PART I. The Wild Land
3. CHAPTER III
One Sunday afternoon in July, six months after John Bergson's death,
Carl was sitting in the doorway of the Linstrum kitchen, dreaming
over an illustrated paper, when he heard the rattle of a wagon along
the hill road. Looking up he recognized the Bergsons' team, with
two seats in the wagon, which meant they were off for a pleasure
excursion. Oscar and Lou, on the front seat, wore their cloth hats
and coats, never worn except on Sundays, and Emil, on the second
seat with Alexandra, sat proudly in his new trousers, made from a
pair of his father's, and a pink-striped shirt, with a wide ruffled
collar. Oscar stopped the horses and waved to Carl, who caught up
his hat and ran through the melon patch to join them.
"Want to go with us?" Lou called. "We're going to Crazy Ivar's to
buy a hammock."
"Sure." Carl ran up panting, and clambering over the wheel sat
down beside Emil. "I've always wanted to see Ivar's pond. They
say it's the biggest in all the country. Aren't you afraid to go
to Ivar's in that new shirt, Emil? He might want it and take it
right off your back."
Emil grinned. "I'd be awful scared to go," he admitted, "if you
big boys weren't along to take care of me. Did you ever hear him
howl, Carl? People say sometimes he runs about the country howling
at night because he is afraid the Lord will destroy him. Mother
thinks he must have done something awful wicked."
Lou looked back and winked at Carl. "What would you do, Emil, if
you was out on the prairie by yourself and seen him coming?"
Emil stared. "Maybe I could hide in a badger-hole," he suggested
"But suppose there wasn't any badger-hole," Lou persisted. "Would
"No, I'd be too scared to run," Emil admitted mournfully, twisting
his fingers. "I guess I'd sit right down on the ground and say my