon seat.

'Joshua!' screamed Melanie.

Joshua handed the reins to Melanie, turned around, and got Father's gun out of the box where it was so preciously stored.

'Joshua, what are you doing? You have your own gun!' exclaimed Melanie.

'I know, but there comes a time when a person does not have time to wait and get their own things!' Joshua said grimly, eyeing down the sights of the barrel.

He pulled the trigger, and the kickback hit him hard on the shoulder. Melanie screamed yet again. 'Joshua! Are you all right?'

'Yes, I guess so,' he said, sporting his shoulder carefully.

Melanie picked up the gun and handed it to him. Joshua aimed again, and this time he downed an Indian. As the Indian fell off of his horse, the other Indians' horses ran over him. The warrior's horse stopped and turned toward him, but when he did not respond, the horse went back to running.

The other wagons of the wagon train were in sight now, and the oxen were running as fast as they could. It was plain that they were tiring, though, because their tongues were hanging out of their mouths, and they were drooling.

Still, they bravely struggled on, running slower and slower, until they could not run any longer. They stopped in a dead halt in the middle of the trail.

Melanie slapped the reins on their backs, but they would not budge. Indians surrounded them in just a few moments, and a lot of the Indians went on ahead, but a number of them stayed behind to inspect the wagon that they had caught.

'Melanie, get inside the wagon, quick!' Joshua told his frightened sister.

Melanie scrambled back into the wagon and drew the back cover up tight. When a couple of Indians that had been behind the wagon saw it close suddenly, they strung their bows and fired arrow after arrow at it.

They did not know that Melanie had pulled it shut, and they had never seen anything like it before.

Two Indians watching Joshua said something in their strange tongue, and they dismounted their horses. As they started toward him, Joshua all of a sudden leaped up, dodged backward, fell over the wagon seat, and tried to disappear inside the wagon canvas.

As he tried to get out of sight, the Indians went into action. The two in front strung their bows and shot quickly at the disappearing boy.

One of the arrows shot past him and hit one of the wagon ribs, splitting the canvas. The other hit Joshua on the shoulder, and unfortunately, it was the same shoulder that the gun had kicked back on and hit'


'How much longer until we get to the next stop?' asked Papa curiously.

'Oh, quite a while, maybe six hours,' replied the wagon master, scratching his head.

Papa came back with, 'Rats!'

'Don't worry, Jeffery'' the wagon master was cut off by loud yells and war whoops.

'What in the world?' shouted Papa over the noise.

'I don't know, but I think we are being attacked!' shouted the wagon master.

'I'll say!' yelled Father.

'Let's get a move on!'

'What should we do?'

'Let's see if the other people are okay!'

The two men set out running for the other wagons, just as they saw an Indian brave appear. Catemade raised his gun, but six more appeared around the same corner, followed by two more. 'Uh, oh!' said the wagon master.

'Now what?' asked Father, raising his gun.

'Do you think we should shoot' em, Catemade?' asked another man who had just run up.

'No, that would make them all the more angry.' Catemade replied grimly.

'We need to try to tell them that we do not mean any harm,' Papa said thoughtfully.

'Right. But how?' asked the wagon master replied.

'Hmmm,' Papa pondered this.


Joshua howled with pain and collapsed onto the floor of the wagon, and Melanie frantically pulled him inside and closed up the front.

Melanie pulled Joshua onto a pile of blankets and gingerly pulled the arrow out. She then bandaged up the wound, and after she had finished, she pulled another blanket over him and told him to get some rest.

He smiled up at her and closed his eyes.

Melanie ventured a glance out the back of the wagon, and the braves were gone! She scrambled over the things in the wagon and reached the front. She opened the canvas a crack, and saw the Indians riding off over the crest of the hill.

What she did not know, however, was that the Indians were leaving them, just to go to the rest of the train to reek havoc. *

In what seemed like hours, she saw someone appear over the hill, only this time coming toward them, not going away. She was about to duck back inside the wagon, when she heard a shout.

'Joshua! Melanie!'

'Are you there?'

'Here we are!' she screamed as loud as she could.

Melanie pushed the wagon cover back and squeezed out. She then stood up on the wagon seat and waved her arm vigorously.

The two horses got closer to the lone wagon, and Melanie saw that it was her father, the wagon master, and a team of five other men!

Melanie told them as soon as they got close enough to hear her, 'Father, Joshua is hurt!'

Papa climbed up onto the wagon seat and embraced his daughter. He then sat down and took up the reins in his hands.

'Father, I'm so glad to see you!' exclaimed Melanie.

When she saw the tense look o his face she asked what the matter was. He did not need to say anything. As soon as the wagon went over the hill separating the wagon train from the lone wagon, Melanie gasped.

Below the steep hill was a jumble of mess. Shoes, clothes, people, and many other things were strewn all over the place on the ground below them.

When the wagon reached the bottom of the hill, Mama came rushing toward them, leaving the person she was nursing behind.

She was very glad to see the men and, most of all, the children.

After the day was over, and the big fuss over Joshua and Melanie was finished, everyone went to bed. Before they went to bed, however, Joshua made everyone sure that Melanie had done a fine job on his bandage, and it was the best job anyone could have ever done.

Chapter 5


The next day was April 18th, and when Mama and Papa got out of the wagon to stretch their legs, Papa went one way and Mama went another.

Papa went toward the front of the wagons, and Mama went toward the middle, because they were at the end. When Mama neared the back of the wagon train, she met another woman doing the same thing.

Instead of just walking by, Mama smiled and greeted the woman.

'Hello, my name is Susan Everboth. What is your name?' she asked. She walked toward the woman and held out her hand. She then realized that women do not shake hands, and quickly withdrew it.

The somewhat older woman also smiled and replied, 'My name is Ann Preber. I have one child. Her name is Amelia, and she is ten years old. I don't suppose that you have any children that are her age?'

'Actually, I do. I have two boys and two girls. Both of my girls are around her age, too,' exclaimed Mother. 'I'm sure that they would be very happy to meet your daughter.'

'Really! What are their names?' asked Mrs. Preber. 'Do you think that you could find them so that we can meet them?'

'Their names are Katie and Melanie and here they come now! Katie! Melanie!' said Mama in answer to Mrs. Preber's question. 'I won't even need to find them!'

Mrs. Preber laughed, and Mama joined her.

Then they waited for the girls to reach them before they spoke.

Katie and Melanie came running to their Mama as fast as they could. 'What is it that you want, Mother?' they asked.

'Well, girls, I would like you to meet Mrs. Preber. Mrs. Preber, these are my girls, Katie and Melanie,' Mama introduced the three to each other.

'Hi!' said Melanie.

'Hi!' repeated Katie, curtseying.

Mrs. Preber then said to Mother, 'I will get Amelia now, all right?'

'Amelia? Who is Amelia?' asked Melanie in surprise.

'You'll find out,' said Mother.

Melanie and Katie both put puzzled looks on their faces, and wore them until Mrs. Preber called her daughter.

Mrs. Preber then called to her daughter. 'Amelia!'

When the little girl shyly poked her head out from behind the wagon cover, her Mama said, 'Amelia, please come down. I would like you to meet Katie and Melanie Everboth. They are the ones that live in the wagon in front.'

The shy look went off the little girl's face, and she hopped out of the wagon and onto the ground. As she hopped off the wagon tongue onto the ground, she said, 'Hi! Would you like some candy?' she held out a large bag of it to them.

'Well! That is very nice of you, Amelia!' said Mother.

'Yes, please,' said Melanie in answer to her question.

'I am glad you remembered to say please,' Mama told her, patting her shoulder.

Amelia passed out small chunks of candy that looked and felt like rock.

'What kind of candy is this, anyway?' questioned Katie as she bit a piece off of it.

'It's called rock candy,' the girl told them when they inquired about it. 'We found it at Florence. My dad met a man that he knew a long time ago and he gave me this candy.'

'Don't forget, now, Amelia, Dad had to give him something for it, remember?' Mrs. Preber said, looking at her daughter.

'Oh, yes,' she replied thoughtfully, as if looking into the past.

'I see, that is very interesting,' said Mother.

'Yeah, neat,' Melanie also said; her mouth full of candy.

'Melanie! Don't talk with your mouth full of food!' exclaimed Mother.

'It isn't full of food, it's full of candy!' Melanie replied with her mouth still full of candy.

Mama threw her hands into the air. 'I give up!' she said in mock despair.

All the others in the group laughed.

Mrs. Preber climbed into the wagon to get something, the girls knew not what.

While the others were waiting outside, Amelia ran into the wagon to put away the candy.

Just then, another woman showed up and introduced herself as Mrs. Haver. She introduced herself, and then Mama said, 'Mrs. Haver, would you like to come over for dinner?'

'Why yes indeed! We would be delighted! But let me warn you, we have a lot of family members, so there must be a lot of food!' exclaimed Mrs. Haver.

After they had eaten the tasty candy, Mama said that she and the girls must have to be going. 'I need to make an extra special dinner because the wagon master is eating with us. You and your family may come, too, if you would like. We have already invited the Havers. Would you like to come?'

Mrs. Preber answered, 'Would we! Why, it sure isn't often that we get an invitation like that! Of course we'll come!'

The girls looked at each other and smiled. Already, they were good friends.

Then Katie asked, 'Mother, can Amelia come and help us make dinner? She told us that her Mama taught her to be a real good cook.'

'Well, I suppose so, if she really is that good,' said Mother.

'Yippee!' shouted Melanie, jumping up and down many times.

The others were happy too, and the girls raced toward the wagon together.


After Melanie, Amelia, and Katie had left, someone tapped Mama on the shoulder and she whirled around. 'Sorry if I scared you, ma'am, but it is your wagon's turn to cross the river,' he laughed.

'Oh!' exclaimed Mother. 'I had no idea that the wagons were crossing.'

She followed the man back to where the wagons had been crossing, and the man said, 'Ma'am, you would have gone first, but we couldn't find you, so I said let the others go first. Is that all right with you?'

'What? Oh, oh! Yes of course!' she said.

'Children!' she called, meaning Katie, Melanie, and Amelia. 'Get into the wagon!'

Amelia walked back toward her own wagon, when Mama called to her. 'Amelia! Come ride in our wagon!'

So, Amelia walked back over to the wagon and climbed in. All the girls put their arms around one another and huddled down between the sacks of flour.

Mama climbed up on the wagon seat and slapped the lines on the backs of the oxen. 'Giddy up!' she said.

The wagon started into the icy cold water. When they were about a quarter of the way across, the wagon's seams started to leak, and one of the flour sacks suddenly burst open. The girls did not know how or why it did, but it did, and all they knew was that they were covered with flour.

'Ick!' said Amelia in disgust.

The other two girls agreed readily.

'My braids are stuck together!' complained Melanie.

As they went, Mother's lips were white from holding them together so hard. When the oxen's feet touched ground, she opened her lips and let out a sigh of relief, not realizing that she had been holding her breath the whole way across.

'Well, I'm thankful that we made it across that river safely. There's no telling how many supplies we will lose or how many rivers that we will have to cross,' she said tightly.

Papa and the boys were waiting for them when they landed. They had come across in another wagon, containing a lone man whom had offered to take them across.

They had accepted, and he took them across. Papa wanted to give him some meat for pay for taking them across, but he refused. 'My pleasure,' he replied, turning away.

'Well, thank you, and if you need anything, food or supplies, just come and ask us.' Papa shouted over his shoulder as he ran back to his wagon.

He told Mama of the good deed that the man had done for them, and she wanted to find out which wagon he was traveling in and she wanted to make him a pie, a loaf of bread, or a cake. But Papa told her that the man had refused any kind of payment and did not want anything for what he had done.

'I did tell him, though, that if he needed food or supplies, that we would always be here to ask,' he said.

'Well, that was nice of you!' replied Mother.

Now Papa talked to Joshua about the wagon master and his horse. 'Now, you know that you were not to do that while no one was around. If the wagon master had been there and you had asked him, that would have been all right.'

'I'm sorry,' said Joshua. 'I will never do it again. Honest!'

'Well, I want you to go and apologize to the wagon master right now,' Papa told Joshua firmly.

'Here, take this freshly baked pie with you, Joshua. It might help him to forgive you more if you give him something to show that you are really and truly sorry,' put in Mother, handing him a pie that was wrapped up in tin foil.

'All right,' Joshua answered them. He took the pie and hopped out of the wagon. He started to run toward the middle of the train, and in the process ran right into someone walking toward his family's wagon.

'OOOOOOFFFFF!' the someone said as they, whoever it was, sat down hard from the impact.

Joshua tried to hold onto the pie, but he lost his balance and, trying to maintain it, the pie fell out of his grasp and onto the person on the ground.

'Joshua!' suddenly, out of the dark, Joshua heard the wagon master's voice. 'What is this and what are you doing?'

Joshua helped the wagon master to his feet as his Mama and Papa came rushing out of the wagon. 'Oh, my goodness!' exclaimed Mother, trying to help him up to his feet also.

After they had cleaned him up and given him a new pie, Joshua apologized and the wagon master went back to his wagon to get some sleep.

After he had gone, Mama brought up a good point. 'Why was he coming over here in the dark, anyway?'

'I have no idea!' puzzled Father.

'Neither have I!' said Joshua as he snuggled down underneath his bedclothes.

'Maybe it will have to remain a mystery forever!' said Mother, pulling a nightgown down over her head.

'Maybe it will!' Papa agreed.

'Or,' said Mother, 'Joshua can go over to his wagon tomorrow and find out why!' she suggested slyly.

'ME?' asked Joshua loudly.

Melanie stirred in her sleep, and then rolled over. She yawned loudly, which woke Katie up, and when she sat up, it pulled the blanket off of Jack, who had been rolled up tightly in it, and he also woke up.

'Good job, Joshua! You woke everyone up with your big mouth!' Papa scolded him.

'Sorry!' Joshua said.

'Young man, you had better mean it!' Papa warned him.

'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' he said, rolling over. Mama blew the lamp out, and they all snuggled down under their covers. 'IEEE!' screamed Melanie. 'Your feet are freezing, Joshua!'

'All right, that is the last straw!' Papa told them. 'All of you are going to sleep under the wagon for the rest of the night!'

'But Father''

'No buts about it!' Papa said sternly.

'Jack and Katie, you may stay in the wagon, because you are not the problem.' Mama told the two.

As it ended up, Joshua and Katie slept under the wagon that night, and Mother, Father, Katie, and Jack all slept in the wagon.

Chapter 6


The next morning, the family got up as usual, and Melanie and Joshua were as cheerful as ever. It was a Sunday morning, and Papa was going to preach for the train.

He planned that his sermon would be about unfairness, and parents who knew what was best for their children. The wagons waited that morning, because Papa was going to preach. The congregation that gathered in the circle that morning was surprisingly large.

By the end of the sermon that day, everyone was ready to head out. Papa ended his words with, 'And so you see, it is best for all the parents out there to do what is right, because what you do makes an impression on your children.'

'As for you children, the Bible says, 'Children, obey your parents for this is right.''

The audience clapped, and church was dismissed.


On April 20th, the wagon train ran into some strangers. Here's how it happened. On the afternoon of April 20th, Jack asked, 'What is the next stop?'

Papa answered, 'Pawnee Village.'

'Is that an Indian place, Father?' asked Katie.

'Yes, it is,' he replied.

At that moment Mama called them to lunch. After they had eaten and the children had taken their naps, the wagon master stopped the wagon train and announced that they were going to stop and get a very good night's rest.


The people of the wagon train were sitting around the campfire when trouble came. A man in his thirties went up to one of the men and asked if he could join the singing. To be courteous, and afraid of what might happen if he didn't, the wagon master allowed him to do just this.

Sensing trouble, Mama ordered the children inside the wagon and told them to stay there while she got things for making dinner. Then, the man started picking on one of the other men.

The wagon master told him to stop and then they got into a big fight. Inside the wagon, the children heard shouting, and then a gunshot. Peeking out, Joshua saw his Papa lying on the ground.

Rushing out, he saw that his Papa had been shot in the arm. Joshua looked up in time to see the man running away with a shotgun in his hand. 'Hey, stop!' shouted Joshua.

The wagon train leader came running up to Joshua and said, 'Come on, help me get him to the wagon. It looks pretty bad,' he said grimly, his lips tight.

'''But, he can''t die! He''s the trail guide and my father! He means too much to me!' wailed Joshua.

'I know, I know,' said the wagon train leader, trying to comfort the boy. 'We will do all we can to keep him alive.'

But, Joshua did not want to be comforted or see his Papa whom he thought was dead but really wasn't, so, when he was sure that his Papa was in good hands, he ran off into the crowd of wagons.

Why, oh, why didn't I stay in the wagon like my Mama had said? he wondered, kicking at the dust.


Joshua's Mama stayed up all night nursing his father. Mrs. Preber was helping her. Early the next morning, Joshua looked at his Papa and was surprised to see him sitting up drinking broth from a tin cup. 'Say, were did we get that new tin cup, anyhow?' he asked, still staring at his father.

Katie answered, 'Amelia, our new friend, brought it over for him when she heard about what had happened, and, Joshua, don't stare, it is rude to do so.'

Joshua looked at his Mama and said, 'Mother, I disobeyed you last night and I went outside when you told us not to.'

'Did you now,' said Mother, looking at him. 'Well, it's a good thing you did or your Papa might not have been able to be here with us this morning or finish the journey with us.'

'Well, that might be true,' said Joshua, looking down at his shoes. 'But, I still disobeyed you and I do not think that I should be looked at as some big hero, and all that kind of stuff,' he said shamefacedly, although, inside, he felt that he was a hero.

He felt Mama looking at him proudly, even though that he sort of did not feel that he should be getting any praise at all. He walked away, feeling downcast.

The next day, though, he was running around and playing with Pete and Jack as though nothing had ever happened. His Papa was now up and going again. The next stop that the guidebook showed was Pawnee Village. When they reached it, they stopped to see if the Indians wanted to trade.

Most of them did not, but one tall Indian introduced himself as Tall Rain Cloud. He and Papa talked and argued for a while, and when Papa came back he announced, 'Look what I got, everyone! Fresh fish!' and he was holding up a fresh bunch of fish.

'What did you give him for them, Jeffery?' asked Mother.

'I gave him 2 pounds of cheese!' replied Father.

'Well, I suppose that that is not too bad, after all, we do have quite a bit of cheese,' said Mother.

Later that day, they reached Loup River and Joshua volunteered to drive the oxen across. Papa gladly accepted the offer with, 'I will drive them across on the next river.'

'Okey - dokey,' answered Joshua.

Soon, they crossed the 800-foot river. 'How many more stops 'till we get there?' asked Katie.

'About 100,' replied Mother, before Papa could answer.

'Phooey!' was the answer.


They had to wait for another family that had tipped while crossing the river. After what seemed a very long time, the wagon train reached Mormon Island, a beautiful island in the middle of an unpolluted lake.

Everyone 'Ohhhed and Ahhhed' at the sight of the island. It was so beautiful and it raised the moral of so many people that the wagon train leader decided to rest there for at least two days.

They got water and berries from a huge batch of blueberries. A long time after they left, there was a lot of blueberries left in the empty flour barrel, which they had filled with blueberries. They also filled a sack with them, although under Mother's protest.

Later that day, when the wagon went over a bump, Katie fell and squished nearly every berry. Mama scolded for all she was worth, but soon calmed down when Jack came in and saw what a mess Katie was, and laughed hard.

Every once in a while, Joshua and Pete would sneak around to the back of the wagon where the berry barrel was and each of them would reach in and grab a handful of berries.

Later, they would go back and hear, 'Now, why is our supply of berries going down so fast?' coming from Joshua's puzzled Mother.

They would then try to stifle their laughter as much as possible, but they still would end up giggling quite hard.

Now and then, the train had to slow down because of all the dust that was blowing around. To make matters worse, the wagon train hit a whirling dust storm and got into the oxen's eyes and the food and almost anything that you can think of the sand and dust got into.

They had to be patient and wait it out, even though no one wanted to be in that awful storm. 'Mother, how long is this going to last? I am sick and tired of it and I hate it!' complained Melanie.

'I do not know the answer to that question but I do know that when this blows over, everyone in this family is going to walk. All of us except for Mother, because she is pregnant, and it will be so hard for the oxen, and they have to pull the wagon,' Papa answered for her.

Soon afterward, every single wagon in the train was up, out, and going again. It was hard work for the oxen, though. Traveling slowly, the wagons reached Deep Ravines and hunted there.

Papa shot a doe, a gopher, three buffalo, a duck, and a bear. The bear charged him, but he shot it just in time, when it had almost reached him. When he came home, he told his family about his narrow escape episode with the bear and they listened wide - eyed.

He ended with, 'But, here I am, without a scratch on me and we are safe and sound.'

Papa shot three buffalo.

'Thank goodness!' said Mother. 'Was anyone with you in that area that you were hunting in?'

'My gracious, yes!' exclaimed Father. 'Not for a million dollars would I go out there alone!'

The children shivered as he said it. Sooner or later, Joshua said he was going to go hunting and shoot all the meat that anyone could eat. Also, he said that he would own a wonderful place when he grew up and Papa said for him not to be so sure. 'After all, there are not that many places left in Oregon to claim and by the time we get out there, there may be no more left!' he stated.

'We will take some of the meat to other families that are not so fortunate as us,' Mama said.

Papa readily agreed.

Late in the afternoon of that day, up came a terrible thunderstorm. Suddenly, out of the rain and into the open ran Mrs. Preber and Amelia. Mama called them over and after drying them off, found out that their wagon had been struck by lightning and that they had nowhere to go, so Mama asked Papa what they should do and he said, 'Let them stay and live with us awhile.'

'Yippee!' yelled Katie and Melanie.

'S-h- h -h -h -h -h! This is no time to rejoice!' said Mama sternly.

The girls quieted down quickly and helped the Prebers get organized and warm. 'You know that you do not have to do this, Susan, ' said Mrs. Preber.

'We know,' was all that Mama said.

Just then, Jack started coughing. No one suspected anything until the next day, when he started throwing up. Their Papa looked it up in the guidebook and announced that it was nothing serious, but that it was just a cold. The very next day they reached Sandy Bluffs.

Jack's cold got worse because of the blowing sand and dust.

In a couple of more months, said Mother, it would be July fourth, and the day that independence came. By the time that they reached Cedar Bluffs, there was one day less until Independence Day.

'I can't wait!' Jack told Melanie.

'Me either!' she replied.

'Me too!' put in Joshua.

'Me three!' piped up Katie.

This started up a lively game of, 'Me four!'

'Me five!'

'Me six!'

'Me seven!'

'Me eight!'

'Me nine!'

'Me ten!'

'Me eleven!'

This went on until they had reached their own ages, and then for Melanie it was 'Me eleven!'

For Joshua it was 'Me twelve!'

Amelia was 'Me ten!'

Jack was 'Me nine!'

This went on, and Katie told her age, and so did all the rest. Mama put a stop to it by saying, 'All of the guests in this wagon are allowed to have dinner and spend the night with the Everboth family.'

The wagon exploded with sound. 'Yippee!'


'Hip, hip, hooray!'

'Really, Mother?' asked Katie.

'Would I lie to you?' Mama replied, with a twinkle in her eye.

'No, but you and Papa both tease us a lot,' suggested Katie, with a twinkle in her eye also.

'Well, this time, we are not teasing. This is for real!' Mama told the excited children.

Papa climbed up into the wagon and announced that he was hungry and ready for dinner. The other children agreed, and they started all at once asking what they were having to eat for dinner.

Mama held up her hands for silence, and once the wagon was quiet enough, she replied. 'Since tonight is special, we are going to have, eggs, butter, biscuits, maple sugar, milk, and fruit. Does that sound good enough for us?'

'Yes!' they all shouted. It was as if they had all been told to say the same thing at the same time.

