After their luncheon, the boys began to talk about the best place for a window for the wigwam.
“I think we will have it this side, towards the brook,” said James, “and then we can look out to the water.”
“No,” said Rollo, “it will be better to have it here, towards where Jonas is working, and then we can look out and see him.”
“No,” said James, “that is not a good plan; I do not want to see Jonas.”
“And I do not want to see the water,” replied Rollo. “It is my wigwam, and I mean to have the window here.”
So saying, he went to the side towards Jonas, and began to take away a bough. James came there too, and said angrily,
“The wigwam is mine as much as it is yours, for I helped make it, and I will not have a window here.”
So he took hold of the branch that Rollo had hold of. They both felt guilty and condemned, but their angry feelings urged them on, and they looked fiercely at each other, and pulled upon the branch.
“Rollo,” said James, “let go.”
“James,” said Rollo, “I tell you, let my wigwam alone.”
“It is not your wigwam.”
“I tell you it is.”
Just then they heard a noise in the bushes. They looked around, and saw Jonas coming towards them. They felt ashamed, and were silent, though each kept hold of the branch.
“Now, boys,” said Jonas, “you have got into a foolish and wicked quarrel. I have heard it all. Now you may do as you please—you may let me settle it, or I will lead you home to your mother, and tell her about it, and let her settle it.”
The boys looked ashamed, but said nothing.
“If you conclude to let me settle it, you must do just as I say. But I do not pretend that I have any right to decide such a case, unless you consent. So I will take you home, if you prefer.”
The boys both preferred that he should settle it, and promised to do as he should say.
“Well, then,” said he, “the first thing is for you, Rollo, to go over the other side of the brook, and you, James, to stay here, and both to sit down still, until you have had time to cool.”
The boys obeyed, and Jonas went back to his work.
The boys sat still, feeling guilty and ashamed; but they were not penitent. They ought to have been sorry for their fault, and become good-natured and pleasant again. But instead of that, they were silent and displeased, eyeing one another across the brook. Jonas waited some time, and then came and called them both to him.
“Now,” says James, “I will tell you all about it, and you shall decide who was to blame.”
“I heard it all, and I know which was to blame; you, James, came here to see Rollo, and found him building a wigwam. It was his wigwam, not yours. He began it without you, and was going on without you, and when you came, you had no right to assume any authority about it. You ought to have let him do as he wished with his own wigwam. You were unjust.”