They lay there drying a good many weeks. The leaves turned yellow and brown, and the little twigs and sticks became gradually dry and brittle. Rollo used to walk down there often, to see how the drying went on, and sometimes he would bring up a few of the bushes, and put them on the kitchen fire, to see whether they were dry enough to burn.
At last, late in the autumn, one cool afternoon, Jonas asked Rollo to go down with him and help him pile up the bushes in heaps, for he was going to burn them that evening. Rollo wanted very much that his cousins James and Lucy should see the fires; and so he asked his mother to let him go and ask them to come and take tea there that night, and go out with them in the evening to the burning. She consented, and Rollo went. Lucy promised to come just before tea-time, and James came then, with Rollo, to help him pile the bushes up.
Jonas said that the boys might make one little pile of their own if they wished; and told them that they must first make a pile of solid sticks, and dry rotten logs as large as they could lift or roll, so as to have a good solid fire underneath, and then cover these up with brush as high as they could pile it, so as to make a great blaze. He told them also that they must make their pile where it would not burn any of the trees which he had left standing, for he had left a great many of the large oaks, and beeches, and pines, to ornament the ground and make a shade.
Rollo and James decided to make their pile near the brook, between the bridge which Jonas made of a tree, and the old wigwam which they had made some time before of boughs. They got together a great heap of solid wood, as large pieces as they could lift, and at one end they put in a great deal of birch bark, which they stripped off, in great sheets, from an old, decayed birch tree, which had been lying on the ground near, for half a century. When this was done, they began to pile on the bushes and brush, taking care to leave the end where the birch bark was, open. After they had piled it up as high as they could reach. Rollo clambered up to the top of it, and James reached the long bushes up to him, and he arranged them regularly, with the tops out. So they worked all the afternoon, and by the time they had got their pile done, they found that Jonas had thrown almost all the rest of the bushes into heaps; and then they went home to tea.
They found Lucy there, and they were all so eager to go to the bonfires, that they did not eat much supper. Their father told them that, as they had so little appetite, they had better carry down some potatoes and apples, and roast them by the fires. They thought this an excellent plan, and ran into the store-room to get them. Their mother gave them a basket to put the potatoes and apples into, and a little salt folded up in a paper. They were then so impatient to go that their parents said they might set off with Jonas, and they themselves would come along very soon.