'Good. Now, if you girls will get washed up, you may help me prepare it,' Mama shooed the three girls toward the back of the wagon where a deep dish pan lay on top of a box. In this pan was some water, for which was used to wash hands.

Just as soon as the girls had finished washing their hands, Mama shooed the boys, who were hovering around, out of the wagon. She then motioned for the girls to come to where she was, and when they reached her side, she reached underneath the chair and underneath a blanket, and pulled out a delicious apple pie!

The pie had many strips lad across the top, and boy, oh boy, did it look good! The girls' mouths watered just looking at it.

'Do you think that they will like it?' asked Mother.

'Oh, yes!' they exclaimed.

'Good!' she put the pie on the table. They could, of course, not use a full sized one. Instead, they had taken a miniature one.

This was okay by them, of course, because, most of the time, Mama and Papa ate inside the wagon and the children ate outside on the ground. Most of the time they sat on a blanket, though.

This time, however, Mama started to clear things away from the center of the wagon so that they could all sit inside the wagon. Katie stopped her before she did too much. 'Mother, I think that probably all of us kids will want to sit outside, or walk while we eat.'

'Yeah, that's right!' exclaimed Melanie.

'We can have a picnic!'

'We can go into the woods!'

'It'll be fun!'

'Yeah! We can go where ever we want!'

Mama interrupted them saying, 'No to all of those except for the one about the picnic. You may not go outside the wagon's circle, though.'

'Aw, Mother!' pouted Melanie.

Mama ignored her and turned back to getting lunch ready. She gave the girls many different chores to do, so they would not get bored. Amelia, as they worked, once grumbled good-naturedly to Melanie, 'I never have to do this much work around our wagon!'

'Well, maybe you just have it really well off!' she replied, moving the table to the back of the wagon. The girls had been clearing a spaces that they could move the table to the back of the wagon, and they would have more room to put things the next time that they got to a store to buy supplies.

'Maybe!' Amelia replied, grunting as she lifted a box and put it on top of another one.

After a number of minutes more, the girls were through and told Mama this. When she turned around, she was amazed at how neat and clean it looked, and said this.

'Are you sure that you did not just stick all the loose stuff in boxes?' she asked jokingly.

'We're sure!' they chorused.

Just then, Papa and the boys came in, and they had a nice surprise! They had a good lunch, and afterwards, Mama pulled out the pie.

'Yummy!' Joshua exclaimed.

'This is going to be good!'

'Where did you get the apples, Susan?' asked Father, who was just as much surprised as the rest of the boys.

'I got them at one of the stores that we stopped at!' Mama answered, smiling happily.

Pete was already far into his pie, and Daniel's mouth was full, too. Everyone loved that pie, and, when everyone was finished, there was no pie left.

Joshua sat back carefully, because his shoulder was still wounded. 'Who wants to play a game?' he asked.

'Me!' everyone yelled.

'Well, go ahead, but please play it outside!' suggested Mother.

'But, Mother, we are going to have a checkers tournament!' exclaimed Joshua.

'A checkers tournament?' asked Mother.

'Yes. What we are going to do is have two people play a game of checkers, and then whoever wins plays someone else.'

'Then whoever wins plays someone else, and so on,' cut in Jack.

'All right,' consented Mother, clearing the table for them to play on.

Chapter 7

Water Hemlock Poisoning!

Katie began to build a fire, and Melanie started to peel the potatoes. They both looked up at the same time, and saw three horses coming toward them.

Mama and Papa stood up to greet their visitors. As the trio grew closer, the family could see that the horses' occupants contained a small girl, a woman, and a man.

The people dismounted, and the man introduced themselves. 'I am Isaac Petardag, this is my wife Luanne, and this is my daughter, Emily.'

Papa introduced his family, and then invited them to stay for supper. They gladly accepted the offer, and Emily asked to help the girls with supper.

'Sure!' replied Katie happily.

She led the Emily over to the fire, and the girls started to work together.

Katie peeled potatoes, Melanie chopped up carrots, and Emily took the skins off of the onions. Before long, the stew was boiling in the kettle. 'So much for a salad,' remarked Katie.

Melanie agreed. After about another half of an hour, the stew was ready, and the girls spread out a blanket. Katie got the plates, Melanie got the tin utensils, and Emily sat the stew pot in the center of the blanket where there was something so the blanket would not get burned.

They then called the grownups to eat, and they came. 'Where are Joshua and Jack?' asked Mother.

'I don't know,' replied Katie.

'The last time I saw them, they were in that old cabin behind the garden! They probably are still there, and they probably found something that caught their attention, and they forgot all about supper!' Melanie piped up.

'That's right!' exclaimed Katie.

'Should we go find them?' asked Emily timidly.

'Yes, I think so,' replied Mother.

The girls set out for the edge of the woods, because that was where the cabin and the garden had been. The girls had gotten bits and pieces of things outside the garden, too, but not much. All they found were some parsnips and some red potatoes.

When they reached the cabin, they pushed it open. When their eyes had gotten adjusted to the darkness, they looked around the big cabin. They wandered from room, looking for Joshua and Jack.

When they finally located them, the girls discovered that there was a family living in the house! From the looks of them, the family was Spanish.

Melanie introduced the girls to the family, who were all staring at them, as if they were intruders.

One of the little boys then spoke up. 'I'm Pablo!'

This gave the others courage to speak up. Another boy said, 'I'm Pedro!'

'I'm Jose!' exclaimed another boy.

'! Hola! I am Luisa!' said another girl timidly.

'Who is that?' asked Joshua, pointing to Emily.

'My name is Emily!' said the girl.

'You're not living here!' Joshua continued.


The Spanish family kept on introducing themselves. 'My name is Antonio!' said the oldest boy.

'My name is Maria!'

'I am Marcus!'

'I'm Alfredo!'

The Mama introduced herself as Ana, and her husband told his name as Francisco. 'Our last name is Escribano,' he said.

'Glad to know you,' Melanie said. Won't you come back to our wagon and have supper with us?'

'Si, I mean, yes, of course!' Ana replied.

'Good!' Katie led the family out of the house and back through the woods.

'We have just moved into this casa, or, house, and we have not gotten settled yet,' Francisco told them.

The group was at a clearing now, and after two more minutes, they reached the wagon. Mama was surprised to see them, but invited them to supper. They refused, however.

They stayed long enough to be introduced and get to know everybody, and then they turned to go. Mama had put the kettle back on the fire, and now she ladled some soup into a bowl, covered it with a cloth, and handed it to the Spanish woman.

'Gracias,' she said, smiling at Mother.

'Adios!' cried all the children as they walked away.

After the family had gone, Mama told Katie that the soup was not quite ready yet, and the children could play for a while.

The kids gladly welcomed this, and they ran off to play. Jack, however, stayed behind. He was hungry, so he got a spoon and dipped it into the stew. Umm, parsnips! he thought.

He ate the spoonful of soup, and then dipped it back in for another bite. After one more bite, he put the spoon down and ran off to play with the other children.

Emily noticed the stew, too, and she also took a bite.


When the family sat down for supper, Jack insisted that he didn't feel good. Mama and Papa put him to bed, and right after they sat down to eat, Ana came rushing up to them, panting hard.

'My sons, my sons, and daughter,' she panted out.

''What's wrong?'''' asked Mama anxiously.

'The stew, we ate it on our way back to the cabin, and now, now, Francisco really sick. Luisa is too, and Pablo, and Pedro, and Alfredo, and Marcus and Maria all got something! I did not eat any, though. They were all really hungry!'

Papa leaped out of his seat, forgetting all about his supper. He ran down the path in the woods to the Escribano place, and when he reached it, the door was standing open.

He took a look inside, and seven people were on the floor, with the other children gathered around him.

He took in the interior of the room, and rushed inside. He noticed that all six of the children and Francisco were foaming at the mouth. They were also writhing in pain. They could not talk, and their teeth were gritted.

Papa lifted them one by one onto the beds that were covered with sheets, and Jose helped him.

Papa had a suspicion for what they had, but he needed to make sure. Papa ran back to his wagon and asked Mama where the stew was. She replied that she put it into a container and put it in the wagon. Papa lightly hopped into the wagon bed, and was astonished to see Jack and Emily writhing and foaming at the mouth, also.

Papa quickly got out the container and started to taste the contents. The potatoes were all right, and so were the carrots. He put a sliver of lettuce of his tongue, and then a piece of stewed tomato. 'One thing left,' said Papa to himself.

He placed a sliver of white vegetable on his tongue, and immediately spit it out. 'Water hemlock!' he said fearfully.

Mama heard, and was shocked. She ran to the fire, doused it, and grabbed a number of charcoal embers from the inside.

Papa did the same. He told Mama to stay and help Jack and Emily. Papa rushed back into the woods, followed by Ana. She helped him with the treatment.

They would force open the person's mouth, force the charcoal in, and then wash it down with water. The charcoal was used to absorb the poison in the stomach.

After about a half of an hour, Papa and Ana were through. After washing her hands, Ana buried her face in her arms and broke out crying.

Papa left her after awhile, knowing that he must tend to his own family. When he reached his wagon, he saw Emily lying on the ground. She was motionless, and the rest of the group was standing around her.

Papa sensed that something was wrong, so he ran the rest of the way. 'What happened?' he asked.

Luanne Petardag looked up at him, and sobbed loudly. When she stopped, she whispered to him. She's dead.

Never was a more shocked man than Papa at that moment.

The two families rolled Emily up in two blankets and but her into a ditch that they had dug. Papa and Isaac Petardag covered her up. They had made the grave in the middle of the trail.

The reason they had done this was because if they didn't, the Indians would get her clothes, and the animals would most probably eat her body.

Emily's Mama kept crying even after Emily was buried.

When they headed back to the wagon, Ana again came rushing up to them. 'Francisco made it okay, but five of the little ones are dead!' she wailed.

'Which one made it?' asked Father, grabbing the woman's shoulders.

'Pablo,' she sobbed.

Papa turned to his family, turned away, and rushed down the path yet again.

Ana started to go after him, but Mama grabbed her arm and held her back.

She knew that if Ana saw them again, she would get even more upset.

Isaac Petardag went after Father, and together they buried the children behind the house in the clearing. The next morning, they held a funeral for the five children.

Ana went back into the house after the ceremony, her arm around the rest of her children.

The Everboths headed back to their wagon, and went sat thinking for the rest of the day. Occasionally, Mama or Katie would get up and check on Jack.

It had been a tedious and sad last two days for everybody and the children had seen their first dead person. Katie remarked that Emily had looked so peaceful. 'She is saved, right?' she asked Emily's mother.

'Yes,' Mrs. Petardag replied, staring off into space.


The next morning, Isaac and his wife climbed up onto their horses to go. Before they left, however, Isaac hopped back off of his horse and led Emily's horse over to the children's father.

'Here. We don't need this horse any more,' he said, handing the reins to Father.

He turned away and mounted his horse. He wheeled his horse around and trotted away, followed by his wife Luanne.

Papa stood there for a moment, stupefied. Then he led the horse to the back of the wagon and tied her with the other three horses and the milk cow.

Then he told everyone to get back in the wagon, and after watching the Petardags disappear into the horizon, climbed in himself.

Jack started to ask questions as soon as the family climbed back into the wagon.

'Who died?'

'How many died?'

'What did they die from?'

'Am I going to die?'

'Who just left?'

'Did Pablo die?'

'Did Francisco die?'

'Am I going to recover?'

Papa answered all the questions, and then climbed onto the wagon seat and clucked to the oxen for them to start.


The family traveled slowly because of the heat.

They traveled for a while and Melanie saw some wild fruit up ahead. She rushed ahead and started to pick it. Katie joined her, and soon they had a good supply of fresh fruit.

This fruit included sumac, pears, and plums. Also, some cactus was included.

Everyone was glad for the fresh fruit. It made them travel a little bit faster, and the girls even gave some to the oxen. Their ears pricked up when they ate the fruit and they went forward with fresh new courage.

'Look, Father! I think the oxen like the fruit that we gave them!' exclaimed Katie.

Jack was still in bed, because of his water hemlock poisoning. Fortunately, the hemlock that he had eaten had been mixed with a bunch of other vegetables.

He had not gotten poisoned as much as if he had eaten the hemlock by itself. The family was very happy with this, and praised God.

Papa announced over supper that evening, 'I need to get some more meat! We are so low that I don't even have enough to fill my bullet pouch! I will go and get some tomorrow.'

The next morning, before anyone got up, he went hunting. He mounted the horse that Isaac Petardag had given him.

He rode out into the woods, and dismounted. The horse he was riding was very patient, but he tied the bridle to a bush, just for safety.

Papa walked a ways away from the horse, and crouched down. He was near a water hole, and all he needed to do now was wait.

And wait he did. For one hour and thirteen minutes he waited finally, when he was about to give up and go back to his wagon, he saw a movement in the bushes.

He tensed.

Out of the bushes came a hopping little rabbit! Papa almost laughed out loud. He smothered his laugh with his hand, though.

It was a good thing, because right after the rabbit came a large doe! Following her was a little fawn.

Papa watched the doe go to the water hole and drink, and when he saw the water dribble out of it's mouth, he knew that it was finished.

The way he knew this, was that he knew when a wild animal, mostly deer though, would drink and then let water dribble out of their mouths. This, they believed, would wash their mouths out.

Papa waited longer, and soon shot a deer.

He came back with one deer and one rabbit. Mama made stew for dinner that night.

The whole family complemented her on how good it was, and how well it was made.

Katie then brought up a good topic for the dinner table. 'I wonder what we should call the horse that Emily's Papa gave us?'

'Good point, Katie!' said Father.

Many suggested names were given, such as, 'Emily?'





'Why don't we just call her Emily, after the little girl?' asked Mother.

'That might be a good idea, but if we ever see the Petardags again, it wold be best not to mention her name,' Papa brought up a good point, too.

'We could just not state her name,' suggested Melanie.

'Still,' said Father.

All of the children protested, and Papa finally consented.

'Yippee!' they shouted.

'Why is that yippee?' asked Mother.

'I don't know. Maybe because we loved Emily, and we want something to remember her by,' replied Katie.

'I see,' said Mother.

'Do you think it is a good idea?' asked Jack.

'Yes, I do,' Mama told him, ruffling his hair.


That afternoon, the train reached Ayers Natural Bridge. 'Let's go swimming!' suggested Joshua.

'Yeah!' shouted Melanie.

'Good idea!' said Jack.

'Shouldn't we ask Mama and Father?' asked Katie, always the practical one.

'Yeah, yeah, we will, we will,' said Joshua, rolling his eyes.

Under his breath, he said to himself, 'Sometime or another.'

Unfortunately for him, Katie heard him. 'I'm asking!' she said.

Katie walked back toward the wagon where the rest of her family was sitting and asked her Papa if they could go swimming. 'Ahhhh, I guess,' he said, not looking up.

'Thanks, Father!' she shouted, running back over the big stretch of rock. Ayers Natural Bridge was not really a bridge, but a large rock that looked like a bridge.

She told the other children his answer, and told them that she had gotten all of them their bathing suits. All of the children went behind bushes or rocks, and got dressed.

Then they all ran shouted into the water. What a time they had! They would have had an even better time if it had not been for what happened when they got out.

'Whew! I'm getting tired!' exclaimed Jack, crawling out of the water and flopping down onto the grass.

Melanie joined him, and so did all the other children. After they had lain there for a while, Melanie asked, 'Should we go back in?'

This was her answer. 'Yeah!'

She jumped up, only to be knocked over by her brothers and sister, plus a lot of their friends.

They all jumped into the water, and after about another forty-five minutes to an hour, they got back out. 'I'm finished,' Harry declared.

'Me too!' exclaimed Mike and Ike together.

They looked at each other and started to laugh; because they had both said the same thing at the same time.

All of the children except for the Everboth children went up farther onto the shore and got on their clothes.

After a while, Melanie got out of the big, pool like water basin. The other children announced that they had had enough, too. They got out of the water and walked back to the rock where they had put their clothes. 'Hey! Where'd our clothes go?' asked Joshua.

'I don't know,' said Melanie.

Everyone looked at Melanie, for she was the one that was the prankster. 'Are you sure you don't know where they are?' asked Joshua.

'Yes, I'm sure,' she replied.

When she saw the way they were looking at her, she got the feeling that they didn't believe her.

'Hey, I didn't!' she said, backing away from their looks.

'Sure you didn't,' said Joshua. 'We know your pranks!'

'But I didn't!' she protested.

Melanie was about to run back to her family to get away from their stares when a thought hit her. 'Hey, wait a minute! I just had a thought!' she exclaimed.

They stopped. 'What?' asked Joshua.

'Well, you know that day we had the baseball game?'


'And how Nellie go hit?'


'I was thinking, that, maybe to get back, she took our clothes!'

'Yeah! Maybe she did! She was awful mad!'

'Anyway, that's what I was thinking. 'Cause I didn't take those clothes. Hey! I don't even know where mine are!' Melanie told them.

'We believe you, Melanie,' Joshua told his sister. 'Now, what can we do to see if Nellie did take our clothes?'

'Hmmm,' thought Melanie and Katie.

'I know!' piped up Jack. 'We can''


'We can't do your idea until tomorrow afternoon, Jack!' exclaimed Katie when she heard the plan.

'I know, but we can get ready for it!' Jack replied.

Later that afternoon, Katie and Melanie got out their diaries. They planned to write down the day's activities, and then go back out to play. They had been keeping track of the days since the day they started on the Oregon Trail.

This is what Melanie wrote:

May 10th

Today we went swimming. We think that Nellie Parker stole our clothes. I don't see why she is so mean. We found a way to get back at her.

Today we reached Ayers Natural Bridge. We have not had to do school work since we left Nauvoo. I hope we don't have to do it until we reach Oregon, if even then!

This is what Katie wrote:

May 10th

Today, when we reached Ayers Natural Bridge, all of us kids went swimming. Nellie may have taken our clothes, but we have no proof. I wish that she wasn't so mean.

She needs God's love in her heart. I don't think she is a Christian, because her family does not have a Bible, and she says that Christianity is stupid.

After both girls were finished writing in their diaries, they found several things in the wagon that were theirs. Things that they gathered were such as followed: a dishtowel, a bonnet, and an old book called, 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'.

The two girls walked forward to the front of the wagon with these things. They were going to trade for things for their mother's birthday, which was tomorrow.

They put their things down for a minute, and sat down to rest. When they looked up, they saw that the wagons were approaching a large pile of things. 'Another 'Help yourself' pile!' shouted Katie, jumping up.

She ran toward the pile and started to root through the things. She held up one thing after another. 'Let's see,' she said, looking at the things.

Katie held up a long, dark blue dress decorated with pink flowers. 'Do you think that Mama would like this?' she asked Melanie.

'Yes, that is beautiful!' exclaimed Melanie.

'Good.' Katie put the dress in the pile of other things they had collected.

Melanie pulled out a breadbasket and put it in the pile of things. So far they had, a couple of pencils, a dress, and a breadbasket.

While they were still looking, they did not see someone come up behind them. All of a sudden, Katie heard a snobbish voice behind her.

'Well, well, well. What are you doing?'

Katie whirled around to find Nellie Parker standing behind them. A nasty retort formed in her mind, but she did not say it. Instead, she replied nicely. 'We are getting things for my mother's birthday, and that is what we have so far,' she said, pointing to the stack of things.

Melanie added a sewing kit to it. Katie reached down and picked it up. She opened it, and inside there were six long, thin needles, five long, sort of thick ones, and four short thin ones. In addition to that, there was a glossy pincushion shaped like a cat, twenty small spools of thread, and a number of other things, including scissors.

She put it back in the pile and turned back to looking for other things. When she turned back around to add a brand new bonnet to the pile, she found Nellie looking at the contents of the sewing box.

'Nellie, please put that down,' Katie told her softly.

Nellie looked up with a start. 'Why should I?'

'Because it is ours.'

Nellie took one last look at the interior of the sewing kit, and then shut it and handed it to Katie. 'That's too nice of a box to mess up,' she said.

'Thank you, Nellie,' Katie replied.

When Nellie turned to go, Katie stopped her. 'Nellie, are you a Christian?'

Nellie whirled around. 'What?'

'I said, are you a Christian?' Katie repeated.

'A Christian? No way! I don't like that stuff!' Nellie shouted.

'Why not?' asked Katie, not meaning to pry.

'I just don't,' Nellie turned on her heel and walked away.

Katie stared after her and shook her head. 'I think she really needs Jesus, and the sooner she accepts him, the better.'

She turned back to looking for things for her mother.


Inside the wagon, Papa was talking to Mother. 'I am going hunting,' he told her.

'All right,' she replied.

Papa took his gun down from the top of the wagon where it was stored. He then reached for his sack of gunpowder. When his fingers did not touch it, he looked for it.

'Susan, have you seen my gunpowder sack?' he asked his wife.

'No, I haven't. Where was it last?' she asked, joining the search.

'It was right where I always put it, up on the wagon rib were my gun was!' he exclaimed.

The two did not speak for a minute, because they were too fervently looking for the gunpowder.

All of a sudden, Papa sat up straight. 'What if one of the kids got it?' he asked.

His fears were diminished when Mama came up from beneath the small table. There were a lot of things under it, and evidently it had fallen off and blown underneath a box.

Papa took it and climbed out of the wagon holding his gun and his powder sack.

'Good luck!' shouted Mother, who was waving from the back of the wagon.

Papa waved, and then headed for the open area he had seen in the woods. When he reached it, he nestled himself in a tree to watch for animals.

He had quite a time getting up, though. First, he set his gun against a tree, strung his powder over a branch, and then climbed up.

Then, when he reached the area he wanted, he found out that he could not reach his gun from the position he was in.

Then, after he scrambled back down, his powder fell onto the ground from his position in the tree. He grabbed it and went back up.

Then, he found out that he had again left his gun at the bottom of the tree.

He tied his sack of powder to a branch, climbed down, grabbed his gun, and climbed back up. 'Whew! It's about time I got settled!' Papa breathed.

He waited for a couple of minutes, and then a deer stalked cautiously out of the brush. Papa raised his gun, and fired. The buck crumpled to the ground, shot right through the neck.

Papa sat for about five minutes more, and then he saw something moving. He waited, but the thing did not move any more.

He raised his gun and shot into the brush. He heard a yelp.

Papa waited for a moment, and then climbed down. He walked cautiously toward the place where he had shot. He carefully parted the bushes, and underneath his hands lay a Mama fox and six kits!

Papa breathed out a breath of relief. Then, he saw that it was the fox he had hit. He gently touched the wound. There was blood smeared on the wound, and the Mama fox was whimpering.

Papa thought that the fox was going to bite him when she turned her head, but instead she licked his hand, as if knowing that he was trying to help her.

Papa picked up the fox and then put the kits in his pocket, and walked back the way he came.

When he reached the place he was looking for, he slowly lowered the Mama fox to the ground. He parted some bushes, revealing a large hole.

This hole, he expected, had been a den for another fox. He carefully pulled the babies out of his pocket and put them on the ground next to their mother.

Papa took a large handkerchief out of his pocket. He tore it into shreds and lay the strips on the ground.

He unscrewed the cap on his canteen and dipped one of the strips into it. He then wrung some of the water out of it and then soaked another one.

He tied two strips together and wrapped them around the middle of the Mama fox's middle, which was where he had shot.

She whimpered a little as he did it, but did not resist his hands.

When he was finished with the bandage, Papa slid the fox into the dark, damp interior of the little cave.

He slid the little foxes in after her, because they had not yet opened their eyes, and they just stumbled around, mewing like little kittens.

He stood up, screwed the cap back on his canteen, and started to run. Who knows what might have either taken my gun, or what kind of animals went by? He asked himself as he ran.

When he reached the tree he had left, however, his things were still there. 'Good thing,' he said aloud, though to himself.

His words startled away a rabbit in the brush.

Papa climbed back into the tree. He sat there and waited.

He waited, and waited, and waited. All of a sudden, a shot was fired from the woods. There, one of the men of the wagon train mistook Papa for a bear and accidentally shot him.

That was where the shot had come from.

When he saw Papa fall from the tree, the young man was horrified. 'What have I done?' he asked.

The young man rushed over to where the children's Papa lay and took a look at him. When he saw that Papa was bleeding very badly, he quivered with fright.

Then, coming back to his senses, he tore off his shirt and ripped it into shreds. He tied them together, and made a bandage for Father.

He wrapped the bandage loosely around Father's leg, where he had been hit, and held it there.

He was terrified, and wondered if he should stay there and help Father, or run for help.

He decided on running back for help. As he stood up and started to run, he stooped just as quickly as he had started. Something in the underbrush where the man he was running for help lay caught his eye.

A canteen!

The young man ran over, picked up the canteen, and poured water onto the wound of Father's wound. Water ran into the wound, and blood was washed away somewhat.

The young man stood up again, this time not stopping when he started to run.

When he arrived in the wagon train camp, he blurted out his story.

About ten men ran back into the woods with him, and they soon reached the sight of the shooting.

Three men knelt around him and dressed the wound properly with bandages they had brought along. Then, two men made a makeshift stretcher to carry him back on.

This is how they did it.

First, they took off their sweaters, and then got two long, sturdy branches.

Then, they stripped the branches off of the long branches. After this was done, they tied the arms of their sweaters onto the poles.

This would make it so he would not fall out. Four men lifted him onto it, and four more picked it up.

Papa moaned, but did not revive.

The men walked all the way back to the circle of trains, switching off carrying Father.

When they reached the circle, Mama ran toward them. 'Jeffery!' she screamed, when she saw him on the stretcher.

Papa opened his eyes for a minute, smiled, and then lost consciousness again.

Mama walked next to the men as they carried Papa over to the Everboth wagon.

When they reached it, 'Father! Mother! What happened?' asked nosy Melanie.

'Shhhh!' Mama shushed her. 'Your Papa has been hurt.'

Melanie scrambled back into the wagon, and after the men had put him in, a young man walked up to the wagon.

'Is there anything I can do to help?' he asked.

'No, not right now,' Mama replied.

The young man explained what had happened, and apologized.

He felt very bad about it. After all, that was the second time that Papa had been shot on the trip. Mama and the girls cleaned and dressed the wound quickly and carefully so that Papa did not even felt it.

Nevertheless, he still felt pain and could not walk, for he had been shot in the leg and had lost a lot of blood.

While Mama was fixing dinner, she saw someone coming toward the wagon.

She stood up and waited for him to come closer. When he got close enough for her to see him fairly well, she saw that he was holding something.

He walked up to her and stopped. He then handed Mama a whole deer; shot clean through the neck.

'Here, this is for you, ma'am,' he said.

'Thank you, sir, but we do not want charity,' she told him.

'Oh, but ma'am! This isn't charity''

'Well, then, what is it?' she asked.

Mama was in a pretty rotten mood at the time, and was in no mood to accept charity, as she thought it was.

'Ma'am, this here's the deer that your husband shot!' the young man said.

Mama looked startled for a minute. 'I didn't know he shot a deer,' she finally said.

'Neither did I, but I figured it was him, 'cause we were the only two in the woods at the time, and I sure didn't hit him!' the young man looked at Mother.

'So will you take him?' he asked.

Mama thought for a moment. Finally, she held out her hands. 'All right, I'll take him,' she said, smiling for the first time.

The young man too the deer around to the back of the wagon and tied him onto the back. Later, Papa would skin it, hang the meat up on the wagon ribs, and let it dry.

Then, he would take it down and tie it up with old flour sacks.

However, all of this would have to wait until he was better.

Right now, Mama and the girls had their hands full. Besides, Mama was pregnant.

Papa was worried about this, and had been taking extra care of her. He had insisted that she lay down whenever the baby kicked, or she hurt.

Mama had followed his instructions, but now she could not rest a moment.

Now, she could not do that, because she had her hands full with Father, and also cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids.


Papa shot the buck clean through the neck.

The whole wagon train felt sorry for Papa and every person on the train gave him something special. The Prebers gave him another tin cup, the Peterdases gave him a cup of milk, and many other people gave him other stuff.

The wagon train decided to rest so that Papa could rest, and also because everyone else needed a rest, too.

One week later, his wounds had taken a turn for the worse and Mama and Mrs. Preber were doing everything that they could to save him.

They treated him with an antiseptic. After he had taken it, Papa fell fast asleep. Mama and Mrs. Preber took turns watching him, lest he wake up.

Later that awful day, billows of thick dust from the other wagons consumed them and started them all to coughing and sputtering. They had to slow down and drop behind even more.

When they finally reached the North Platte River Crossing again, Papa was not very much better. They took the ferry across, so that might the wagon tip, Papa would not be thrown out. It took them all the rest of the day to reach Mormon Ferry Trading Post.

Mama told the children that they did not need anything, and that they would be stopping soon.

No one needed anything else, so they continued without stopping. They saw some strangers, but continued at distance, remembering what happened the last time that they camped near strangers.

This was also a good idea, because the strangers were unfriendly ones, because they were a mob of men going about killing animals, and sometimes rumors got around that they had accidentally shot a couple of people when their shots got wild.

They were the kind that you would not want to be around. News got around that a twenty year old man had gotten shot by that gang around three-o'-clock that afternoon. The doctor had been called on, and he would be all right.

'I'm glad it did not happen to Father, or he would probably die!' exclaimed Joshua.

'It's a good thing that they did not get anyone in our family,' remarked Melanie. 'We have had an awful lot of adventures lately, and we do not need any more.'

'That is quite right,' agreed Mama heartily.

She had just given Papa his medicine, and had also given him some broth. She was thankful that Father's wounds had not been any more serious than they were.

'Mother, would those bad guys shoot kids?' asked Jack.

'Yes, Jack, I think they would shoot anyone they wanted to,' said Mama gently.

'Then I'm not allowed to leave the wagon?' he said.

'That's exactly right!' replied Mother. 'You're not going outside until we are past where they are and they have gone away!'



'What's that in the distance?' asked Melanie.

'Indians!' shouted Katie.

Mama hurried to where her daughter was standing. 'Oh, my! You're right!' she exclaimed.

Mama grabbed her daughter and pulled her toward the wagon. Katie protested, saying that there was an Indian girl in the group, and that they were friendly Indians.

'All right, you may stay out here, but at the first sign of trouble, you come straight to the wagon!' Mama agreed.

'Yes, Mother,' shouted Katie, already on her way toward the Indian group.

Katie walked shyly up to the Indian girl and curtsied. 'How are you?' she asked. 'My name is Katie. What is your name?'

The girl stared at Katie for a moment before replying. 'My name is Red Feather.'

'Really? That is a nice name,' Katie complimented.

The Indian girl looked around, and headed toward some tall weeds. Katie followed her. The Indian girl started to pluck the weeds, and Katie joined her. 'Why are you picking weeds?' she asked curiously.

'''Baskets,'' Red Feather replied. 'I show you how to make'em.'

'Really? Are they hard?' asked Katie.

'No. They are very easy. Fun.' Red Feather's answer was short.

The girls plucked the weeds in silence, and Red Feather signaled that they finally had enough.

Katie led the way over to the shade of the wagons, and the girls propped their backs against the wagon wheel. Katie watched Red Feather's swift, precise movements, and tried her own skills out.

Surprisingly, she did quite well. Red Feather showed her how to turned the corners and bind them. She would take an extra long strip of weed, take two corners of the basket, draw them together, and slide the strip through the top.

Then she would bring it in and out, in and out, and finally she was finished. She looked over at Katie to see if she understood. She did, and had already gone a ways down the side. Soon, both girls were done the bottom part of their baskets. Now, Red Feather would show Katie how to make a handle.

Red Feather took three strips of weed out of the pile and swiftly braided them. She then put one end through the side of her basket, knotted it carefully, and then did the other side.

Katie did the same, but hers did not look quite right. Red Feather encouraged her to start another one, when Amelia walked up. 'Hi!'

Katie looked up. 'Oh, hi, Amelia. Red Feather was showing me how to make baskets! You want to learn?'

'Sure!' exclaimed Amelia, joining them against the wagon wheel.

Red Feather taught Amelia how to make baskets too, and hers turned out even worse than Katie's did!

Red Feather had already made three baskets so far, and she was working on a fourth. 'Golly, Red Feather! You sure made a lot so far!' declared Katie.

'How can you make them so fast?' asked Amelia.

'Practice. Lots. My Mama taught me to make them. She makes ten in five minutes.'

'Wow!' shouted Katie.

'That's amazing!' agreed Amelia.

Melanie walked up to the group and was surprised to see a new girl there. As she got closer, she saw that it was an Indian.

She asked what the girls were doing, and fond out that they were making baskets. She wanted to join them, and Red Feather taught yet another person how to make baskets.

She did not mind, though. 'You good friends,' she told the girls.

Red Feather stood up and walked away. Katie hopped up and ran after her. 'Red Feather! Where are you going?'''

Red Feather stopped. 'Sit. Be back.'

She motioned to Katie for her to sit down. Katie obliged, and sat back down. Melanie looked at Red Feather, who was taking something off of the back of her horse.

The Indian girl walked back toward them, but broke off as her Papa called her. She replied in her native tongue and continued walking.

When she reached the girls, she handed each of them a package.

'One for you, you, and you,' she said softly, handing each of them a paper wrapped package.

'Thank you!' exclaimed Melanie.

'Thanks!' said Amelia.

'Thank you very much, Red Feather,' Katie told the girl.

All of the girls opened their packages and pulled out the contents.

'A dress!' they all exclaimed.

They were Indian dresses, and with the dress were moccasins. The Indian girl asked them to put them on, and they did. Red Feather remarked that they looked just like Indians now.

'Thank you!' Katie said.

Red Feather helped them get the dresses adjusted to the right place, and then the girls ran off to show their mothers. Red Feather followed Katie and Melanie, though.

Amelia was her friend, but she liked Melanie and Katie better.

'Why, Melanie and Katie! You look beautiful!' exclaimed Mother.

'Thank you,' they replied for the third time.

Chapter 8

Babies are Born

Mama had been pregnant for some time now, but now she was really heavy. She was very big, and was starting to hurt. On the afternoon of April 35th, Mama called to Jack and asked him to get Father. 'Sure, but what do you need him for?' he asked.

'I hurt all over and I think that the babies might be coming soon.' Mama gasped.

Jack ran as fast as he could to the front of the train where his Papa was guiding the train. 'Father! Father!' he ran panting to the front of the train, shouting as he went.

'What's the matter, son?' asked Father, trying to calm his son.

'Mother Mama is having her babies soon,' panted Jack, still out of breath.

'Oh, my goodness!' exclaimed Father.

He turned to the wagon master and opened his mouth to tell him what had happened, and the wagon master, before Papa could say a word, he nodded.

As soon as Papa heard the news, he hopped out of the wagon he was driving for a widow, and ran to assist his wife.

Jack followed him, but was waved off.

Joshua and Melanie came around the corner and saw Papa running, and decided to join.

Jack saw them, though, and called to them. 'Joshua! Melanie!'

They turned and looked at him. 'What?' asked Joshua.

'Come here,' he said slyly.

Melanie and Joshua walked toward him, and asked him what he wanted.

'Father's having a baby!' said Jack gleefully.

'Father's having a baby?' asked Joshua in disbelief.

'Father?' asked Melanie, also puzzled by his words.

'Yeah!' exclaimed Jack.

'You mean Mother's having a baby!' said Melanie.

'Yeah! That's what I said! Isn't it great?' he said excitedly.

The other two did not feel like arguing further, so they replied that it was. 'Is it a boy or a girl?' asked Melanie with interest.

'I don't know,' Jack told her.

'Let's go find out!' shouted Joshua, running toward the wagon.

Katie came out of the space between two wagons and bumped right into Joshua, knocking them both down. Jack and Melanie ran into Joshua, and they all tumbled into a heap.

They picked themselves up, and brushed each other off. Then, they told Katie the news. She was just as much shocked as the others had been, and they all took off for the wagon.

Amelia, Pete, Daniel, Ike, and Mike joined them. It seemed like everyone wanted to see the new baby.

When the nine children reached the back of the train where the Everboth's wagon was posted. They started to scramble up, but Papa poked his head out of the wagon.

'What are you doing here?' Papa asked.

'We'' Jack started.

'You're not to be here! Your Mama is having a hard time!' he shooed them away.

The nine children walked sadly away from the wagon and sat down in the grass. The girls crumpled Indian style into the grass, while the boys stretched themselves out on the grass.

A loud wail from the wagon sent them jumping up from the grass. 'What was that?' asked Ike.

'That was my Mama screaming,' Joshua replied, laying back down.

In no more than two hours, the babies were out. When Mama heard that it was two twin boys, she said, 'Why don't we call them Nathan and Paul? I think that those are two very nice names.'

'Whatever you want to call them, that is fine, Susan.' he replied.

'I think that is what I will call them,' she said.

'Like I said, that's fine by me!' said Father.

'You're sure you don't want to call them something else?' asked Mother.

'I'm sure,' said Father.

So, the little boys were named Nathan and Paul. All the children had their turns to take care of them when their Mama had to do something else.

Instead of crying a lot, they would laugh and giggle. This made them easier to handle. They both grew to be happy, healthy children and how they grew! Mama was very happy with them and proud too.

They all had their arms full with babies for a while.

The next place that was marked in the guidebook was Emigrant Gap, a place full of bright green grass and flowers. Everyone on the train was happy to stop.

Most of the children, and even some of the adults, flopped down on the cushy grass to rest, for most of them had walked along the side of the wagons, because the oxen had to pull the heavy wagons.

Suddenly, all the people heard a shout come from the wagon master's wagon. 'He's escaped!'

Several men jumped up and ran toward the wagon. When they reached it, they asked, 'Who's escaped?'

'Bailey Gateras!'

A gasp was heard as this news sunk in. Mothers hurried into their wagons, calling their children to come, too.

The wagon master called for the wagons to be pulled into a circle. The men quickly sorted out their own animals from the ones grazing, and hitched them up to the wagons. There were horses, mules, and oxen all over the place, and what a noise they were making!

Melanie, Joshua, Jack, and Katie ran into the wagon. Melanie, however, on the way spotted some tall weeds. She decided to pick some for making baskets.

She ran over to the big bunch of unwelcome plants, and started to pick them. After she had gotten a large bundle of them, she turned around to head back to the wagon.

She was outside of the circle, and when she turned around, there she was, face to face with Bailey Gateras!

She screamed, and evidently, the men inside the circle heard her. Bailey clamped a hand over her mouth, but she bit his hand.

'YEEEEEOOOOWWWW!' he screamed, for her bite had been quite hard.

The men searching also heard this, and by this time they had located the source of the scream.

'Freeze!' shouted Father, pointing his gun at the man.

He froze. He put his hands in the air, dropped his gun, and slowly turned around. Melanie ran back inside the circle of wagons, and dropped her bundle of weeds at the bottom of the wagon wheel.

She told Mama the story, and Mama did not punish her. She thought that the girl had already been through enough.

Melanie lay down on a blanket. After a couple of minutes, when she turned around, Mama found Melanie fast asleep on the blanket.

She did not wake her, however.

After a while, the wagons continued on their way. They traveled slowly to Willow Springs.

The people of the train were glad to get to fresh water. Also, a group of children found a big patch of strawberries and everybody got some.

Melanie got a bunch of them, and took them back to Mother. 'Thank you, Melanie!' she said happily.

Meanwhile, Joshua, Jack, and Katie were picking through a pile of stuff by the side of the trail. 'Look, Joshua!' exclaimed Katie.

She held up a beautiful dress. The dress was made of calico, and by the appearances, it was brand new. The dress was doted with flowers, butterflies, and fruit.

Fruit as in strawberries, blueberries, and other such things. It was light blue, Katie's favorite color.

Katie bundled it into a ball and started to run back to the wagon. She knew that Mama and Papa had told her to show them anything they wanted.

She stopped when she heard a sharp voice. 'Hey! What are you doing with my dress?'

Immediately, Katie recognized the voice as Nellie Parker. She waited for the girl to come out of the wagon, and when she did, she noticed the horrible look on Nellie's face.

'Why do you have my dress?' she snapped, snatching the dress from Katie.

Katie felt like snatching the dress right back and punching Nellie in the nose. But then she remembered what she had read in the Bible about being mean.

Instead of snatching it back, she replied. 'I have it because I found it by the side of the trail in a pile of stuff that said 'Help yourself', and that is why I have it. It is not yours anymore, because you did not want it anymore. May I please have my dress back?'


'Then I must ask your mother,' Katie said calmly, although she was boiling inside.

'Fine! Take your stupid old dress!' shouted Nellie, shoving the dress into Katie's arms.

Katie thanked her and went to show Mama and Father. They said that she could have it, and Mama told her how proud she was that she had not lost her temper.

'You can say that again,' Papa agreed heartily.

'It is a beautiful dress,' Mama complemented.

Later that evening, the train stopped at Independence Rock to savor the beauty of it.

Even Nathan and Paul were quiet, because they were too taken in by the beauty.

Mama told the children to go look at it up close, but Melanie thought she was crazy.

'Walk all that way?' she asked. 'Are you out of your mind?'

'No, I am not. It is the last time you will ever see I again, so why not go get a souvenir chip and carve your name into it?' suggested Mother.

Papa went to the back of the wagon train with the children and picked out an ox for Joshua to ride. Before he got on, however, the wagon master joined them.

When he heard that the children were going to see the rock, and that they had only three horses, he offered to lend his horse to Joshua.

'All right!' Papa agreed.

'What do you say, Joshua?' Papa asked when he was silent for a moment.

'Thank you!' Joshua said.

'You're welcome,' replied the wagon master.

'Wait a minute!' said Father. 'Joshua, why don't you ride Rose?'

'Okay,' Joshua agreed, leading Trusty back to Mr. Catemade.

The children all mounted a horse, and joined the other children that were going to visit the rock.

They all knew that they were going to have fun, and set out as soon as possible.

As the horses trotted along, the children talked happily. They talked about what they were going to do at the rock.

Ike said that he was going to get a nice big chip. Mike, his twin brother, said that he was going to get a big, big, chip and get a piece for his mother, father, and the other members of his family, which were babies, even though they would not know what to do with them.

The children traveled for a while in silence, and after a little while longer, Harry broke the silence.

'How long is it before we get there?' he asked.

Many of the children replied, 'I don't know,' but Katie had looked in the guidebook before they left, and she replied that it was about an hour.

Some of the children groaned, but some did not.

When the horses reached Independence Rock, it was so tall they had to look straight up!

'Wow!' said Joshua under his breath.

The others agreed with him, and they all hurriedly dismounted. The children ran around on the rock for two hours, and when Joshua finally looked at the watch his Papa had loaned to him, he was shocked to see that two hours had gone by.

He called to his brothers and sisters to tell them that they needed to go.

At his words, everyone scrambled down from the rock.

On their way down, everybody grabbed a chip of rock.

Then, they all mounted and rode back to the wagon train.

They announced to their folks that they had fun, and their parents were glad.

They camped there for the night and started out at the sound of the bugle the next morning.

Nathan, Paul, Mama and the girls were still asleep when the wagons started rolling. 'Oh, let them sleep, they need their rest,' said Father. 'They work their hands off all day every day.'

Melanie, who was not exactly asleep, smiled when she heard this. Later that day, she told Katie.

Then, they both went to see if Amelia could spend the day with them, who, by this time, had gotten another wagon, to replace the one that had been struck by lightning.

She could, and the boys ran of to get their friends, Pete and Daniel, so they would not have to play with girls. 'Hey, where are you going, Daniel?' Amelia said, starting to run after them.

Melanie caught her arm just in time. 'Don't bother with them! They want to have fun with each other without us butting in, just like we do not want them to butt in when we are playing or doing something else, private or not private. It would not be fair for us or them to do that.'

'You're right,' said Amelia. 'We will let them go and play what they want while we play hopscotch.'

So, the girls played hopscotch while the boys played ball. They all had a good time until they had to say good-bye and go back to their wagons.

Everyone slept well that night and they got a good start the next morning.

Nathan cried because his teeth were starting to come in and they hurt. Just then, Joshua heard a dry rattle near where Mama sat rocking Nathan to sleep. 'Sit still, Mother, there is a snake behind you and Nathan!'

Slowly, carefully, Joshua backed out the doorway and once he was out he ran to the front of the train where his Papa was. 'Father, come quickly! There is a rattlesnake in the wagon!'

'Father! Come quickly! There is a snake in the wagon!'

Dropping the guidebook, Papa ran with his legs flying to the wagon. He went around to the back and chopped off the snake's head with his hunting knife. He then cut off the rattle and cleaned it.

'Why are you cleaning it, Father?' asked Melanie with interest.

'I want to give it to Nathan and Paul,' Papa replied.

'What for?' asked Jack, who just climbed into the wagon.

'Because they have not yet had any good toys to play with, and they need something good to do,' Papa told them.

Papa handed the rattle of the snake to Joshua. 'Here,' he said. 'Go wash this with cold water, and the tie a stick to it,' he ordered.

Joshua took the rattle and ran off, his brothers and sisters trailing behind him.

Joshua washed off the rattle, and the other children, eager to help, tried to help, too.

Katie looked for a good, straight stick, Jack tried to make the water warm by swishing it round and round between his hand, and Melanie got a piece of string to tie the stick on with.

The reason Joshua was washing the rattle was because there was a lot of blood and skin down inside the end, and he needed to wash it out.

If he didn't, the two little boys might be poisoned if they ate the blood and skin.

Melanie tied the stick to the rattle, and then they ran back to the wagon.

They gave the rattle to Nathan, because Paul was sleeping, and their Mama did not want to disturb him.

However, when Nathan took the rattle and started to shake it, Paul woke up and started to cry.

Mama rushed over and picked him up. She soothed his crying with her words, and started singing softly to him.

'This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine,

Every day,

Every day,

In every way.

I'm gonna let my little light shine.

Hide it under a bushel,


Won't let Satan whoosh it out,

I'm gonna let it shine,

I'm gonna let it shine''

Paul stopped crying and stuck his fist in his mouth. He smiled and giggled at Mother. Mama kissed his forehead and put him down.

Mama turned to Katie. 'Will you please start getting dinner?' she asked her youngest daughter.

'Sure, Mother,' Katie replied.

Katie walked over to where the box of dishes were kept and opened the lid. 'Oh, no!' she cried out.

Inside the box were many broken China dishes. Mama hurried over to where Katie stood and looked inside the box.

'Oh, my goodness!' exclaimed Mother. 'Do you know how it happened, Katie?'

'No, Mother, I do not,' replied Katie. 'Probably they got broken from all the jolting and bouncing from the wagon.'

Mama agreed. She suggested that Katie should look through the box and see if there was anything worth salvaging.

Katie got an empty flour sack to put the broken pieces of glass in. she worked on the contents of the box. When she had finished looking, she had gotten four whole plates, two halves that went together, seven teacups, ten spoons, ten forks, ten knives, and two bowls.

Mama also mysteriously saved the body of the snake.

That night, they found out why Mama had saved the snake. She made rattlesnake steak for supper!

After supper, Mama gave Katie an order.

Mama told Katie to do this. 'Now take that flour sack and the box way out into the woods and put it in a pile of stuff.'

Katie obeyed quickly, putting the sack into he box and closing it up. She hoisted the box onto her shoulder and hopped off of the wagon tongue.

Katie could not run with the box, but she could walk fast.

That morning, the trains had reached Devil's Gate.

Katie reached the woods in and amazingly short time, and quickly walked into them. It was getting dark, and Katie wanted to get back to the wagon train as quickly as possible.

Katie stood just inside the woods for a minute, letting her eyes get used to the darkness.

When her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, she hurried on. She tripped over a pile of something. She picked herself up and put the box on the pile of stuff.

Then, as she turned to leave, she saw something white. She reached down and picked it up. She held it up to the light, but she could not read it. It was getting too dark.

She stuck the piece of paper in her pocket and headed for the edge of the woods.

She stopped all of a sudden. What was that? She asked herself, slowly turning around.

She did not see anything, so she turned around and started walking again. All of a sudden, 'ROOOOOAAAARRR!!'

Katie turned around at the sound of the roar, and what she saw made her scream. A bear!


Papa stopped stock still in the middle of the trail. 'What's the matter, Jeffery?' asked the wagon master.

Papa held up his hand for silence. He whispered. 'I heard a scream!' he said.

'A scream?'


The two men halted their horses and listened hard. There it was again! Papa wheeled his horse about and headed quickly for the woods.

He was sure that that had been Katie's scream. He knew that something had to be wrong. Katie did not scream often, and this on one time that she did.

Papa headed for the woods, because that was where the scream had come from.

When he drew closer to it, he heard something behind him. The wagon master's horse drew up beside him.

'We'll both go,' he said.

When they reached the place where Katie was, Papa stopped and gasped.

Blood was streaming from her side, flowing quickly and freely!


'How is she?' asked Mother.

'She's going to be fine,' the doctor assured her. 'But, we can not promise anything!'

Mama gasped and told him that he wanted to see her.

The doctor prohibited this, seeing as how she had lost a lot of blood, and she was a mess at that time.


A bear charged Katie and bit her in the hip.

By the end of the day, she had lost a lot of blood and the people of the wagon train were now doing their best to keep her alive. Last time it had been Father.

Otherwise, everything was fine. In no more than one week, Katie was just about fully recovered.

They had not gone any where, fearing what it might do to her.

But now, they could travel again. In the time of the next day, they reached Split Rock, another deadly place.

Here, the people did not stop, because this place was known as to be almost as deadly as Devil's Gate.

Joshua wondered why they were not stopping. He thought that it was beautiful to look at, but Mama assured him that it was a lot more beautiful on the outside than on the inside.

She told him about the reputation of the place, and he shivered.

Chapter 9


Not far from Split Rock, Melanie was walking beside the wagon when she saw something moving.

She ran over to the place, and found something small and white on the road. She did not know this, but it had fallen out of a wagon and had not yet recovered from its fright.

Melanie picked up the little white figure and looked at it more closely. Soon, she found out that it was a kitten!

Now, Melanie had never had a kitten of her very own, and had always wanted one.

This was her dream come true if it lived! Melanie loved white kittens, and had wanted one for her birthday. Her parents had not gotten enough money to get her one before they left, because they had been saving every penny of their money for going to Oregon.

This kitten was not full-grown, but still a reasonable size.

As she carried the kitten back to the wagon, Melanie suddenly had a thought.

Mother's birthday had been eight days ago! They had all forgotten because of the tragedy that had happened to Katie.

The kitten clung to Melanie with her sharp little claws. Melanie hugged her kitten. They were at the wagon then, and Melanie climbed up into it still holding the kitten.

'Mother!' she called.

There was no answer.

She called again. 'Mother!'

Still no answer. 'Hmmm,' Melanie mused. 'She must be at someone else's wagon.'

Melanie put the kitten down and looked around. She hunted for a piece of yarn and a pair of scissors.

When she found what she needed, she cut a short length of yarn, and then she cut a long length of yarn. Then she cut two more the length of the short piece of yarn, then two more of the same size as the long piece.

She braided all of them together and then tied the short piece around the cat's neck. Then, she attached the long piece of yarn to it. She was proud of the leash she had made.

She picked the kitten up, knowing full well that the kitten could not jump out from that high up.

She carried the kitten a little ways from the wagon train, and set off in search of her mother. At first, the young cat resisted, but then gave in to the leash, knowing that she could not get away.

Melanie walked proudly along with her cat on a leash, and the cat walked somewhat proudly beside her.

Melanie could not find her mother, so finally she went to the very front of the wagon train in search of her mother.

She did not see her there, so she went back to the wagon to wait.

She had asked people if they had seen her, but most had said no, so she stopped asking.

When she climbed up into the wagon again, there sat her mother, fixing supper.

'Where were you?' Melanie asked in disbelief.

Mama looked up. 'I was at the Haver's wagon,' she replied.

Melanie called to her Mama and asked, 'Mother, I found this little thing by the side of the trail. May I please keep it, and if I am allowed, I am going to name it Mittens, because of the black mittens on its feet.'

Melanie found a small, white kitten.

'You may keep it, and you may name it Mittens if you would like,' replied Mother, not looking up from what she was doing.

'Oh, thank you so much, Mother,' Melanie cried as she ran off to show Katie, Jack, and Joshua her kitten.

She started to look for them. First she found Jack, and he was amazed.

'Wow! Where did you get that cat?' he asked excitedly.

'I found it by the side of the trail,' she replied, and then ran off before he could ask any other questions.

Next, she found Katie.

Katie also loved the cat, and asked to hold her. Melanie permitted just this, but told Katie to be careful. She did not want anything to happen to her cat.

Katie took the cat in her arms and started petting her. The cat started to purr. Katie looked up and smiled. 'I think she likes it!' she exclaimed.

Melanie agreed, and then took the cat back into her own arms. Before she left, she told Katie the cat's name. 'I'm going to name her Mittens,' she said.

'Really? I love that name!' exclaimed Katie.

'Do you?' asked Melanie.

'Yes, I do!' Katie replied.

Papa came around a bend just then and saw the two girls. 'Hi, Melanie! Katie! That's a fine cat, Melanie! Where did you get her?'

Papa asked a lot of questions, but Melanie stored them all in her head and answered them one at a time.

'Hi, Father! Thanks!' Melanie said.

Just then, Katie cut in. 'She found her by the side of the trail!'

Melanie turned to Katie. 'He asked me!'

'Sorry,' apologized Katie.

'Apology accepted!' Melanie cheered up her sister.

The two girls said goodbye to their Papa and ran off to find their last sibling that did not know about it, Joshua. They finally found him, playing marbles with Pete and Harry.

'Hi, Joshua! What are you doing?' asked Melanie.

'Duh! What does it look like I'm doing?' he said.

Melanie backed away. 'Sorry!' she said. 'Look what I found!'

Joshua looked up. When he saw it, Joshua asked, 'What are you going to name it?'

'I am going to name it Mittens,' replied Melanie.

'Really?' Joshua said. 'Neat name!'

'Thanks!' Melanie said.

Pete asked if he could hold her. When Melanie obliged, he held out his hands. 'On second thought,' she said, yanking her away. 'I think she is hungry! I need to feed her!'

Joshua stood up as Pete sat down. 'Melanie!' he exclaimed. 'Be nice!'

'Oh, all right,' she consented, handing Mittens to Pete.

When Pete started to pet her, she started purring again. When Melanie took her back, she stopped purring, however.

Melanie walked back toward the wagon. She was going to feed Mittens. She knew that the kitten must be hungry.

Katie fell into step beside her.

'Where are you going now?' she asked curiously.

'I'm going to feed my cat,' Melanie replied.

'Can I help?'

'No, not this time.'


Melanie disappeared into the wagon to feed Mittens. Once inside, she got out their last container of milk, and glancing around she poured some into a small saucer.

Then, reaching into one of the many sacks of beans, she pulled out a handful of beans and put them into another saucer, along with some rice, and mixed them both with molasses.

After that was done, she sat back and watched to see what Mittens would do.

She sniffed at the molasses, put out a small pink tongue and licked it up. Then, she batted at a bean with her little black foot.

Melanie laughed out loud.

Mittens then meowed and jumped into Melanie's lap, curling up into a ball. Mama found them an hour or so later, curled up in a ball on the blanket. She shook her head and pulled a blanket over them.

Later that evening, Melanie and her brothers and sister were playing with Mittens when her Mama called them to dinner. Mittens jumped out of Jack's lap, who had been holding her at the time, streaked across the wagon bed and promptly sat down at Melanie's place.

This brought a great deal of laughter. Then the laughter subsided when Joshua pointed out the doorway of the wagon to something by the trail. Upon closer examination, they saw that it was a Mama cat. Mittens ran to the other cat meowing piteously. Then she curled up next to it as if it was still alive.

'Get her away from there!' Papa told Melanie.

Melanie ran over to the cat and yanked her kitten away from the other cat. However, when she let go, Mittens ran right back to the other cat.

'Do something!' exclaimed Mother.

'I'm trying, I'm trying!' Melanie said.

Mama went back inside the wagon. While the others were trying unsuccessfully to get Mittens away from the cat's mother, Mama was making something.

A couple of minutes later, she appeared. She put a small dish near Mittens. The little cat turned toward it, got up, and as Mama pulled it away, she followed it. However, when she got about a yard away, she turned back to the other cat.

This did not work, although they tried it several times.

To get her away from the carcass, Melanie had to tie a piece of their paper that they had to use sparingly on to a piece of yarn borrowed from the wagon behind theirs.

Even then she came unwillingly.

'Father, what are we going to do with the body?' asked Joshua.

'Why, we'll bury it, of course!' said Father.

Joshua got a small blanket and wrapped the dead cat in it.

Papa carried the carcass into the woods, which were not far away and buried it with their shovel. They did not know that they would need it until they got to Oregon.

The next morning, Melanie woke up to find Mama making breakfast.

Melanie jumped up, waking her brothers and sisters. 'Hey, you guys! Get up!'

They grunted and started to get up. Before getting up all the way, however, Joshua asked why she wanted them up.

'Mother's birthday was nine days ago, remember?' asked Melanie.

All of a sudden, they were wide-awake. 'I need to get her something!' said Jack.

'Me too!' echoed Joshua.

The children jumped up and quickly dressed. 'Where are you going that you are in such a hurry?' asked Mother.

'We can't tell you,' Katie told her.

'Oh,' she said, turning back to her work.

After they were dressed, the Everboth children hopped out of the wagon and onto the ground. They walked around to the back of the wagon where the horses were tied, and Katie untied Windwalker, Melanie untied Patches, and Joshua untied Emily.

'What horse am I going to ride?' asked Jack forlornly.

Katie turned around. 'You can ride behind me if you want,' she offered.

'Thanks!' exclaimed Jack.

He went over to where Windwalker was standing, and quickly mounted, using his knowledge of horses doing so.

Rose, the bay horse, was hurt, because she had fallen into a gopher hole.

The horses started walking, and the children started looking for piles of stuff. Soon, after about a half of an hour, the horses, which were walking slowly, passed the front of the wagon train.

After another hour, Joshua saw a big, dark pile of something ahead of them on the path. The children urged their horses into a run, and soon reached the pile.


It was another hour before they left the pile, and by this time they could see the wagons coming toward them.

'They sure look tired out, don't they?' asked Jack, meaning the wagons.

The wagons did look tired, and worn out, and old.

They started back toward the wagon train so they could get back to their wagon.

While they were at the sight of the unwanted things, they had gotten some things for their mother. This was the reason they had wanted to go.

Jack had gotten her a brand new bonnet, and Joshua had gotten her a small quilt.

'Boy, won't Mama be surprised?' asked Melanie gleefully.

'Yeah!' agreed her brothers and sisters.

When they got within hearing distance of the wagon, they stopped talking about their mother's birthday.

They were almost there when Papa came sneaking out of the wagon. He motioned for his children to come closer. When they were close enough to hear him, he told them his plan.

'Listen, we want to make this a surprise birthday party for your mother,' he told them.

'Yeah! We know!' they said. 'We already got her presents!'

Papa looked surprised. 'You did?'

'Yeah!' said Melanie.

'Well, where are they?' he asked.

The children were tying up their horses, and finished just as he said these words.

They all went inside the wagon, so if might Mama be nearby, she might hear them.

Once Papa had set them all to work with the girls making a cake and the boys setting the table and cleaning up, he asked them what they had gotten her.

They all started to talk at once, wanting him to hear what they had gotten.

Papa held up his hands for silence. 'Tell me what you got one at a time!' he said.

'Joshua, why don't you start,' he said with a grin.

'I got her a quilt!' he said joyfully.

'You did?'


Joshua held up the quilt for his Papa to approve.

Then, Melanie had her turn. 'I got her a breadbox!' she said.

Papa was amazed.

'I got her a neat bonnet!' said Jack.

He pulled it out and held it up.

'Nice, Jack!' said Father. He turned to Katie. 'What did you get, dear?' he asked her.

'I got her a dress and a sewing kit and a bonnet!' Katie replied, popping the cake into their Dutch oven.

Papa was impressed. 'How did you get all that?' he asked.

'I just looked in piles of stuff!' she answered.

Papa looked at them quizzically. 'Guess what I got her!'


Papa reached beneath his chair and pulled out a box. The box whined.

'You mean, you got her a puppy?' asked Joshua.

'Yup!' said Papa he opened the box, and there, sitting and staring up at him, was a little, bright eyed black and white spotted puppy.

'Oh, how cute!' squealed Katie.

The others agreed, and Papa took the puppy out. He passed her around, and everybody loved her soft fur, her bright blue eyes, and her little pink toes with just a hint of claws on them.

'Won't Lumber be jealous?' asked Jack.

At the sound of his name, Lumber, who was trotting underneath the wagon, barked.

'Oh, I don't think so,' said Father.

'Isn't she cute?' asked Melanie.

'Yes, she is,' said Father.

He took the puppy from her and put the little thing back into her box.

'Won't Mama love her?' asked Jack.

After another hour, Mama had still not returned. This was good though, because her family was busy all this time. They were hanging banners, decorating the cake, and setting out presents wrapped in blankets.

When Mama finally stepped into the wagon by means of the wagon tongue, what a surprise she had!

Her family was all sitting at their little table, with a chair all set out for her. The chair had a blanket over it, and on this blanket was a lot of bright colors. Katie and Melanie had helped each other sew them on, and it looked very beautiful.

On the table were seven presents and a white cake. Katie had iced the cake and put her name and a saying that said, 'Happy birthday and good luck for the rest of your years!'

Another thing, it had thirty very short candles on it.

Mama gasped and sat down. The others started to sing.

'Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday, dear Susan,

Happy birthday to you!'

Mama thanked them. She looked closely at the cake. When Papa asked what she was doing, she answered that she was wondering why the candles were so short.

Papa cleared his throat and looked at Katie. 'Why don't you answer that, Katie,' he said, nervously tugging on his shirt collar.

Katie answered her. 'We only had fifteen candles, so I cut each of them in half.'

Mama laughed and smiled. 'Do I get the presents first, or cut the cake?' she asked.

Papa replied, 'Whatever you want, Susan.'

Mama chose the cake, and took a deep breath. Whoosh! She blew all the candles out at once. The rest of her family member laughed and clapped.

'What did you wish for?' asked Melanie.

'You can't ask her that!' exclaimed Jack.

'Sure I can!'

'Actually, I didn't wish for anything!' said Mother. 'I have everything I need right here. A wonderful family, a place to live, we're going to Oregon, what more could I want?'

'These!' Katie replied, setting some presents in her lap.

Katie took the sewing kit off the table and hid it behind her back. That way, Mama would open it last.

Mama opened the first present that was handed to her, which happened to be Jack's bonnet. 'Why, thank you, Jack!' exclaimed Mother. 'I always wanted one like this!'

Mama hugged him and put the bonnet on.

'Just what I've always wanted!' she said happily.

Joshua handed her his present next. She opened it, and inside lay a beautiful quilt! She gasped, and started to ask how he had made it. Then, she realized that he had found it, or it had been given to him.

She thanked him, and then she kissed him.

Next, she took Melanie's gift to her. She opened it, and there, right before her eyes, was a breadbox decorated with flower, birds, and bees!

'Melanie, it's beautiful!' she exclaimed, kissing her daughter.

Katie handed her a package. Mama uncovered it, and there was another bonnet, only this one had cats all over it!

Katie saw her smile, and knew that she liked it. Mama started to take off one bonnet to put the other on, but instead put Katie's over top of Jack's!

They all laughed at the sight of her, but quickly stopped when they saw Mama opening another one of Katie's presents to her.

When she saw what it was, Mama was so surprised that she did not know what to say. 'Why-why, it's beautiful!'

Mama jumped up and held the dress up to her. 'How do I look?' she asked, twirling around.

'Why, you look just beautiful!' exclaimed Father. 'Why don't you go put it on?'

Mama consented, and had Papa help her put up a little dressing room stall for them to dress behind. She disappeared behind it and pulled the dress on.

When she appeared from behind, Papa gasped and pulled her into his arms. 'Will you give me the pleasure of this first dance with you, my dear?' he asked, starting to dance.

Mama laughed and danced along with him.

The children started to hum a tune. After a couple of minutes, Mama and Papa stopped dancing and collapsed laughing into their chairs.

Katie handed her last present to her, and Mama took it.

She opened it, and at first was puzzled. All she saw at first was a pretty box. But, when she opened up the box, she saw different. 'Why, Katie, it's beautiful!' she managed to gasp out.

'I'm glad you like it!' exclaimed Katie, relieved.

Mama poked around in the contents, taking in the needles, pins, pincushion, tiny spools of thread, and scissors.

Katie saw the look on her face, and could tell that Mama loved it. She was glad, because it was a very nice present.

Last of all, after Mama put the sewing kit away, Papa handed her the last present, a large box.

'What could be in here?' she wondered.

'Don't shake it!' warned Father.

'Yeah! It's very fragile!' put in Jack.

Mama tore the blanket off of the top of the box. She was still wondering what was in it, and soon her wonders were quenched when she took the top off the box.

'Oh! It's a puppy!' she squealed.

Mama pulled the little puppy out of the box and hugged it tight. All of a sudden, she pulled it away from her. 'Jeffery!'


'How much did you pay for it?'

'I didn't!' exclaimed Father, puzzled.

He was sure that Mama would love it. Now, he thought he had been wrong.

'What do you mean?' asked Mother. 'It was free?'

'''Yes!' Papa told her. 'We may have to feed it and take care of it, but I did not pay a penny for her!'

Mama laughed and again hugged the puppy to her chest. While all this was going on, Katie was busy. She had unraveled one of her sweaters that had been to small, and was working on making something.

She turned away when Mama looked toward her. 'What are you doing, dear?' she asked curiously.

Katie turned her head to look at Mother. 'It's a secret!'

Mama nodded her head in understandment, and turned back to the puppy.

After a little while, Katie was finished. She was good with making things with her hands, and making what she was did not take long.

She presented her gift to Mother. 'Here,' she said.

Mama gasped when she saw what was in her hand. 'A leash and collar!' she exclaimed. 'How ever did you make it so fast?' she asked.

Katie shrugged. 'I've been good with braiding, and I decided to try braiding four!' she said modestly.

Mama was impressed, and immediately fastened the collar onto her new birthday puppy, and following was the leash.

Mama stood up, inviting the children to come walk the puppy with her. They all got down from the wagon tongue and set out walking.

As they passed different wagons, people stared at them. Everyone was wondering where they got the puppy.

'What are you going to name her?' asked Katie.

'That's a good question!' Mama replied, looking puzzled.

Mama thought for a moment or two, then came up with a good name. 'Splash?'

'Umm,' Melanie thought.

'That doesn't fit the puppy!'

'How about' Oregon?' Mama suggested.



There was a pause. Mama asked again. 'Wolf?'


The family walked along, taking turns holding the leash of the puppy. The talked and laughed, telling jokes and making cracks.

Mama was very glad that she had gotten the puppy for her birthday, and Papa was glad that she liked it. 'Mother, I'll make supper tonight, because we are celebrating your birthday,' Katie volunteered.

'Why thank you, Katie!' said Mother.

Just then, a drop of rain fell onto Jack's nose. 'Hey!' he cried out.

'Uh-oh,' said Mother. 'It's starting to rain. We'd better get back inside, or we will get soaked!'

Papa and the rest agreed, and they all ran back to the wagon. Melanie drew one end up tight after they had all gotten in, and Joshua did the other one.

Katie started preparing things for supper, but all of a sudden, out of the torrent of rain, she heard a voice. 'Yoo-hoo! Mrs. Everboth!'

Mama shuffled quickly to the flapway. She peeked out to find Mrs. Preber standing there. 'Come in, come in!' she invited, opening it wider.

Mrs. Preber ducked through the improvised door and following her was Amelia.

'We heard that you are celebrating your birthday today, so we decided to come over and give you supper!' Mrs. Preber said.

'Why thank you!' exclaimed Mother, watching as Mrs. Preber pulled a dish out from under her coat.

'Beef stew! Mm, mmm! My favorite!' said Jack.

Amelia joined the girls, who were cleaning up. 'You don't have much left in your wagon,' she remarked.

'I know,' sighed Katie. 'But it makes the traveling easier for the oxen!'

Amelia agreed; and then they all sat down to eat dinner. After dinner was finished, the Prebers went home, and the Everboth family went to bed, leaving the puppy in a crate for the night.

The next morning, Melanie woke up to find Mittens drinking milk from a saucer. Later, she asked Mother, 'Did you give Mittens milk this morning?'

Smiling, Mama admitted that she had. 'She got up before you and meowed until I gave her some milk! Now, isn't that ridiculous!'

Melanie agreed.

'I also fed the puppy,' Mama told her daughter.

'I see,' Melanie replied.

'May we go out now?' asked Joshua, who was already up and dressed.

'I suppose,' Mama said.

She turned around to say something else, but she saw out the front of the wagon that the children were running hard to get to their friends' wagons to see if they could play.

Mama shook her head and went back to doing the dishes.

Meanwhile, outside, the children split up. Katie went to Amelia's wagon, Joshua went to Pete's wagon, Melanie went to Amelia's wagon, and Jack went to Daniel's wagon.

'Can you play?' they all asked when their friends stuck their heads out of the front of the wagon.


Papa came in and asked, 'Where is Mittens?'

'Oh she's off running around. I just saw her,' piped up a voice behind Father.

Amelia entered into the wagon and declared, 'That sure is a fine kitten you have! I wish I had one. Where did you get her?'

'Oh, I found her awhile back,' answered Melanie. 'She is mine.'

'You're lucky!'

'I know!'

'Mother, may I go play with Amelia?' asked Melanie.

'Not until you are finished the dishes,' her Mama said firmly.

'Awww,' came the reply.

Evening came quickly and soon it was time for bed. Melanie was kept awake that night hoping that she would find another pet in time for Jack's birthday, which was just three days away.

She finally fell asleep and dreamed that she was in a house full of animals and that they were all hers. The next morning, Melanie had fun with Mittens. She played with her nearly all day, training her to do different things, such as getting the ball and bringing it back to her, and standing up on her hind legs to get meat off of the spoon that she held up.

She even taught Mittens to jump through a hoop by tempting her with a piece of meat, and batting at a piece of yarn that she held while she was lying on her back with her little white feet sticking up. Joshua finally came to get her and they all went to bed except for Father, who was driving the oxen.

No one, not even Mama or Papa knew what Katie and Melanie was going to find the next day.

Chapter 10

A Feathered Birthday Present from the Wild

Early the next morning, Katie shook Melanie awake and reminded her that they needed to find something for Jack. They walked ahead of the wagons a ways and were the first to sight the enormous pile of things by the side of the trail. They ran up to that pile and started looking for something, anything, for Jack's birthday.

'Look, Katie!' exclaimed Melanie, holding up something.

Katie looked up and saw what Melanie held. 'Oh no, we couldn't give him that!' she exclaimed. 'After all, what would Jack do with a bathing suit?'

Melanie shrugged and put it back in the pile.

Katie held up something else. 'How about this?'

Melanie looked at what she held. In Katie's hand was a case. They opened it, and inside lay a neat selection of paper sheets, pencils, pens, and erasers.

'Wow! Do you think he would like that?' asked Melanie.

Katie thought so, and she tucked it under her arm for safekeeping.

After a couple of minutes, Katie found a small baby blanket.

Katie found a small bird cowering under a baby blanket. Katie took it carefully in her hand and wrapped a piece of blanket around the poor thing.

'Look, Melanie!' she squealed, taking it in her hands.

Melanie peeked, and also squealed. 'How cute!'

'It has no feathers yet, so it must not be very old!' Katie exclaimed.

Melanie said that she had read that in the guidebook, and that Katie was right.

'Should we take it back now or wait until we are finished looking?' asked Katie.

'Okay!' agreed Melanie. 'I just hope that Jack does not come along right now!'

'Oh, sure! Be the pessimist!'* exclaimed Katie.

Katie sat down on a blanket, and wait while Melanie sifted through the pile of things.

After a while, 'What is taking so long?' asked Katie. She was getting impatient, and the bird was starting to shiver.

'I can't find anything!' she exclaimed.

'You mean to say that there is nothing in that big pile of things for a ten year old boy to use?' asked Katie.

'That's exactly what I mean to say!'

Katie sighed 'Let's go then,' she said, struggling to her feet.

Melanie picked up the thick blanket that Katie had been sitting on and threw it higher onto the pile.

'Hey, look!' she shouted. 'An old guidebook! Do you think he would like that?'


Katie slowly carried the bird toward the wagon and met her Mama halfway. 'Oh, Mother! Look what I found! May we give it to Jack if it lives? Please?'

'I suppose, if it lives,' whispered Mama 'Right now let's get it to the wagon. It's starting to rain.'

Sure enough, big drops of rain were starting to patter down quickly. By the time they got back to the wagon, all three of them were soaked to the skin.

Melanie peeked in the wagon to see if Jack was there. Seeing that he wasn't, she signaled to the others that it was safe to come in. Joshua looked up from his wood carving as they entered. 'What have you got there? May I please see it?' he asked.

'You may if you do not tell Jack; it is his birthday present,' was the reply.

When Joshua saw the young bird, he sucked in his breath. 'That little thing looks too far gone to me,' he said.

'I know, but we are going to try to save it anyway,' answered Mother.

Just then, the little magpie, as it was, let out a weak, little 'Peep!' 'Oh, how cute!' Katie squealed.

Papa came up just then. 'I just gave Jack permission to eat and stay the night with Daniel, if you do not mind, Susan.'

'No, I do not mind, and actually, that is good!' Mama said.

For the first time, Papa noticed that Katie was holding a baby magpie and Mama and Melanie were taking turns feeding it by soaking a small piece of cloth in milk.

'Hey, what do you have there?' he asked.

'It's a baby magpie!' said Katie.

'Katie found it!' piped up Melanie.

'Wonderful!' Papa replied.

Everyone was quiet for a minute. Then, Papa broke the silence. 'Are you going to take it over and show Jack?'

'NO!' the girls chorused.

Mama laughed. 'That is their birthday gift to him!'


Katie took the bird away from Mama and held it out to her Papa 'Would you like to hold her?' she asked.

Papa agreed, and held out his hands to take the little bird.

He stroked it, and it started to peep. He handed the magpie back to Katie, and she wrapped it in a small piece of blanket and put it into the box.

Papa left the wagon and walked to the front of the wagon train through the rain.

Melanie, Katie and Mama knew he was going to talk to the wagon master, but about what, they knew not what.


'What are we going to make for his birthday cake?' asked Katie.

Mama thought for a minute. 'We could make him a pound cake!' she suggested. 'He loves those!'

Melanie and Katie agreed and they set to work to make the cake. After about a half of an hour, the cake was ready and they slid it into the Dutch oven.

Afterward, they decorated it with pieces of candy and a small amount of icing they had left over from Mother's cake.

When the cake was finished, the girls admired it.

It was very nice, and it had taffy, Neccos, and other such candy on it. It looked very nice, and the girls were proud of it.

'Can we roast marshmallows on his birthday?' asked Melanie.

'I suppose,' replied Mother.

'Goody!' said Katie. She went over to a box and rooted around in it. Finally, she found the marshmallows and put them on the table.

Then, she got out the case that she got for him, and then checked on the little bird. It was peeping with hunger. Katie called to Melanie and showed her the bird.

Katie then broke off a corner of the cake and fed it to the little bird. The small thing seemed to love it, because she gulped it down quickly and peeped for more.

The next morning was Jack's birthday, and very early Katie checked on Maggie, as she had named the magpie, and found it healthy and peeping for its breakfast. Later on in the day, when Jack came back, the rest of the Everboths had set up a surprise party for him.

Joshua had been whittling a little dog out of wood and finished it in the nick of time, for just then, Jack came climbing into the wagon by stepping on the feed box at the back of the wagon.

'Surprise!' everyone yelled, and then they all jumped up.

Jack could not have been more surprised. All of a sudden, a light dawned on his face. 'Oh, it's my birthday, isn't it?' he asked.

His family seated him at the table, and then put the present on it. There was one on it, and Jack wanted to open it right away.

'Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday, dear Jack,

Happy birthday to you!' The family sang. When they were finished, Katie set the cake on the table. 'Happy birthday, Jack!'

'Thanks!' he said.

Jack shut his eyes tight and made a wish. While he did this, Papa lit the candles. By the time Jack was finished making his wish, all the candles were lit.

Jack drew in a deep breath of air and then with a loud Whoosh, he blew all the candles out.

His family clapped and smiled. They asked what he had wished for, and he answered that he had wished that he would get a pet for his birthday.

The rest of the family, Mother, Father, Katie, Melanie, and Joshua tried not to smile at his words.

Jack took one of the presents and tore the cover off of it. He was puzzled, because it was just a plastic case.

He opened it, and was surprised. 'Wow! Look at all the paper and stuff! Let's see, pencils, pens, paper, erasers,' Jack looked at the tag. 'Thanks, Melanie!'

'You're welcome.'

Jack looked for the other presents. When he did not see anything else, he was disappointed. 'What? Nothing else?'

'Nope! Nothing else!' said Father, trying not to smile.

Jack slumped down in his seat.

Katie handed him the cake, and Mama gave him a knife with which to cut it. Jack took them both and cut a piece of cake for everyone.

'MMM! This is good cake, Katie!' remarked Father.

'Thanks, Father!' Katie said.

Jack ate his piece of cake in silence, not being able to believe that a pencil case was all he got for his birthday.

Papa went out of the wagon for a minute, and Jack got up to do the dishes. Mama told him to sit back down, however, because it was his birthday.

Papa hopped back up into the wagon and pulled the puppy out of the crate. He handed the puppy to Jack saying, 'This puppy needs some love right now. Would you like to hold her?'

Jack did not, so Papa handed the puppy to Katie instead. He winked at Mother, and she reached into a box. She pulled out the box that contained the magpie, and handed it to Katie.

She handed the dog carving to Joshua, and the perch to his father.

'Jack, what is wrong?' she asked him.

He answered this: 'The problem is- well, it is that well, I only got one thing for my birthday, and well, I just don't think that- well, that is fair! I mean, you got lots of presents on your birthday, and I only got one piddling thing!'

'Oh, Jack, I'm sorry,' Mama told him.

Jack hung his head. 'Yeah.'

Mama put her arm around Jack. 'I'm sorry,' she said.

Jack looked up to find the rest of his family members smiling at him. 'What are you smiling about?' he asked.

They just kept smiling.

Jack demanded to know what they were smiling about, and they all brought their hands out from behind their backs.

Katie presented to him the little magpie, Joshua gave him the little dog carving, and Mama and Papa gave him a perch for the magpie.

'Wow!' he cried when he saw Joshua's present.

Jack picked up the dog carving and looked at it. He looked at the fine, smooth curves and the facial features. He saw how perfect the legs were in comparison to each other, and he saw the perfectly carved ears, nose, and head, but he did notice that one thing was wrong.

'Joshua, the dog's head is much smaller in size than the body!' he told his brother.

Then, it was Joshua's turn to hang his head. 'I'm sorry!' he said. 'I tried to make it perfect.'

'That's okay, Joshua!' Jack told him. 'I don't mind.'

At these words, Joshua cheered up. 'Looked at Papa and Mother's gift!'

Jack took the present from his parents and opened it. 'What is this for?' he asked when all he saw was a branch.

Katie then handed him her present. He carefully pulled the top off of the box and looked inside. At first all he saw was an old bird's nest, but then he spotted something inside of it moving. 'What is that?' he asked.

'Pull it out!' said Katie, clapping her hands and jumping up and down.

Jack did so cautiously, and in his hand nestled a baby bird.

'Its name is Maggie!' Katie told him.

Jack looked at the bird and then sat it on the little branch Mama and Papa had given to him. They all watched the bird, and before long Jack took her off and put her back in the box filled with an old bird's nest.

'That's neat!' he exclaimed.

'I'm glad you like it,' Katie said.

Mama was wrapping up the cake, and Papa had gone back to driving the wagon. That left all the children alone to play and to do whatever they wanted.

Joshua gave him the little dog carving.

'Gee, thanks, everybody! I really appreciate all this stuff! Daniel gave me some firecrackers to use!' said Jack.

'You're welcome,' said Mother.

'You're welcome,' said Father.

'You're welcome,' said Joshua.

'You're welcome,' said Katie.

'You're welcome,' said Melanie.

Nathan giggled, and everyone turned to look at him. He had torn the wrapping off of the cake that Mama had wrapped, and was pulling small fistfuls of cake and icing and candy off of the cake.

'Oh, Nathan!' Mama scolded him, rushing to pick him up.

Meanwhile, Paul was sitting there watching the whole thing. Now, he stuck his fist in his mouth and sucked on it. Mama bounced Nathan on her knee, and finally he fell asleep.

'Did you say that Daniel gave you some leftover firecrackers to use?' asked Joshua.

'Yeah, why?'

'Let's go use them!' shouted Joshua, running over to the flapway.

'What if I don't want to use them?' asked Jack.

Joshua stopped. 'But I do!' shouted Jack, racing past Joshua and falling onto the ground.

Melanie stayed behind to get a match from Father, and then she too raced off to help light the firecrackers.

By the end of the day, Jack had had a very happy birthday.

Chapter 11

Danger, Hawks!

One morning, when Melanie took Mittens out to play, she did not take notice of the two hawks that were circling above. Melanie was training Mittens to get the ball and bat it back to her with her paw.

'Go get it, Mittens,' Melanie said.

Just then, Jack sneaked up behind her. He still had three firecrackers left over from the night before, and now he intended to use them. He struck a match and lit the fuse on all three of them. He sat them right next to Melanie.

After a minute, POOF! They all went off at the same time. 'AAHHH!' screamed Melanie.

Jack started to laugh. Melanie turned around and looked at him. 'You did this!' she said.

Jack could not answer, because he was laughing so hard.

Melanie got up, told Mittens to stay, and walked over to Daniel's wagon. She knocked, and then climbed up on the wagon tongue. She asked Daniel if he had any firecrackers left, and he replied yes.

She asked for several, and he gave her five. He started to ask what she wanted with them, but she was already gone.

Melanie went into the wagon and got a match. She walked up behind Jack, who was still laughing, and lit them. Then, she stuck all five firecrackers into his back pocket.

She grabbed up Mittens and raced a safe distance away.

When she was far enough away, she stopped and heard a bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!

Jack stopped laughing and sat down. Then, he started to skid around on his behind, trying to put the fire that he thought was in his pocket out.

Now it was Melanie's turn to laugh, and laugh she did. She laughed so hard that Papa came out of the wagon to see what was going on.

'What is happening out here?' he asked.

Melanie put Mittens down and told him. Papa listened, and then started to chuckle. He tried to sMama his chortles behind his hand, but could not. Soon, he was laughing out loud along with Melanie.

In his head, Jack vowed that he would get back at Melanie.

Later, Melanie and Katie wrote in their diaries. This is what Katie wrote,

May 21st

The same old routine has been happening every day. The same old get up, eat breakfast, walk beside the wagon, eat lunch, walk beside the wagon, eat dinner, walk beside the wagon, eat a snack, go to bed.

Pretty boring, really. But, one thing did happen. Melanie put firecrackers in Jack's pants. Yesterday was Jack's birthday.

This is what Melanie wrote.

May 21st

Today, Jack put firecrackers next to me and made me jump. I got him back by putting some in his pocket, though.

Nothing truly exiting has been happening lately. Mother's birthday was a couple of days ago, and Jack's was yesterday. He got a bird, a pencil case, and a perch for the bird.

Nathan ate some plastic, too. Mama is worried that he will choke on it and not be able to breathe.

After the girls were finished writing in their diaries, Katie thought of something. 'We never got our clothes back!' she said to Melanie.

'Hey, that's right!' agreed Melanie. 'That sneaking, thieving little Nellie Parker got away with the whole thing of taking our clothes, hiding them, and keeping them!' she said.

Katie agreed. 'Oh, well, we might as well let her have them now,' she said.

Melanie went back to playing with Mittens, and Katie went into the wagon to see what she could help Mama with. Papa was also in the wagon.

What Melanie did not notice was that the hawks were still there, and they were waiting for something to eat.

All of a sudden, the larger of the hawks swooped down and picked the tiny kitten up in its large talons, intending to eat it.

Melanie could not believe her eyes for a minute or two, but the hawk started to circle, and then started to carry the kitten away.

Melanie screamed, and Father, hearing the ruckus, ran out of the wagon and dashed over to her. 'What is wrong, Melanie?' he asked.

Melanie pointed to the hawk.

Melanie could not speak, so she just pointed up in the air to the circling hawk, dangling the little kitten in the air, as if tempting them to try to get her back.

Papa ran to the wagon to get his gun, but when he came out, Melanie stopped him.

'Father, please don't shoot that bird!' she pleaded.

'Why not?' he asked.

'Mittens could get hurt!' she replied, tugging on his arm.

Papa lowered his gun and looked at Melanie's tearful face. 'Are you sure you don't want me to shoot it?' he asked again.


By that time, the hawk had started to go away. Melanie noticed this and told Father. He put his gun away.

Melanie did not want him to shoot the bird, because then the bird would fall and Mittens would be crushed.

Papa finally agreed, and started to run after the bird.

He ran for a couple of minutes, and then stopped. He saw two boys coming toward him.

Joshua and Pete went running after Papa to try to get the bird to come down. They chased the bird for some time and finally had to stop.

'Boy, this sure is tiring!' exclaimed Joshua, holding his side.

'Sure is!' agreed Pete.

Papa lay down on the ground and breathed deeply. 'It sure is hard running after a bird!' he said.

The two boys agreed, and Pete brought up a good topic for talk. 'What if the bird is too fast for us, and we can't catch up to it?' he asked.

Papa pondered this, and finally answered. 'Then we go back to the wagon and tell Melanie.'

'Are you boys ready to continue looking?' asked Father, getting up.

The boys replied that they were, and the trio started looking for the bird. When they did not see it, they started back to the wagon.

By the time they had rested and gotten up, the bird had gone out of sight. They trudged around, trying to spot the hawk, but to no avail.

The boys and Papa went slowly back to the waiting wagons, not wanting to tell the news to Melanie.

Halfway back, an argument started between the boys. 'You should tell her, because you're her brother!' Pete argued.

'No, you should, because she would get upset if I told her because I was supposed to get her kitten back!' Joshua said.

'Yeah, I know, but-' Pete continued.

'I will tell her,' stated Papa in a hard, firm voice. 'Now I want no more fighting what so ever, do you hear me?'

Both boys meekly answered yes.

The trio continued their walk back through the woods, not saying a word.

Soon, the wagon train was in sight and they all dreaded going back to it.

'How will Melanie react when we tell her that Mittens did not get rescued?' asked Joshua worriedly.

'I don't know, but we're soon to find out!' said Papa in answer to his question.

When Melanie heard that they did not get Mittens back, she burst out crying. 'Now I'll never see her again,' she sobbed.

'Well, maybe when we get to Oregon we can get you another cat,' comforted Mother.

Melanie's family did not like to see her cry, and they did everything in their willpower to stop her woes. 'It's okay, really Melanie,' Papa tried to comfort her.

'No it's not!' she cried.

Katie pulled out the puppy and tried to let Melanie hold her, but Melanie refused.

Jack tried to hand his sister his birthday bird, now full of feathers, and Mama tried to give her a piece of cake.

Nothing worked, however, so they just let her cry until all the tears were gone.

Soon, Melanie had stopped crying and was playing with Jack's bird.

The family was glad that she had forgotten her sad memories and they were glad to see her doing something instead of moping around.

Just then, Pete' s older brother Curt came in. 'I just got back! And you will never guess what I found by the side of the road!' he exclaimed.

'What is it?' asked Joshua.

'Mittens' twin!'

'Oh! That must be Mittens! A hawk carried her away and must have dropped her!' cried Melanie.

Curt looked puzzled. 'But, this kitten looked dead!'

'Oh, Father! That absolutely must be Mittens! Let's go and get her!' Melanie cried.

'All right, Melanie, we'll go see!' Papa approved.

Melanie hopped out of the wagon and started to run. Suddenly realizing something, she stopped, finally figuring out that she did not know where the kitten was.

Curt helped the family gather up the things needed to take care of the kitten if it was still living.

Then, leading the way, he hopped out of the wagon and set off toward the remuda.

Melanie was so excited, she could barely see straight.

On the way back to where Curt had seen the kitten, Melanie was wishing that Mittens would not be dead. What if I do not get another kitten? she thought.

When they got to the spot, Papa picked the baby cat up carefully and carried it back to the wagon. 'Susan, get a towel and heat some milk for this kitten, will you? We are going to try to save this cat, for some day, she might turn out to be a good mouser, for all we know!'

Mama took the kitten and wrapped it in a towel. She ran a small amount of water over the little thing, and it mewed.

Mama unwrapped the towel and turned Mittens over. She gasped when she saw a large, deep gash on the kitten's belly.

Melanie watched while the kitten got all stitched up, and then took her in her own arms.

But, the kitten did turn out to be all right, after all. Boy, oh, boy was Melanie relieved! 'Oh, thank you so much for finding her, Curt!' Melanie exclaimed. 'I thought that I would never see her again!'

She was very happy that she got Mittens back.

Now, every time Melanie takes Mittens out to play, she searches the sky for hawks first.

Chapter 12

The Peddler Brought Our Mail

Soon the wagons had reached Three Crossings, a place where you have the choice of taking the Deep Sand Route, or the Three Crossings Route.

'Which route will we take?' asked Jack.

'I don't know yet!' Papa answered.

Jack took the puppy out of the box were she was and attached the leash to her collar.

'May I take the puppy for a walk, Mother?' asked Jack.

'I suppose,' Mama replied.

Jack picked the puppy up and carried her for a little ways. When he put her down again, she wanted him to carry her, so he put her back in the wagon.

Papa decided that the train would take the Deep Sand Route so that they would not have to cross three rivers.

At that moment, Joshua stated, 'If we go that way, we will only have to cross one river, right Father?'

'Righto, Joshua,' Papa replied heartily.

That afternoon, when they reached the Sweetwater River, Jack suggested that they go fishing. The others readily agreed, and the boys went to get the fishing tackle, while the girls dug up worms.

'Come on, guys! Let's go!' he shouted.

The children walked merrily toward the river, stopping often to look at things.

'Look at those flowers!' said Melanie.

'Let's go pick some!' said Katie.

Melanie agreed, and they handed their things to their brothers to keep safe until they got back. 'You go on ahead,' Katie told them. 'We'll be along in a minute.

Katie and Melanie headed toward the spot where the wildflowers grew, and started to pick them for Mother.

Nearly ten minutes later, Katie stopped and looked up. By this time, they both had a large quantity of flowers in their hands, and were about ready to stop.

She looked up, and started toward the edge of the patch. Melanie followed her. Suddenly, Katie's foot hit something. The thing that she hit squealed.

She looked down, and there was a little bear cub! 'Oh, no!' she cried. 'Let's get out of here!'

Melanie readily resolved, and they ran as fast as they could toward the river.

When they got there, they found the boys setting up the tackle for fishing, and they soon were ready.

As the girls came up behind them, Jack let his fishing line fly into the water. Melanie and Katie also picked up theirs and threw the lines into the clear blue water.

Joshua was not quite ready yet, so the other children watched the wagons crossing the river while they fished.

Joshua was having trouble tying his line, but after a moment, he was ready to cast.

Nearly the second that Joshua had thrown the hook into the water, he felt a wiggling on the end of the line. 'I've got a big one!!' he shouted.

The others dropped their poles and ran to help him pull the fish in. Out of the corner of her eye, Melanie saw her pole slide toward the water. 'Something is on the end of my line!' she yelled as she ran to pick it up before it fell into the water.

Katie ran to help her. By the time they landed it, Joshua and Jack had pulled in a whopper of a bass. 'This ought to be enough to feed us tonight,' he whooped. 'Won'''t Mama and Papa be proud of us?'

'So will ours!' exclaimed Melanie.

'They sure will!' was the reply. And, boy, were they were proud! Mama cooked the fish for supper that night, and my, was it tasty!

After they had eaten the fish, Papa sat back and sighed. 'Well, that sure was a good meal, Susan,' he told his wife.

Before she could reply, though, a peddler drove up beside their wagon. 'Excuse me, ma'am, sir, but I have two letters from your home place that I was asked to deliver to you!' he said.

Papa sat up with interest as the man handed Mama the letters. 'Who are they from?' he asked.

The man rode away from the wagon to deliver all of the other letters he had been asked to deliver.

'Well,' she replied, looking at the letters, 'They are from Melanie's friend Virginia Hasp, and the other one is from Aunt Heather and Uncle Jeff!'

She gave one of the letters to Melanie while she herself opened the other one. It read:

Dear Jeffery and Family,

How are you? We miss you and hope that you are having fun. We also wish you luck as you travel the rest of the way. Did you find the little bit of money that I hid in your moneybag? Please write soon. I put a piece of paper and a six-cent stamp hoping you would write back. God bless you!

With Love,

Aunt Heather and Uncle Jeff

'Well, what do you know about that!' exclaimed Mother.

'That was nice!' said Joshua.

'Do we get a share of the money?' asked Melanie.

'Well!' Papa exclaimed, getting up and pulling out the moneybag. 'There is a little bit of extra money in here! A twenty-dollar bill, to be exact! And also a stamp and paper!'

All this while Melanie had been reading her letter silently, and now spoke up. 'Father, Virginia and her little sister and Mama also put some money in there! They put more than half of the money in there that they saved up by doing odd jobs for about two years, for they knew that we were moving and wanted to help us out!'

'Now, wasn't that thoughtful of them!' exclaimed Mother.

'I'll say it was!' said Father.

Just when Papa finished what he was saying, Jack raced into the wagon shouting, 'Katie and I found a pony grazing at Ice Spring Slough! May we keep it?' he was breathless from running so fast.

Papa held up his hands. 'Whoa, whoa, slow down there! I am not saying you can or cannot keep it until I see this pony.'

Katie came slowly into the wagon, playing out a piece of rope as she went. She told Papa that the pony was outside the wagon and that it was a girl.

'Well, let's have a look at this pony!' Papa said happily.

Paul toddled over to the pony with the help of his mother. He gurgled and laughed when he felt it. He stuck three fingers in his mouth and giggled, 'Toft!'

'We found a pony!' cried Katie.

Of course, he meant soft. With his hand still in his mouth, he held it out to Flowers, the name that Katie had given the pony. After all, they had found her in a field of flowers. Then, of course, Nathan had to touch her.

Then they all grabbed a handful of hay from their hay bale. One by one, they all got a chance to feed the pony some food.

After a while, after they sat outside and talked with their friends, everyone said good night, parted, and went to their own wagons to turn in that night.

Katie got up several times that night to check on her pony. She also fed the pony several times, for she was pregnant and needed a lot of food. She also got a bridle out and put it on Flower. All the rest of the family went to sleep and had sweet dreams of the pony that was tethered just outside the wagon. They dreamed of other things, too, but mostly of the pony.

Their dreams took them on wild adventures along the trail with horses and ponies. It took them through the forest, up hills, and down hills, and everywhere imaginable!

Chapter 13

What a Treasure!

The next day the train camped near the Ice Spring Slough. They spent the night through there and the next morning when Papa went to hitch up the oxen again, he called out, 'Two of our oxen are gone!'

Mama came running up. 'How do you suppose they got loose?' she asked, looking at the frayed ropes that had held the oxen to the stakes.

'The ropes must have been too weak,' piped up Joshua, eager to get in a word.

Papa looked sternly at him. 'Obviously, but how? I suggest that we form a search party to try to find them.'

Soon afterwards, the search party was organized. It was five hours later that they found one ox. It was nearly dead, and Papa shook his head sadly. 'He is too far gone to be able to save now,' he said.

While five of the men dragged the ox back to the circle of wagons to be butchered for meat, the others kept looking for the other ox. When they could not find it, they returned to the wagons. As they came into sight, Katie and Joshua came running up to them. 'Did you find the other ox, Father?' questioned Joshua.

'No, we didn't,' replied Papa with a sigh.

'Too bad,' said a voice full of sympathy behind them.

Papa looked over Katie's shoulder and greeted Daniel, Pete, and Amelia. It was Daniel who had spoken. He now repeated, 'Too bad.'

Amelia was speaking to Katie. She now said, 'I know where we can get some strawberries! We were getting ready to go, but we can wait for you, if you would like.'

'Sure!' Katie exclaimed. 'I need to ask Mama if we can and then I need to find Melanie and Jack.'

'How come that most of you have names that start with J?' Pete asked Joshua.

'I don't know, it must just be that that is Mama and Papa wanted to do. You will have to ask Mama that question, not me!' Joshua replied with a laugh.

Doing so, Pete got the answer, 'Because my mother's name started with J, and I just wanted to name them with names starting with J!' Mama told him.

'Oh,' he said, grinning.

Just then, Katie came running up to them. She said that they were allowed to go strawberry picking, and to stay close. And, off they went, the girls skipping and the boys running to try to get there before them. A little while later, when they were picking the strawberries, Amelia asked Melanie, 'Isn''t this fun?'

The reply was, 'Oh, yes! I should say so!'

'By the way, where are Joshua and Melanie?' asked Pete, looking over at the girls and Jack.

'I think that they are picking strawberries over on the other side of this group of bushes,' said Jack.

Meanwhile, Joshua and Melanie were slowly making their way farther into the woods, talking as they went.

They did not mean to go so far in, but they were so busy picking and talking that they did not notice how far they had gone until the giant strawberry vines ended and there were only scrawny little ones with hardly any strawberries on them left.

'Uh-oh,' said Joshua, looking around them at the trees surrounding them. 'I think,' not wanting to frighten Melanie, he paused.

But she finished the sentence for him. 'That we are lost.'' She said it with finality.

'No, wait!' said Joshua, a thought finally coming back to him.

'Look! We can follow our footprints in the wet ground!' exclaimed Melanie.

''Right!' Joshua declared.

The brother and sister bent down close to the ground and started to follow the tracks and the bushes.

They followed the tracks for a long time, and then for a couple of minutes they stopped. 'Wow!' exclaimed Melanie.

'Yeah!' replied Joshua.

'Do you think we went the wrong way?' asked Melanie of Joshua.

'I don't know, but it seems like we should have reached them by this point,' he said.

Just then, the two kids heard voices. They hid behind the bushes, but all of a sudden, out of the brush burst Amelia, Daniel, and Pete! Katie and Jack followed them.

Joshua and Melanie jumped up.

'Yeeeek!' screamed Amelia.

The four others with them turned quickly to look at her. What they saw was a frightened Amelia and two kids. 'Joshua!' shouted Pete.

'Melanie!' shouted Katie.

'We were looking all over for you!' said Daniel.

Joshua and Melanie then noticed that all of the other's pails were half full, but then they looked at their own. It was then that they noticed that they were overflowing, because they had gone so far to pick them.

'Hey! Let's get these berries back to our folks!' Joshua exclaimed.

All the children set out for the wagon train running. They did not run too fast, though, because of the berries in their buckets.

When they arrived breathless at the wagon train, they noticed that there were a number of berries gone from their buckets.

'Oh, well, our parents won't mind,' Jack said.

The children scrambled up into their wagons and handed their buckets to their mothers.

'Thank you!' exclaimed Mother, looking in each pail.

The children welcomed her and then ran back outside to play.

'Now what should we do?' asked Joshua.

'Let's go explore for a long time and go a long ways ahead of the train!' suggested Melanie.

The others agreed to this suggestion and started to run. They ran for a long time, and then had to stop. Then, they went exploring. They did not find anything good, though. By the time they all trooped out of the woods and back into the sunshine, they saw that the train was no more than a hundred yards away from them.

They all flopped down on the grass and waited for the train to catch up to them. They were winded from running so hard.

When their wagon reached them, the Everboth children scrambled into their wagon. After another hour, the sun rose higher. It was getting very hot, and Papa said it might cause hallucinations.

The children got out of the wagon again and started to walk again. The train reached an abandoned wagon, but no one thought much of it, because it was so forlorn looking.

The Everboth children, however, wanted to explore it and play in it. They raced toward it, and arrived there short of breath. They rested for a moment, and then climbed into it. They started to look around.

'Hey, guys! Look what I found!' cried Katie. She held up a coil of rope.

'Neat!' said Joshua.

'Look!' Jack said, holding up a blanket. 'This looks Indian!'

'Yeah!' agreed the others.

All four of the children turned around at the same time and noticed a large, blanket covered object.

'What is that?' asked Katie.

'I don't know!' said Jack.

'Neither do I' said Joshua.

'I either!' echoed Melanie.

'Let's all yank it off at the same time!' exclaimed Katie, wanting to be fair.

The children each took a corner and yanked. They ended up falling over though, because they were all pulling against each other, and it was like a tug of war.

This time, they all grasped the same side and pulled. As the blanket flew off with the force of their pull, an enormous chest was revealed underneath!

'Wow!' said Melanie.

'Wow!' whispered Joshua, repeating her words.

The others repeated those very words, and they stared at the chest for a long time.

'Shall we try to open it?' asked Joshua.

'Yeah!' they agreed.

The children lugged and lugged at the old chest until they got it into a position where they could maneuver it enough to get it open.

They pried at it with sticks, threw stones against it, but they could not open it. Finally, they decided to take it back to their parents.

All four of the children hopped out of the old wagon and onto the ground.

They raced along the trail to catch up with the train, and then got all four horses from the back of the wagon. Actually, one of them was a pony.

They all hopped aboard the horses, and took off. They had found five harnesses inside the abandoned wagon, and left them there so that they could harness the horses. When they reached the wagon once more, they climbed off the horses.

They attached the horses to the wagon, and started them up.

The horses lurched forward and started to go. 'We're on our way!' shouted Joshua.

Just then, they heard a little whine. Joshua looked down. 'Why, Wolf, what are you doing all the way out here?'

Katie picked the puppy up and noticed Lumber trotting toward them. The children put both the puppy and the bloodhound in the wagon, and were surprised to see Mittens jump up into the wagon and start licking her paws.

When the wagon reached the end wagon, which was the Everboth's, Mama looked out the back of the wagon. What she saw made her eyes pop out.

She hurried out of the wagon and rushed toward the wagon. 'Children!' she cried. 'What are you doing?'

'We found a wagon and we found a chest in it, but we can't get it open!' exclaimed Jack.

Mama climbed into the wagon and then called Father. When Papa came out, he saw the wagon, and heard the story behind it.

'May we keep the wagon and put our stuff in it?' asked Joshua. 'We will need some food, a Dutch oven, and a wagon cover too, but will you let us have them?'

Papa smiled and rubbed his chin. 'I suppose,' he agreed.

The children cheered and Melanie, Katie, and Jack jumped down from the wagon seat, leaving Joshua to drive while they gathered up their stuff and put the wagon cover on.

Papa got out the brand new wagon cover and unfolded it. When he took it over to the wagon to put it on, he saw something in the back. 'What is that?' he asked.

Melanie turned around. 'What?'

Papa pointed to the chest. 'That.'

Melanie looked. 'Oh, that! Oh yes, we wanted you to look in it. We could not get it open.'

Papa stretched the wagon cover over the wagon after pulling the bits and pieces off, and then went into his wagon and got a crowbar.

'This ought to do it!' he said, sticking the end under the lock. Papa gave a mighty heave and the lid popped off!

The children gathered around the chest as their Papa slowly lifted the lid. They gasped when they saw what was in the chest. 'That's it?' asked Joshua in disbelief.

'Broken glass?' asked Melanie.

'What a waste!' said Jack.

'Maybe there is something in it on the bottom!' said Katie.

Papa took the chest out of the wagon and dumped its contents onto the ground. A piece of white paper fell out when they reached the bottom.

Katie picked it up and read it out loud.

'This deed entitles anyone who finds this chest to a piece of land in Oregon City.'

'Look!' exclaimed Father. 'There is a deed of land with it!' he shouted.

The children whooped, and Papa said that the deed of land was rightfully theirs, and they could have it when they grew up. The deed also told that the person who had given the chest away had been going back east and had been attacked by Indians. He was wounded badly, and put the deed in the chest.

The children went to tell Mama about it, and she was also very excited.

The next morning, the wagons finished crossing Rocky Ridge. Joshua and Melanie slept until noon. The wagons traveled slowly, and the oxen's tongues hung out.

When they finally reached Lander Trading Post, five oxen had died because they had hardly anything to eat. Papa announced that they would have to find something for the oxen to eat soon or they would possibly not make it all the way to Oregon City.

Everyone started looking for plants and sagebrush for the oxen to eat. The oxen hungrily ate everything that they brought. Mama and Papa even gave them some oats to help perk them up some.

'Are they going to be all right, Father?' asked Katie.

'Yes, dear, I'm sure they will,' Papa replied.

Katie sighed and watched the oxen as the plodded slowly along, tongues out. They were very tired, and they could not stop and rest.

The horses, however, who were pulling the children's wagon, did not look tired at all. This was probably because the children did not have very many things in their wagon, and the wagon was very light.

Katie made a special slot in her Bible and slipped the land claim deed not to it, lest it be lost.

By evening, the event of finding a deed of land had calmed down, and the children were not allowed to tell their friends about it.

After dinner, the wagon train stopped and turned into a circle, and the wagon master said they would camp early that night.

No one had any idea of what would happen the very next day.

Something very unusual was going to happen, but it would also be exciting.

Chapter 14

Assorted Fun

Nearly two miles past Lander Trading Post, the fun began. Katie climbed into the wagon to help Mama with dinner one night, and Mama sat down so Katie could set the table.

'Nothing exciting has been happening lately,' Katie told Mother. 'With the exception of finding the land claim!'

Mama agreed, and then took the rabbit stew out of the Dutch oven. She sat it on the table and rang the dinner bell.

Papa and the boys came running, and they all sat down to eat. Papa bowed his head along with the others and they prayed.

When Papa was finished giving the Lord's blessing, they all looked up and started to eat. After dinner was over, Mama cleared the table and sat down to knit.

They suddenly felt a jolt. Katie looked up and saw her pony Flower writhing in pain, trying to get down on the ground. 'Father, stop!' she screamed, jumping out of the wagon and running over to Flower.

Three and a half-hours later, Flowers gave birth to a foal.

She quickly untied the rope that held the pony and Flower dropped to the ground. Three and a half-hours later, Flowers, nearly grown now, began to give birth to a foal. When it was out, she began to lick it furiously.

Katie lifted the little one into the wagon onto a blanket.

Just then, Joshua came in carrying something that was also covered in a blanket. 'You guys will never guess what I found, so I will just show you!' He pulled the blanket off with a flourish.

The others gasped at the sight revealed underneath. A Mama yellow Lab!

'I found her in the woods,' announced Joshua proudly. 'She has hurt her foot, and I am going to take care of it for her.'

He let everyone have a turn to hold her before telling them that she was pregnant. Hearing this, Nathan looked up at him and asked, 'Pegant?'

'Yes, Nathan, but it means when a woman is going to have a baby,' explained Mother, scooping him up in her arms and kissing him.

'O,' he said with eyes wide.

As they continued on to the Final Sweet River Crossing, Joshua fixed a bed and a bowl of milk for his dog. Meanwhile, Katie was telling him about Flower having a baby. 'Wow!' he declared.

Just then, news passed to them that someone else had a baby. 'What did they name it?' asked Melanie.

She was told that the newborn's name was Bonnie.

'I like that name, said Melanie. 'If I have children when I grow up, I will probably name my girl that name, too. It is a very nice name.'

Everybody else agreed that it was a nice name. Just then, Amelia came over and asked Katie if she could see her pony. 'Sure, but please be quiet, because she is asleep.' answered Katie, tiptoeing into the wagon with Amelia trailing after her.

'Oh, how cute!' squealed Amelia when she saw the baby pony.

Just then, the filly woke up and brayed quietly. Melanie and Katie went outside to play with the filly and Amelia went with them. They played with her most of the afternoon, and occasionally the boys would stop and play with her for a few minutes.

They all had fun with the baby, and her mother, Flower, stood anxiously over them, watching her baby.

She could not understand human words, but the baby pony did sense that these girls would not harm her. She also sensed that they loved her, because they fed her oats and corn.

Katie thought that they should try to think of a name for her. 'Got any suggestions?' she asked the other girls.

'Cornflakes?' suggested Amelia.

'No, I don't think that fits quite right.'

Just then, Mama called Melanie, and she had to leave the group. Still, the naming went on.






''Hmmm, no, I don''t think so.'


'Yeah! Great idea, Amelia!' shouted Katie.

Melanie jumped off the wagon tongue. 'What did you think of?' she asked.

'Baby!' Katie told her.

'How cute!' Melanie exclaimed.

'Do you have any suggestions?' asked Katie.

'Let's see, how about'' there was a pause as Melanie thought. 'Joy?'



'No, let's stick with Baby.' Katei suggested.

The other girls agreed, and Katie kissed the filly.

Mama walked up, drying her hands on a towel. 'What did you name her?' she asked.

'We named her Baby!' exclaimed Katie.

Just then, Joshua and Jack walked up and Mama went away.

'You know what we should do?' asked Joshua. 'We should separate the wagon into four parts, and put our stuff in each quarter, one for each of us!'

They ran off to do that, and it worked very well. Altogether, they had eighteen books, eight blankets, four pillows, two dolls, two bows and many arrows, pencils, pens, erasers, dogs, a cat, a baby pony, and the boxes that the children had taken along. They also had a bird, a Dutch oven, a cabinet of food, and a small fold-up table.

Chapter 15

Surrounded By Desert

Soon, but not soon enough, the trains reached South Pass. 'Are we almost halfway there yet?' asked Jack.

'Um, let me check the guide book,' said Father, as he consulted the book that had helped him to know what to do when danger came, told them the names of different places, and several other things. 'We are maybe, about, say, a little less than halfway there,' answered he.

'How far are we going to go today?' asked Katie.

'Good grief! How many questions do you want me to answer? I can't answer everything at once, you know! Good grief!' he repeated.

By this time, the wagons had started on, and Mama crossed off the name of South Pass, for they had already reached it and passed it.

Almost as soon as they had reached Pacific Springs, The wagon master called for a halt and announced that they were going to spend the night there.

About an hour later, nearly everyone was asleep.

That is, all except Joshua. He sat up in the dark and climbed out the back of the wagon.

He slowly crept out of the protective circle of the wagon train. He ran across the abandoned-looking path, his shoes making soft sounds in the sand.

In one hand he held a hunting knife that he had been given on his last birthday.

He took with him the knife that he had gotten for his birthday.

In the dark it is not very possible to see well, especially when there is no moon out, so it took him quite awhile to find what he was out looking for.

A nice, big, juicy cactus! When he was full to bursting from eating so much cactus pulp, he got up and looked around him, looking for the way that he had come.

But when he could not find any markings telling where he had come from, he started off in a southeasterly direction.

When he felt that he had been walking for days, the sun came up, providing enough light for him to see where he was.

Joshua exclaimed in surprise when he saw where he was.

All around him were cactuses, sand, and more cactuses. As he lay down to rest, he could feel the heat of the sun blaring down on him. He got up and looked around, trying to spot a place where he could rest out of the sun.


Meanwhile, back at the wagon train, the wagons were preparing to go.

People were putting out campfires, folding blanket, closing up tents, and more.

'Mother, why do we stop so often?' asked Katie.

'Because people complain!' Mama answered.

Katie thought about this as she rolled up her blanket.

Mama got out the bacon and put two pieces on the skillet. When Katie looked puzzled, she told her what was going on. 'They are for Joshua when he finally gets up,' she exclaimed.

Mama looked at the blanket covered lump in the back of the wagon and shook her head. 'Rise and Shine, everybody!' she called out. All that she heard was a muffled grunt from the lump.

Knowing that it was Joshua's habit to sleep late, she let him sleep in. But, after the train had gone about six miles, she called Katie to her. 'Katie, please go wake up Joshua so that he can take over driving the oxen awhile, will you?'

'Sure, Mom,' she replied.

Mama stopped her short by saying, 'When did you ever call me 'Mom'?' she asked.

'I-I don't know, it just sort of popped out!' Katie answered, her voice shaking.

'Well, you just go right ahead and call me that, for I don't mind a bit!' Mama answered cheerfully.

Katie breathed a sigh of relief.

Katie scampered over to the lump and yanked the blanket off, singing, 'RISE AND SHINE, SLEEPYHEAD!' at the top of her lungs.

But, when the lump was uncovered, it turned out to be the baby pony and Joshua's yellow Lab, curled up in a ball together.

'Mom, this is not Joshua, it is the dog and my pony! He must be with one of his friends, but he knows that he is not supposed to wander away from the wagon train so early and especially alone!' she mused.

She went and asked everyone on the wagon train if they had seen Joshua. But, unfortunately, no one had.


Joshua finally found a cactus big enough to shelter his body. Soon, he fell fast asleep.

Joshua woke up to see a large brown face in front of his, and heard strange voices. Suddenly, he remembered. He was lost, but who were these people? 'The brown face moved away from him and the big man helped him stand up. 'Me, Torondo, You?' he asked.

'Are you Indians?' Joshua asked, bewildered.

There were questioning looks from the other Indians, but their chief, Torondo, spoke up. 'Yah!' he said shrilly. 'You name?'

'Joshua,' he replied.

Torondo touched Joshua's face and felt it. 'You good!' he said.

Joshua pulled away from his hands and started walking backwards. 'What are you going to do with me?' he asked.

'You ride me horse,' he demanded.

So, Joshua climbed up on to Torondo's horse and the rest of the Indians mounted theirs. Torondo mounted behind Joshua.

Then, they rode away with the rest of the Indian tribe. They surrounded him as they rode, as if they were afraid that he might try to run away with Torondo's horse.

The horse was of a golden color, and Joshua would have loved to keep it.

Just then, the tribe and Joshua reached the village where the Indians lived. Joshua followed the chief of the tribe into his tent.

'Um, Torondo, I need to go back to my family, if you do not mind. We are traveling on a wagon train, and it would not take to long to find them if we traveled by horseback,' he told the chief.

'We go,' said Torondo, going out the door. 'You have me horse. Keep!'

Inside his heart, Joshua cheered quietly as he mounted the lovely golden horse. The Indian chief led the way back to where they had found him. 'Trail that way,' he said, pointing west.

As he and Joshua rode along quietly, Joshua was trying to think up a name for his horse. It was a girl, so he thought that a suitable name for it would be Morning Glory.

He told the chief the name that he had picked out, and he grunted in pleasure. All of a sudden, Joshua shouted, 'That is my train up ahead!' he spurred his horse into a run.

The chief did the same thing, and when they reached the Everboth's wagon, Mama cried out in joy of seeing him.

He told her the whole story as they rode along, and when he was done telling her what had happened, she actually kissed the chief for bringing him home.

Now they had four horses and two ponies, a cat and two dogs, also a magpie!

The chief rode away back to his village as Mama rejoiced that Joshua was home and told Melanie to run and tell Papa that he was home. Boy, was he relieved!

So, that ended the day with Joshua telling his tale to the rest of the family and telling how he got his horse and what he had named it.

Chapter 16

Ordinary Days on the Trail

The wagons reached Dry Sandy on the afternoon of May 25th, 1875 . There was no water there, so they continued on to The Parting of the Ways.

Here was where the trail started to get really rough. The Everboths had bacon and biscuits with milk to drink for supper.

After they had eaten, Amelia and Pete came over to see if they could play. The Everboth children were allowed to play with them for a half of an hour. Joshua brought out his bat and ball and the six children played baseball until they had to go in.

Joshua, Katie, and Amelia were on a team while Pete, Melanie, and Jack were on another team.

Joshua hit a home run when his team was up to bat. How the others on his team cheered as he rounded the bases and headed for home! As Pete scrambled after the ball, he tripped and fell.

As Joshua and his team took the 'field', Papa was heard calling them in. They went back to the wagon and Pete followed them. 'Ask your Papa if you can spend the night with me,' he ordered Joshua and Jack.

So, they asked, and were consented permission. Joshua and Jack grabbed their bedrolls and raced Pete to his wagon.

It was a small farm wagon, unlike theirs, and they had very few things, but even so they had to sleep on the ground, along with snakes and bugs and other nasty things.

Jack could not sleep that night, so he had dark circles under his eyes when he got up the next morning. 'Did you not sleep well?' asked Mama tenderly.

'No, I did not sleep all night,' answered Jack.

'Well then, you get your self in the wagon and take a nap, and no 'buts' about it,' she told him firmly.

As it turned out, he could not get to sleep because the trail was so bumpy. So, Mama let him stay up and play with Daniel. Jack's bird was now almost full-grown, and because he had taken care of it so well, the magpie sat on his shoulder and sang loudly.

The bird had also learned to talk. Jack liked to hear her say these things.

'Pretty please!'

'I want some!'

'How are you?'

'I'm okay!'

'May I see that?'

'What are you doing?'



'Good bye!'


'It's raining!'

I want a cracker!'

The bird also knew the family members' names.



'Jack, Jack Jack Jack!'




The bird liked to say Jack's name best, so she would call out his name several times.

Jack had also taught the bird to make more sounds than just magpie sounds by imitating the calls of other birds. Daniel often helped him with this.

Katie, who was crooning softly to her pony to try to get her to sleep, spoke up sharply. 'Quiet down, will you?'

Daniel and Jack heard her mutter under her breath, 'Little brothers and their little friends can be such pests sometimes!'' even though Jack was nearly her age.

Melanie came in quietly just then, and looked under the big blue blanket that the family owned. When she saw what was under it, she squealed in delight. 'Look! Three darling puppies!' she said, picking up a small chocolate Lab.

Two days later, the train reached Green River, a wonderful place to stock up on water.

But when the family went back to the wagon with empty flour barrels full of water, they saw the big Mama yellow Lab nosing at a baby yellow one with a dark brown splotch on its back, and they knew in an instant that it was dead. The very next day, the little black Lab died, too.

Now only one puppy remained. The little one remaining was the chocolate Lab. Joshua had picked out a name for her and now called her to his side.

'Maple! Come here now!' And when she got there, he praised her, 'Good girl!' and gave her a small piece of meat that his Mama supplied him with for such a reason.

Maple tugged at the meat and dropped it.

Then, she jumped on it as if it was some kind of animal!

Joshua laughed and laughed. He could not stop laughing, and when Katie asked what had happened, he could not answer her.

Instead of waiting for an answer, Katie shrugged her shoulders and walked away.

He gave her a small piece of meat.

Finally, Joshua stopped laughing and kissed Maple.

He now had her 'Sit' and 'Stay' as he went out of the wagon. When he peeked in to the wagon to see if she was right where he had left her, he found himself staring right into her fuzzy little face!

She barked right in to his face, surprising him and making him fall down.

He got up and grinned ruefully at her. 'No treat for that piece of mischief!' he told her.


Just as the other children trooped in to the wagon, they heard Papa shouting, 'Church Butte, dead ahead!'

The people of the train were not prepared for what was lying in wait for them when they reached their next stop.

But, Melanie had read in the guidebook that Church Butte was unusually cold in the hot time of the year.

That was what lay in wait for them! They continued on immediately, even though they would rather have it cool than hot, but they wanted to get to Oregon City as soon as possible. They hoped to get there before the cold weather would start. It would not do much good wishing, even though they did it anyway.

The Everboths hoped and wished and prayed that they would get there before the cold would start. Unfortunately, their children did not. They, on the other hand, thought that it would be fun to travel in the snow, even though their Mama and Papa told them all the hazards that there was most likely to be.

But, they did not listen, but just went right on doing what they had been doing, which was playing catch with Joshua's baseball.

Finally, their Mama and Papa gave up trying to tell them entirely. 'But you will be sorry that you ever even said that if it happens!' threatened Papa menacingly.

As they turned to look at him, Jack said, 'We know that it won't, because we can feel it in our bones, right guys? You guys can't because you are too old.'

At that statement, Papa turned on him. 'No one, absolutely no one, will talk to me like that, I will not tolerate it any longer!' he stormed at them, making them shrink back and feel very small.

'S-sorry,' stammered Joshua.

'Get inside the wagon, now!' Papa shouted at them.

The children walked over to the wagon and timidly climbed in.

Papa glared at them for a moment longer, then turned back to driving the oxen. No one spoke for a while, and when they did, it was Mama saying, 'Time for bed.'

The children crossed into their own wagon, which was right behind their parents, and fell asleep almost instantly.

The boys did, that is.

Melanie and Katie lay in the dark for a number of long minutes.

Katie was just thinking, and none of the others knew what she was thinking.

Melanie was thinking, too, but Katie fell asleep after a couple of minutes.

Melanie lay awake in her bed long after every one else had gone to sleep. Thinking many thoughts but focusing only on one of them, she reached over and shook Katie's shoulder. She rolled over and looked up. 'What's on your mind, Mel?' she asked, concerned and sleepily.

'I was just thinking about how Joshua got picked up by Indians,' she replied, pausing.

In the instant that she said it, Katie was wide-awake. 'Are thinking that we might too?' she asked.

'No, just go back to sleep. I think that I will just keep it to myself for a while.' Melanie said sleepily.

Katie looked at her quizzically for a moment, but did finally roll over and go back to sleep.

Melanie put her arms behind her head and lay there for a while. Then, by the light of the moon, she wound her way through their things and got her diary.

This is what she wrote.

May 27th

Today we went to play baseball, and then Papa called us in. Jack retorted, and the rest of us got in trouble.

Oh, well, all of us have our bad days. Indians picked up Joshua, and I thought that perhaps we might get picked up too or even attacked!

Melanie was finished writing in her diary, so she put it away.

Katie asked her what she was doing, and Melanie replied writing. 'Now, go to sleep, and so will I!' she said.

So, they did, and the wagons traveled on through the peaceful night.

The next morning, the train stopped and rested, because everyone had taken turns driving the wagons.

Joshua drove the wagon for around an hour, and then he handed the reins to his brother, Jack. 'I'm glad that Papa let us drive the oxen,' Joshua told him as he slid over on the wagon seat.

'Yeah!' agreed Jack. 'Do you know why he let us drive them?' he asked.

'No, why?' questioned Joshua, who was puzzled.

'Because they wanted to sleep longer!' Jack laughed.

Joshua joined in the laughter, but they soon quieted, for fear of waking up their parents.

Chapter 17

The Fourth of July

Ten days before the Fourth of July, the wagons passed Castle Bluffs, Ancient Bluffs, and Chimney Rock Vista. The next stop would be North Platte River, where they would get water. When they got there, the men of the wagon train got together and decided to take the ferry. It cost five dollars for each person that went across.

The ninth wagon that went across tipped, and the people that had not yet gone across were mad and did not take the ferry. There was a big dispute over this, but many still did not go across.

In a couple of days it would be would be the fourth, and the people of the wagon train wanted to be dressed up for this occasion. Mama and the other girls and women of the train baked pies, cakes, and other good things all day that day, so they could be prepared for the Fourth.

Katie and Melanie had each been allowed to pack an extra dress for Oregon. Now, the dresses that they wore were old, torn up, and dirty. They could not help this, though.

'Mother, my lips hurt,' complained Melanie on the after noon of the day before the Fourth.

'Well, rub some axle grease in them,' suggested Mother.


After a while, though, Melanie decide that it would be worth the stink, because her lips were now bleeding. She took a soft washcloth and dipped it into the water pan. She wiped her lips, and, before they could start to bleed again, she rubbed a lot of axle grease on them.

Mama saw how much she had put on, and she exclaimed, 'My goodness, Melanie!'


'You put much more than needed on your lips!'

'Oh,' she said.

Mama helped her wipe it off, and then she gave the excess to Katie.


Late that afternoon, Papa was walking toward his wagon, which was at the back of the wagon train, when he saw a figure climbing into the wagon. He thought that it was just a member of his family, so he was in no hurry.

When he saw the wagon stop, however, he started to worry. Papa began to run, and as he neared the trailing wagon, he sensed a musty smell in the air.

Papa cautiously peeked around the edge of the wagon cover, and, much to his astonishment, he saw a man with a gun. This gun was aimed at his wife and at his children! Papa crept up onto the wagon tongue, which the man was not facing, and leaped toward the man.

When he was midway through the air going toward the fellow turned around and fired suddenly. The shot went through the wagon canvas, and this gave Mama a chance to pick up a rolling pin, used for rolling out dough, and bop the guy on the head with it.

Papa tackled the man, who was now stunned by the blow to his head. Melanie and Katie started to cheer, but Mama motioned for them to stop.

'You mean this wasn't a play of some kind?' asked a puzzled Katie.

'No, Katie, it wasn't a play, it was real.' replied Mama grimly, giving the man another rap on his head.

The girls then realized how serious it was, and Katie ran to get the wagon master while the rest stayed in the wagon.

The wagon master hurried back to lagging wagon. Before he did, though, he told the other wagons to stop, and then he followed Melanie to the back of the train. When he got there, he found the man unconscious and Papa sitting on top of him. When the man regained consciousness, he found himself with his hands tied behind his back, and he was propped up against a tree.

'Hey, what's goin' on here?' he asked with an accent.

'What's going on, is you were holding up a family at the end of the train!' the wagon master snapped.

The man struggled against the rope, but the men had tied it very tightly and the fellow could not break loose.

'What's your name?' demanded Father.

'Bailey Gateras!' said the man in a voice that trembled as he talked.

'By the way,' said Mr. Catemade. 'When we were in Nauvoo, I remember seeing a poster, or sign, that had the name of a wanted man on it. The wanted man's name was Bailey Gateras!'

Everyone gasped.

The wagon master continued. 'This man is wanted for horse theft, and I believe that he would have killed your family, Jeffery, to get what he wanted!'

'Yes, I believe he would, too!' exclaimed Father. He walked up to the man and stuck his finger into the guy's face.

'Look, you!' he said loudly. 'You leave my family alone. When we get to Oregon, we are going to turn you in! Now I'm not a sheriff or anything, but I can keep you tied up until we get you to the sheriff's office!'

The wagon master agreed, and told the man that he had the right to remain silent. 'Even though Jeffery is not a sheriff, I used to be one!'

The man cowered down from Dave Catemade, who was towering over him. 'I wouldn't have done nothing, honest!' he protested.

'I'm sure you wouldn't have!' exclaimed the wagon master, hauling the man to his feet.

Dave took the man to his wagon and dumped him into the wagon. The man howled, but not because he was hurt. He howled because he had to stay tied up and had to ride in a wagon.

The wagon master paid no attention to him, though, and just climbed up onto the seat of the wagon and picked up the reins. He started to drive just as though nothing had ever happened.

Papa went back to his wagon, and the rest of the men went back to theirs.

When Papa got back to his wagon, he was bombarded with a bunch of questions, seeing how the children had been made to stay in the wagon.

'What did he do?'

'What did you do to him?'

'Where is he?'

'Did you let him go?'

'Can I see him?'

'What's his name?'

'Why did he hold us up?'

Papa held up his hands for silence, and then he answered the questions one by one. 'He didn't do anything, we put him into a wagon, he is in the back of the wagon master's wagon, no, we did not let him go, no, you may not see him, I don't know why he held us up.'

The children were satisfied with these answers and went back to what they were doing, but before long, Jack looked up. 'Father, I asked what his name was. You never answered. What is it?'

'What?' asked Father.

'I said, what is his name?' Jack repeated.

'Oh. It was Bailey Gateras,' replied Father.

'What a weird name,' remarked Joshua.

'Don't make fun of people's names, Joshua. Even if they are outlaws, it is against our rules to make fun of them,' Mama chided him.


After the day was over and everyone was in bed, everyone fell fast asleep. Tomorrow, the kids would tell their friends about it. Katie, Melanie, Joshua and Jack also planned to write to their friends about it. They were also going to tell them about all the other stuff that had happened to them.

Their letters would not reach their friends for another year, though. They would still be happy to get them, though.


Early the next morning, Katie woke up to hear firecrackers going off. Jumping out of bed, she ran to help Mama get breakfast. But, Mama shooed her off saying, 'Off with you! While I fix breakfast, you and the others go see what your Papa has for you!'

Scampering off, Katie woke the other children and led the way to their father. 'What is it that you have for us, Father?' asked Melanie.

'Why, what makes you think that I have anything for you?' questioned Father, a wide smile almost splitting his face in two.

'Because Mama said so,' replied Jack.

'Oh, well, in that case, I'll show you,' said Father, reaching into his pocket.

His hand stopped for a minute, and he started to say something, but he stopped and continued pulling it out. Then the children saw that he was pulling out a bag with firecrackers in it.

'Now, you can have your own firecrackers to shoot off,' he said, giving each of them a match and giving Joshua the bag. 'I want you to split them evenly,' he commanded.

'Yippee!' Melanie shouted, and Katie and Jack followed her lead.

'Okay!' they shouted, running off to use the firecrackers.

Shaking his head and smiling broadly, Papa slowly got up and went inside the wagon, watching his lively children shooting off the firecrackers and enjoying themselves. Later that day when the children went in they found their Mama and Papa sleeping. 'S-h-h-h-h!' said Jack, who had gone in first.

The children tiptoed into the wagon and opened a bag. This bag held candy. Joshua pulled out a handful of pieces, and then he jumped to the ground. He was about to eat them when he decided to put them back.

'Why?' asked Jack.

'Because it's wrong,' Joshua replied.


Instead of taking candy, all of the children ran off to play. Soon, they had rounded up all of their friends, who, all put together were, Amelia, Daniel, Pete, and many others.

They gathered into a group so they could decide what to play. They finally agreed on tag, and then they would play baseball.

After about ten minutes, everyone in the group was tired of playing tag. So, the boys got out their bats and baseballs, and they set up the bases. Katie found first base, which was a large flat rock. Running toward the group, she held it out. 'Look what I found!' she shouted excitedly.

'Good find!' exclaimed Pete, taking it from her.

'I found a good one for third base!' shouted Daniel, giving him an old board.

The board was painted bright red, and some of the paint had come off, but it was still good. Melanie found home base, and Jack found second.

Soon, the teams were ready to play, except for one thing. 'Now we need to pick team captains, positions, and teams,' Joshua announced.

'That's right,' agreed Pete.

'I vote for Melanie!'

'I vote for Joshua!'

'I vote for Jack!'

'I vote for Joshua!'

'I vote for Pete!'

'I vote for Amelia!'

'Whoa!' shouted Pete, holding up his hands for silence.

In the end of all the arguing to see who would be team captains, Amelia was one, and Joshua was the other.

'I want first pick!' shouted Joshua immediately.

'Good! Then I get first up!' exclaimed Amelia, jumping up and down and clapping her hands.

'I pick Pete!' said Joshua.

'I want Daniel!'



This went on until everyone was picked. Amelia got Jack, Ike, and Nellie, and Joshua got Harry, Mike, and Noah.

Ike and Mike were twin brothers that were eleven years of age.

Harry was a twelve-year-old boy that Pete had introduced to the team, who had just joined the wagon train about a week ago. Harry was a shy boy, and no one had yet met him except for Pete.

Noah was Pete's older brother, the same one who had thrown the pie at Joshua and Pete.

Nellie was a twelve-year-old snobby girl who thought that things should be done her way.

Nellie got picked last, and no wonder! When she found out that she was the last one left, she wailed. It was Amelia's turn to pick, but she did not want Nellie.

So, Nellie wailed. She wailed louder than anyone had ever heard. She then ran screaming back to her wagon, but before she got there, Amelia's shout reached her. 'I pick Nellie!'

Amelia turned and rolled her eyes at Joshua, but he did not notice. Nellie turned around and ran back toward the team.

Her black curls bobbed as she ran, and some fell on her face. She pulled them out of the way and ran to the pitcher's mound. She ordered the others into position, even though she was not the team captain.

Joshua's team lined up at the plate, and Joshua went first. He got the bat into position behind his shoulder, scuffed his feet, and gave the signal to start the game.

Nellie threw the first ball, and it went way outside of where Joshua was. The second went right between his legs, but the third one was a different story.

This ball he hit so hard that it went right over Nellie's head, right over Ike's head, and smack into Katie's glove.

She was stunned because f the impact for a moment, but then she recovered and threw the ball to third base, where Joshua was headed. The third baseman caught the ball just as Joshua reached the base, but he was out.

He headed back toward home base, trudging unhappily. He did not stay unhappy for long, though. Pete was up next, and Joshua knew that Pete was a good hitter and a good runner.

Surely he would get a hit!

Sadly, though, he did not. Nellie's pitches were so wild that he struck out!

Joshua was really sore now, so when Pete went to the back of the line to bat again, he started to yell.

'Pete, what's wrong with you?'

'I don't know! Her pitches are really wild! I think that we need a new pitcher!'

'Why do you think that?' asked Joshua.

'Well, just, because! She's gonna strike us all out! We'll lose the game!'

Joshua called for time out, and went over to talk to Amelia.

She agreed with him, and she in turn went out to talk to Nellie. Nellie got mad, but she left the mound. Instead of going to the back f the line to bat, however, she made a beeline for the edge of the playing area. She sat down with a huff and watched the game.

Unfortunately, she was sitting right where the outfield was posted. Jack was up next, and he got one strike.

Then he got a ball, and then another strike. The third swing he took, though, was different. This ball went flying into the outfield, and hit Nellie full in the face.

'AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' screamed Nellie.

Jack rushed over to her, apologizing all over the place. 'Nellie, are you okay? I'm really, really sorry!'

Nellie had a black eye by this time, but it was not bleeding too profusely. She got up and walked toward her wagon.

After her mother, Annie May Parker, had taken care of her daughter's eye, she told her daughter this: 'Dear, you shouldn't be too mad at Jack! After all, it was your fault, not his!'

'Yeah, I guess you're right,' said Nellie.

Secretly, way down in her mind as she walked back toward the playing field, she was thinking, It was his fault! And all the others, for that matter! They told me I couldn't be pitcher, so I'

Nellie stopped thinking about what she had done, and instead walked up to Jack.

'That's okay, Jack,' she replied.

'I really am sorry that I hit you, Nellie,' Jack said.

'Like I said, that's okay!'

'Well, guys and gals, should we get back to playing ball now?' asked Pete.

'Yeah!' shouted a chorus of voices.

Nellie asked if she could be the pitcher again, and after asking Amelia, he agreed.

Nellie went out to the pitcher's mound and picked up her glove. She caught the ball that Joshua threw to her, and wound up to pitch. 'Wait a minute!' yelled Noah. 'It's your turn to be up, so Mike is still the pitcher!'

Nellie looked at him for the moment, and then got off the mound again. Joshua and his team took the field again, and they played on until the end of the afternoon.

By the end of the game, they were all hot, tired, and sweaty, and they were ready for a break. Even Nellie wanted to take a break.

Everyone headed back to his or her own wagons to wash up. They agreed that they would all meet and play another game after supper had been eaten.

Joshua, Melanie, Katie and Jack trudged back to the wagon and climbed in. Mama greeted them, and they greeted her. 'How did your game go?' asked Mother.

'Oh, it went okay, except for Nellie got hit in the face with a ball,' returned Joshua, dipping his hands into the deep dishpan. He poured the water over his face, and then wiped his hands on a towel that Mama provided him with.

Just then, they heard the wagon master call; 'We will camp here until tomorrow so that we may enjoy the Fourth.'

Sooner than they realized, evening came. As they ate dinner, Papa announced that they were starting off as soon as they were done their dinner.

'But, Father! I was going to meet Amelia in the morning!' wailed Melanie.

'Well, you'll have to wait until some other time,' replied Father.

They did just that. No one paid any attention to them as they left. They were all asleep, so how could they?

The next morning, by the time the rest of the members got up, the family was well on their way.


As the oxen slowly plodded along, the children grew more and more restless.

Fort Laramie loomed into view after a couple of hours. They had already eaten their lunches, and now they wished they hadn't.

Papa had promised them that they would eat their lunch in Fort Laramie, but they had not yet seen it, so the children went ahead and ate them. 'Look, Father! A place to buy more things!' cried Melanie.

The family went in together and bought several things that they needed, including ice cream, as a treat. Since the ice cream would melt, Papa made everyone eat some, including Mother.

She did not want any, but Papa told her to eat some anyway. She did, and was surprised to find that it was the best ice cream that she had ever eaten.

The trail was very muddy and made the wagon harder to pull after they left the fort. The morale in that wagon was very high.

If you had been there, you would have heard singing and laughing. That afternoon Mama announced that they had traveled well over 400 miles. 'That is pretty good if you ask me,' said Mother.

One hour and three minutes later, they reached Register Cliff, a large chunk of rock sticking out of the face of the cliff. Papa asked, 'How would all you like to take a rest to run around and play? We have traveled without stopping for over sixteen hours now.'

His statement was agreed on heartily. Sooner than they expected, the children were hot and they asked what the temperature was. When told that it was 74 degrees, they decided that they would sit in the shade of the wagon instead.

'Mother, may we make dinner tonight?' pleaded Katie.

'Oh, I suppose,' replied Mother.

'What are you going to make?' asked Father.

'We thought that we would make a vegetable salad. You know, the kind with potatoes, lettuce, onions, and other things.'

'That sounds good,' Mama said, smiling at them. 'Why don't you make it now?'

'Okay!' they said, rushing off.

Here and there, Melanie and Katie found things to put in the salad. They found mini onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, lettuce, beans, and several other things that were considered delicacies.

If you are wondering where they got all these things, they got them from an old garden. This garden was still growing things, even though the house was abandoned.

Joshua and Jack decided to explore this old cabin, and the girls wanted to go with them.

Mama reminded them, however, that they had to make supper.

Chapter 18

Melanie' s Disaster

The day after that, Melanie ran to ask the wagon master a question. Would he please do the trading day tomorrow? And, his answer was 'Oh, I suppose so!'

She thanked him quickly and ran home before anyone had time to miss her. The next day, Trading Day was announced. When he heard of it, Papa pulled out the moneybag and handed each child one dollar.

'You may each have this money to use for trading. Spend it wisely, though,' he told them.

They all thanked him, and looked down at the money in their hands. That was the most money they had ever received, and they were shocked to be allowed that much money!

Papa shooed them off, and they went.

'Well, what are you waiting for?' he asked when they stopped again to look at their money. 'Go on!'

So, off they scampered to spend their money.

Joshua bought a carving knife and a small mink skin from Mr. Johnston, the hunter. Jack bought twenty rolls and five large bass, and Katie bought a bale of hay and a small package of alfalfa.

Melanie, on the other hand, while she was looking around, her rolled up, rather crumpled looking one-dollar bill fell out of her pocket and fell on the ground.

When she finally decided on what she wanted, she reached for her money, but to her horror, it wasn't there!

She searched all around for it, but she could not find it. As she walked dejectedly back to the wagon, her foot kicked something metal.

When she bent over to pick it up, she saw that it was a knife! In fact, it was Pete' s new hunting knife!

She knew who's it was because Pete had shown it to them.

Then, she had a thought. Why not hold it for ransom until he gave her something for it?

She went over to his wagon, and told him, 'I have your knife! Give me 75 cents and ten eggs if you want it back!'

Pete looked out of his wagon and saw Melanie holding up his knife. He jumped down and raced toward her. She took off.

'You can't get it!' she mocked him.

He came out at those words and tried to get it from her, but she was as fast and agile as a monkey. He could not get it.

Speaking in a calm voice, he said, 'Did you lose a one dollar bill? I found one under my wagon. I'll go get it if it is your bill.'

Relief spread over Melanie's face as she nodded. 'Is that why you were so riled up?' he asked her.


As he handed the bill to her, she gave Pete his knife.

'Thanks,' they both told each other at the same time. Running quickly to the fifth wagon in the line of wagons, Melanie spent her money on a big bag of candy, a sewing kit, two loaves of bread, and a small sack of beans.

When they all got home from trading, they showed each other what they had gotten.

Jack had had a metal band made for his bird. Mr. Johnston had made it for him. Joshua's prize was his long, sleek carving knife. Katie, on the other hand, got the hay and alfalfa for her pony and her pony's baby. They all admired Melanie' s big bag of candy and they got a piece in return.

Just a couple of minutes later, Mama and Papa came in. 'Guess what I got!' cried Papa gleefully.

When they could not guess it, he showed them a bag. 'This has four different kinds of meat and eight different skins in it!' he said.

As if in cue, they all said together, 'Wow!'

Mittens ran up to Melanie just then and dropped a dead mouse at her feet. 'E'e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eww!' she screamed.

Katie thought it was real at first, and screamed.

The boys knew that it wasn't alive, and so did Mama and Father. Melanie was grossed out by it, even though she did know that it was dead.

Katie even ran away from it and was teased by the boys until who knows when.


That night, Melanie felt so bad about what she had done that she told Mama and Papa the whole story. She ended with, 'I'm really, really sorry, and I will try to make up for it.'

Papa looked at her and said, 'Why don't you go apologize right now?'


Melanie hopped out of the wagon carrying a large loaf of homemade bread. She walked slowly over to Pete' s wagon and apologized. Soon, she was walking back to her own wagon with a happy look on her face. Pete had accepted her apology, and forgiven her!

When she got back to the wagon, Papa told her that she was grounded for a week.

'Okay,' she said grumpily.

Papa told her that he was proud of her for telling him what she had done, and she shook her head.

'I don't know why I did it in the first place!' she said.

Papa agreed, and Melanie crossed over to her wagon and went to bed early.

The whole family had heard of the saying, 'Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.'

That night they all went to bed shortly after Melanie.

They all fell asleep fast, and none of them stayed up past ten-o clock. They were all very tired from the events of the day.

Mittens dropped a mouse at her feet.


The boys even told their friends about what happened with the mouse, and then they teased her until she told Mother. Mama came out and told them to stop, because Katie had not known that the mouse was real, and she had been scared of it.

'It is not nice to do that,' Katie told them after Mama had left.

Joshua stifled a giggle, and Katie saw it. 'I am going to tell Mom on you again if you do not stop that,' she demanded with her hands on her hips.

Joshua stopped laughing and stared straight ahead, saluting her. She glared at him for a moment, then went inside to help Mama with the dishes.

After she had watched him laughing with his friends about what he had just done, it made her blood boil. She told Mother, and somehow she managed to calm down somewhat.

'But, Mother, should I just do nothing?' protested Katie.

'Oh, I don't think that you are doing nothing, Dear! Do you remember that time when we had devotions, and Papa read about turning the other cheek?' Mama tried to calm Melanie down to the point that she could talk to her.

'Y-yes, I guess I do,' agreed Katie, a light dawning on her face. She smiled and said, 'Yes, I do! I just won't pay attention to their teasing!' she exclaimed, a triumphant look covering her face. 'Thanks, Mother, that made me feel much better.'

Chapter 19

A Large Mud Puddle

When the wagons reached Name Rock, there was hardly enough room to put the Everboth's names. Many of the people in the wagon train did not have room to put their names, so they sometimes wrote on top of other people's names and dates.

Daniel, Jack's friend, was one of those many people. Amelia wrote her name next to Melanie and Katie's names, and then drew a heart around it and wrote 'Best friends forever.' 'There!' she said triumphantly. 'Now we will be best friends forever, right?'

'Right!' cried Melanie and Katie at the same time.

They went back to the train together, laughing at jokes that they were telling to each other. When they got back, they found that the men were readying the oxen and the wagons to go.

The girls separated and went to their own wagons. Just then, Jack came running up with Daniel panting behind him.

'Guess what! I just sold my big old turtle for ten cents!' he shouted, and before they had time to congratulate him, he ran off to find someone else to tell about his good news.

'Wow! He sure was in a hurry!' exclaimed a voice behind them.

They whirled around to find Joshua and Pete standing behind them. 'Oh, it's just you,' Katie said with relief in her voice.

'Mama said that we, I mean just us kids can eat at Pete' s place tonight, if we are good up until then,' said Joshua.

'Do you have any sisters, Pete?' asked Katie.

'Yes, I do have a three year old sister named Janet, and then there is my snobby old thirteen year old big bossy sister, and then all that is left is my baby brother, Brian,' he replied with a sigh.

She replied, 'Oh, well.'

Melanie told him, 'We'll be there.'

By the time they had gotten to Fort Bridger, all of the children in the Everboth wagon, even Nathan and Paul, were seated in a circle on the floor of the Haver's wagon eating dinner.

They had beans, maple syrup, and biscuits for dinner, and then they went outside and played tag until dark fell.

As both families of children went home, each one called, 'Come again soon!'

Early the next morning, they got to a flooded place in the trail. Papa started to walk around it, but when he was only about halfway around, he slipped and fell right splat in the middle of an enormous mud patch, and, my, how the children did roar!

'Don't laugh, it's not funny!' Papa told them loudly. 'Now Mama will have to wash these clothes again!'

Ruefully, he looked down at his clothes in dismay.

After he had gone into the wagon, the children burst out laughing again. They stopped quickly, though, when they heard a shriek from the Everboth wagon.

They ran to the wagon quickly to find out what the matter was. There on the floor of the wagon lay Mother, holding her head as if she was in a daze.

When she had caught sight of Papa and his muddy clothes, she had fainted, but woken up quickly.

Papa asked anxiously if she was all right, and she replied that she was.

Then, the children asked her the same question, laughing at the sight of Father, and Mama again replied to the question with a yes, also stating that Papa had asked the same question.

Chapter 20

Prairie Fire

Early the next morning, the trains started out for Grave Spring. They had already stopped at Fort Bridger and gotten biscuits, butter, and ham.

For breakfast that morning they had baked ham and biscuits covered with hot maple syrup. Boy, oh, boy, was it good! 'Thanks, Mom,' the children chorused together.

Nathan and Paul just cooed, looking wide-eyed at their mother.

'You're welcome,' she replied.

Just then, the children started to ask a lot of questions.

'What is the next stop?' asked Joshua.

'Where are we?' asked Jack.

'When are we going to get there?' asked Melanie.

'Do you need any help?' asked Katie.

'Can we go outside?' asked Jack.

'Yes!' Mama said. 'Do go outside, and stop driving me crazy!'

Late that afternoon, the heat was blistering hot. The men stopped the oxen every few hours when they could find shade.

But, overall, no one really got any cooler than they had been before. Joshua dumped a bucket of water on Jack, and he said, 'Ahhhh!'


During lunch, a few of the women in the train ate their lunch quickly and went down to a little stream at the bottom of the hill to cook bread.

They were cleaning up where they had eaten, when suddenly there came a blood - curdling scream from the depths of the hill, and then came a great splash. 'Help!' someone cried.

People looked up and put down their lunch. They looked worried.

Many of the men jumped up and ran down the hill at top speed, including Father. Papa beat them all down, but pulled up short when he saw a great fire, right where the women had been cooking.

He raced back to the wagons along with the other men and grabbed three blankets. Then he ran down to the river where the fire wasn't and soaked the blankets thoroughly.

He called, 'Joshua! Jack! Come and help us put out the fire! Soak some more blankets!'

As they hurried to do it, they heard him call, 'Hurry!'

Soon, with all the men and boys working together, the fire was out. The women cautiously went into the remains of the fire to see what they could salvage out of it.

Mama found a piece of blackened bread, her skillet, and several other things.

People were tired, and several women had been scorched, and several had died.

That afternoon, the men buried the dead people.

They all rested for the day, and early the next morning they started out again. The day they reached Grave Spring, West End of the Sublette Cutoff, and they ran into heavy fog and had to stop for the day.

Late in the afternoon the next day, the train reached Thomas Fork, and they caulked the wagons and floated across.

Two of the wagons flipped over, and two other families took them in. It rained that night, and the boys could not sleep under the wagon because the water would run under the wagon and get them all wet.

As the wagons went up the 'Big Hill' the next day, the Everboth's wagon tipped over and they lost a water keg.

'That's bad!' said Joshua

'Not too awful bad,' Mama assured him.


When they got to Smith's trading post site, they found another one, which was an answer to their prayers. They also found a fishing pole, and, under a board, a lot of worms.

'Mother!' cried Jack. 'Look what we found!'

Mama looked, and she saw all the worms they were holding, and ordered them to put them in something and wash their hands.

'Do you have anything for us to put them in?' asked Jack.

Mama thought about it and started to look for something for them to put the worms in.

Mama gave them an empty can that she wasn't using any more to keep them in. The wagons continued until they ran into a heavy fog layer at 5:39. Then they had to wait for the next day to arrive, for the fog continued late into the night.

The next day began this way:

'Father, will we ever get there?' asked Katie with a sigh.

'Well, it won't be for about another couple of months, because we are only about halfway there,' replied Father, also sighing, but because he was tired, not because he was bored.

As the train reached Soda Springs, Melanie asked, 'Father, let''s make soda when we get to the springs! I know how to because I read it in the guidebook!' She added, 'Will we? Please?'

'Oh, I suppose we can do that, if you read on how to,' replied Father.

''Oh, I did! Thank you, Father!' she cried.

So, Melanie and Katie, when they got there made a lot of soda and gave some to each family of the train.

This is how they did it. First, they got some of the water and then got some sugar. They mixed it together, added some more ingredients, and there was their soda!

It was not the same kind of soda that we have today, but it was soda!

During the next couple of days, the train passed Sheep Rock, and they rested there. The children in the train played baseball again, and then the girls played hopscotch. 'I have an idea! Let's put on a show for everybody!' exclaimed Melanie. 'You know, with animals?'

Melanie decided that she was going to have Mittens ride on top of Flower, and Katie would have Baby Cakes dressed up. The boys would have a race on the horses, and Nathan and Paul would ride the cow.

Maple would prance along with Maggie, the bird on her back, and the bird would sing 'Victory in Jesus', which Jack taught her to sing.

They started to make the things that they would need, and it took quite a while to do it.

When they reached Fort Hall, they decided to have the show.

Melanie and Joshua got some sticks and made a ring, and the set up a tent. They put the tent at the side of the ring, and the show started.

Joshua went out into the ring with Pete, and said this. 'Ladeez and Gentlemen!'

People snapped to alert, waiting for the show to start.

'Today is a show of animals, including, Maggie the dog rider, Baby Cakes, the Mexican horse, Mittens, the Flower rider, Nathan and Paul, our two little twin boys on a Spanish cow, and several boys racing on horses!'

People cheered and clapped.

Pete and Joshua went back to the tent, and the others were ready in a jiffy. 'Okay, let's go!' Joshua whispered.

First, out pranced the cow with a blanket draped across its back and Nathan an Paul on it. When it was out of the tent, Mittens on Flower followed.

After her came Maple and Maggie, and then out came Baby Cakes, who was dressed up as a Spanish horse with Katie, a Spanish person at her side.

People started to clap, and the show went on with people laughing and cheering at the parade marching around the ring.

When the show ended, everyone clapped loudly.

Everyone congratulated them, and told them that they had done a marvelous job. Pete' s Papa even flipped them each a coin, and said 'Good job! Best show I've seen in a long time, and it deserves a tip!'

'Wow, money!' exclaimed Katie.




Pete's Papa even went up to little Nathan and Paul and gave them each a nickel. He winked at them, and they giggled.

Papa took the coins from them and put them away for safekeeping.

After that night, they started out at around five o' clock and reached Raft River. To decide how to cross it, the wagon master gathered together a group of men to discuss it.

All of the men had a conference and they decided that it would be the wisest decision to caulk the wagons and float across.

By the time all the wagons had crossed, it was time to circle for the night.

Around seven o' clock the next morning, the wagons reached California Trail Junction and they took the trail that led to Oregon City.

Late that evening, when the Everboths got to Caldron Linn, Papa told them that it was called that because it was a rushing river full of rocks.

The people traveling on the train could not see it very well, because it was almost dark.

They rested that night, and since the next day was Saturday, they slept in. Papa got up with a start, and, rushing to the front of the train, started before most people were awake.

The oxen in the wagon behind the front wagon instantly started moving when the lead horse did, and all the oxen behind those followed it.

Lots of the people woke up when the train started moving.


Late that afternoon, Mama saw something white and red by the side of the road. She got out to investigate, and saw that it was a lamb, badly hurt and barely alive. She carried it to the wagon and cared for it the rest of the day.

At the end of the day, Katie came in and asked, 'Mother, where did you get that lamb? Did someone give it to you?'

'No, I found it by the side of the trail,' she replied.

The lamb was just about healed the next day, and ran from person to person, bleating as she went. Mama had named her Dawn. Everybody loved the little lamb, and when she got big enough, Mama promised Nathan that he could ride on her.

Of course, the lamb might not like this, but she told him that he and Paul could anyway. Paul was small enough, and, with Mother's help, he got onto Dawn and rode around for a little while. He laughed and giggled so hard that once he almost fell off.

Mama laughed with him. Amelia' s Mama was an experienced drawerartist, and drew a picture of him.

When she was done, she handed the picture to Mother. 'Why, thank you!' exclaimed Mother.

Mama found a lamb by the side of the road.

Mama showed Papa the picture, and he thought that it was very good. Mama then told what he thought of it to Amelia' s mother, who was pleased and thanked him. She then drew a picture of Papa driving the wagon in the lead.

She gave that one to the Everboths, too. Mama strung a piece of yarn through both pictures and hung them from the wagon ribs that held up the wagon cover.

'Gooooo, Ga!' cried Paul, stretching his arms toward the pictures.

'No, Paul, you may not have those pictures,' Mama reprimanded him.

Chapter 21

Close to Oregon

It was now July 28th, and Papa was getting worried that they would not get to Oregon in time. That afternoon, they got to the next landmark, Rock Creek Gorge.

They rested there for a while, because it was nice out, and the children wanted a chance to play. Again, they played baseball. The next place that they got to was called Kanaka Rapids, and Joshua and Jack asked, 'Father, may we please go fishing in the rapids? We will be very careful not to fall in!'

'Oh, all right, but do be very careful!' cautioned Father.

'Thanks!' they said as they ran off with Daniel and Pete.

Almost immediately after Joshua threw his line in, he felt a tug on the line. The fish soon jumped into the air, and when Joshua saw how big it was, he planted his feet firmly, but the strength of the fish pulled him into the river.

'Hey!' he shouted when he got wet.

'Jack, help me!' he shouted to his brother.

Jack dropped his pole and looked for something to help his brother with. However, he could not find anything right off.

On the way, Joshua hit his head on a rock and his fingers loosened on the fishing rod. Jack ran to get help as Pete dove in after him. Daniel ran along side of them, looking for a branch.

He found one, and by that time, Pete had caught up with Joshua and grasped him under the chin. Daniel stretched the stick out to them and yelled 'Grab on!' above the sound of the rushing water.

Pete clutched wildly for the stick and managed to get a grip on it. Daniel started pulling them in, which was hard for an eight year old, and all of a sudden, Joshua's Papa and his Papa were there helping.

It all happened so fast, and the boys found themselves wrapped in blankets, lying down.

The train passed Thousand Springs and Upper Salmon Falls that day, and still the boys that had been in the water were no better. They had both gotten a cold from being in the water.

Pete and Joshua were allowed to get out of the wagon to look at the Three Islands. The Snake River Crossing was very hard to cross because the wagon was very tipsy and the water was very rough.

But, unfortunately, by the time they had gotten to Lytle Pass, Mama thought that they had something other than just a cold.

By the time they had reached Bonnville point, the Everboths were almost out of food. 'It sure is a good thing that the next stop is Fort Boise!' declared Mama on October 10th.

Papa agreed with her, saying, 'Yes, all we have left to eat is dried bread and salted pork from our pig that died.'

At eight-o'-clock that night, the wagons rolled into Fort Boise. The soldiers let the people camp out inside the fort that night and agreed to let them buy their things the next morning at sunrise.

Very early the next morning, before anyone else got up, Papa went out to hunt. He rode Laddie, one of the horses from his team.

He tethered Laddie a ways away from where he was going to shoot, and after a spell, a bear came into view. As it came closer, Papa saw that it was a grizzly bear, the most dangerous bear in the west.

He knew that it would take at least five shots to kill it. But, he decided to take the chance and pumped three bullets into it. The bear growled and charged at him, obviously mad.

Papa sent a bullet into its wide-open, snarling mouth and the bear slowly slowed down, then fell heavily to the ground. Papa knew that a bear could have after-effects if not shot properly.

He sent two more bullets into it before approaching the body. Fortunately, it was dead. Papa hoisted it up onto Laddie's back and the horse bolted because of the weight.

Papa calmly soothed the horse, talking softly to him. He then walked the horse slowly back to the fort, and when he got there, the wagon master helped him skin the bear and wash it.

He put the skin in the children's wagon so they could use it.

Then, he awakened his family, and they all went shopping. They got just as much food as they would need until they got to Fort Walla Walla, which means ' lots of water'. All of the soldiers stood at the gate and waved. When the wagons where out of sight, they shut the door and went back in.

That afternoon, when the wagons got to the final Snake River Crossing, a lot of wagons had to lighten their loads, because the oxen were straining with all their might.

The Everboths got rid of about one quarter of their things. It was plain, after they had crossed the river, that the oxen were relieved of a lot of weight.

When they stopped to rest at East Cow Hollow, Papa replaced the oxen that were pulling with fresh ones being driven behind the wagons. After they had gone on for a while, Papa called a halt.

'Men, I think that we need to go faster, or we will never get there before winter.'

Father's words had an effect on them, and by the end of the day, they were all the way to Farewell Bend.

They were not that far from Flagstaff Hill, but they were forced to stop because it was getting dark rapidly.

Early the next morning when the Everboths got up, they found two surprises.

First, Mittens had had kittens during the night, and Maple, now grown, had had puppies.

Mittens had kittens during the night.

Long before, Joshua's yellow Lab had died. Melanie and Joshua stayed in the wagon when they reached Flagstaff Hill, because they were tending to their pets and naming the newborns.

When they reached Grande Ronde River, however, they got out to view the sights.

After they got to a large hill, they had to get out because the men were going to pull the wagons up with anchors and chains. When they got to the Blue Mountains, however, they put all the babies in a towel and put Mittens and Maple on leashes that they had made.

Melanie carried the babies, and Joshua held the leashes. 'The babies are cute, aren't they, Joshua?' asked Melanie as she peeked at them through the towel.

'Yes, I think so, but how are we ever going to name them all?' he inquired.

'We can name one of them every day!' suggested Melanie.

As the oxen were getting ready to go down the other side, Papa and a couple of big horses brought a big log and hitched it to the back of the first wagon to slow it down on going down the mountain.

That way, the oxen could be led down slowly after the wagons.

It took two more days to get the rest of the wagons down the hill. By the end of the next week, everyone was almost out of food and water, but they were almost at Whitman's Mission.

When they got there, to their delight, they found two tins of biscuits, a fishing pole, and a frying pan.

Then, Joshua saw Maple sniffing at something. He went over to see what it was, and saw that it was a bottle of dish detergent. 'Look what Maple found, Mother!' he yelled.

'Oh, good!' Mama exclaimed.

She patted Maple on the head, and Maple licked her hand. She went back to the wagon and everyone followed her. That evening, she had Katie help her wash dishes.


The next morning, everybody slept in to rest for the big day that they had ahead them. Joshua and Papa were the first ones to get up, and Papa let him help drive the oxen.

That day in the early afternoon, the trains reached Umatilla River.

My, you should have heard the cheer that went up! They continued immediately on to Echo Meadows, where they spent the rest of the day getting hay and bundling hay up for the horses and oxen.

All in all, the Everboths got four bales of hay.

They kept one in the wagon to sit on, and tied the other three on top of the wagon. When Nathan and Paul woke up from their naps, they crawled over to the hay and pulled out handfuls at a time.

That, of course, was not very big, for they were just babies. The next place that they stopped was the place that they stopped for the night, which was Four-Mile Canyon.

'Mom, can we go play?' asked Katie the next morning

'Oh, all right, but try not to get lost,' said Mother.

Joshua and Melanie, at these words, ran off into the woods. The wagons had stopped for the nooning, so they figured that they would have plenty of time to get back. They ran off, and, when the wagons started rolling, they were nowhere near the train.


In the meantime, Joshua, Melanie, and Katie had found some strawberries. While they were having fun filling themselves, Katie heard a low, grumbling sound.

She turned around with a whirl, and there, standing right behind her, was a gigantic bear.

She screamed and started running with Joshua and Melanie right behind her. After they had run for a long time, the bear gave up and stopped chasing them.

They stopped and looked around. They saw an old man coming toward them, and before they had a chance to run, he called out to them.

'Come spend the night with me. I will help you find your way back to the trail in the morning.'

They stopped and looked toward him. 'What do you want?' Joshua asked.

The man motioned for them to come closer and they cautiously walked toward him. 'Don't worry, I won't bite!' he said when he saw they were a tad frightened.

They walked toward him more confidently now, and finally reached him.

They stopped about two feet from him. 'What now?' asked Joshua.

The old man motioned for them to follow him, and they did. He led them through the woods in silence for a while, and then asked what they were doing in the woods.

'We were lost!' Katie piped up.


The rest of the way there, they were silent. 'Come in,' he said when they reached a cabin.

Melanie turned and saw a bear standing close behind her.

They accepted, because they were tired, hungry, and it was growing dark.


During the time that the wagons went from Four-Mile Canyon to Dechutes Hill, which was two days in-between, nobody knew that they were missing.

Mama had sent her children to spend a couple of days in their own wagon, so she did not worry about it.

But, when they reached the Dalles, Amelia came up to her and asked, 'After we cross the river, can I play with Katie? Or is she sick?'

That was when Mama began worrying. 'I sent her to spend the week in their wagon!' she said.

'She never even came over!' replied Amelia. 'Mama thought that you had canceled the time for her coming over!' she said. 'And Joshua and Melanie are nowhere to be found either!'

Mama got Father, and he told her that it was too late to turn back now, but after they got there, they would send out a search party to look for them.

In the meantime, they would stop worrying and help the wagons cross to the other side.

By the end of the day, everyone was across. Mama asked the children's Papa that night; 'Can't just we turn back for the kids?'

She pleaded for all she was worth, but the answer was still no.

Chapter 22

Oregon At Last

The next morning, laden with food and supplies, Joshua, Melanie, Katie, and the hermit set out for the trail. They, of course, were on horses.

They trotted swiftly through the woods and finally broke through the foliage onto the trail.

They followed it for the rest of the day, and crossed two rivers. The next day, the hermit reassured them, they would catch up to the train. But, they did not.

'Oh, my!' Katie said. 'Will we ever get there?'

The hermit assured her that they would, and finally told them his name. 'My name is Zechariah.'

'Wow! Like in the Bible?' asked Melanie.

'Yes, like in the Bible,' the hermit answered.

Now, they decided to take turns naming Bible verses until they reached the train of wagons.

'Hosea 7:5,' Melanie said. 'In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.'

Now it was Joshua's turn. 'Matthew 7:7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened up to you.'

Then, Katie said a verse. 'John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'

'Very good!' Zechariah praised her.

'Thank you!' Katie said, blushing.

It was the day after that they caught up. My, how people did cheer! Katie asked, 'What is the place where we are right now?'

And Mama told her, 'We are at McCord Creek.'

Papa added, 'We are only two stops away from Oregon City!'

They looked for the hermit to be able to thank him for all he did, but he was gone.


The next day, they reached Fort Vancouver, and stayed there for a whole day, trading and buying things.

Papa bought a saw, a pick, an ax, and a hatchet. These things were for building the new house when they got settled. On they went.

At the end of the day, Papa led them proudly into Oregon City. As the sun set in the west, Papa came out of the claims office with a big smile on his face. 'We got 1,834 acres of land!' he exclaimed.

'Yyyyaaaaaaayyyyyyy!' they yelled.

'When are we going to build a house, Father?' asked Jack.

'As soon as possible,' he replied.

They all piled into the wagon and headed out to their land claim. When they got there, they all got out and walked around a little to get used to the land a little.

Then they all put their arms around one another with Mama and Papa each holding either Nathan or Paul, and the children leaning on each other, and watched the sun sink in the evening sky.


All of a sudden, there was a loud buzzing sound and Joshua and Katie appeared under the now-open canopy of the first in a lifetime time machine!

After regaining themselves after such an adventure, they hopped out of the rocket shaped machine and ran downstairs. 'Dad! Dad! We tried out that time machine you made and it really works! Come try it, please?'

'It does? Really? It really, honest to goodness does?' exclaimed Dad, rushing up the stairs after them.

They took him into the panel that they had made behind their closet, and showed him the panel for editing in names.

They showed him the names that they had edited in. 'See, we did Jack, for our step brother, and Melanie for our sister, and yours and Mom's names, so you would be in it.'

Joshua told him.

'Yeah, and we met some neat friends while we were in it, and their names were, let's see, there was Amelia, Daniel, Pete, Betty, and, hmm, can you think of anyone else, Joshua?' said Katie.

'There was Noah and Janet,' Joshua said thoughtfully.

'Yeah, and Brian!'

'Don't forget Torondo!'

'Who is Torondo?' asked Dad.

'Torondo is the Indian that took me back to the wagon train when I got lost!' Joshua told him.

'Oh, I see,' Dad said. 'How did you get lost?'

'Oh, I was naughty and ran away to find some cactus pulp, and I got lost. So when I found an un prickly cactus, I slept under it, and when I woke up, he found me and took me back.' Joshua told him, face to the floor.

'Why did you do that?' asked Dad.

'I don't know.'

'Where is Mom?' asked Katie.

'She's at the store, getting some plants for our new greenhouse,' Dad replied. 'When she gets back, we will all have lunch, and then we will all take a trip in the time machine I invented!'

They all laughed, and Dad went with them up into the attic to see all the things they had done. 'Look!' said Katie, as a sheet of paper fell to the floor. 'Our list of adventures just got finished printing out!'

'So it did!' said Dad, looking at the sheet. 'It makes a lot, too. That gives me an idea! Why don't we all go on more adventures, and then once we have had a lot of them, we can make them all into a bunch of books!'

'Say!' exclaimed Joshua. 'That's a great idea!'

'Do you think so?' asked Dad.

'Oh, yes!' said Katie.

'I cannot wait to tell Mom and Jack about all our adventures. We were in there for about an hour, weren't we, Dad?' questioned Katie.


'Listen!' said Joshua, cocking his ear. 'I think Mom is home! I hear the garage door opening! I also hear Jack's voice!'

'Me too!' exclaimed Katie. 'Let's go!'

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