The boys came to the fireplace, to see what they were going to have for breakfast.
“Boys,” said the farmer’s wife, while she was turning her cakes, “go and call Amos in to family prayers,—and Jonas.”
“You go, Oliver,” said Josey.
Oliver said nothing, but obeyed his mother’s direction. He went into the barn-yard, and he found Amos and Jonas at work in a shed beyond, getting down a sled which had been stowed away there during the summer. It was a large and heavy sled, and had a tongue extending forward to draw it by.
“What are you getting out that sled for?” said Oliver.
“To haul wood on,” said Jonas. “We’re going to haul wood after breakfast, and I want to get all ready.”
There was another smaller and lighter sled, which had been upon the top of the heavy one, before Amos and Jonas had taken it off. This smaller sled had two shafts to draw it by, instead of a tongue. Jonas knew by this, that it was intended to be drawn by a horse, while the one with a tongue was meant for oxen.
“Oliver,” said Jonas, “I think it would be a good plan for you and Josey to take this sled and the old General, and go with me to haul wood.”
“Well,” said Oliver, “I should like it very much.”
“We can all go up together. You and Josey can be loading the horse-sled, while I load the ox-sled, and then we can drive them down, and so get two loads down, instead of one.”
“Well,” said Oliver, “I mean to ask my father.”
“Or perhaps,” continued Jonas, “you can be teamster for the oxen, and Josey can drive the horse, and so I remain up in the woods, cutting and splitting.”
“No,” said Oliver, “because we can’t unload alone.”
“No,” said Jonas; “I had forgotten that.”
“But I mean to ask my father,” said Oliver, “to let me have the old General, and haul a load down when you come.”
So saying, the boys walked along towards the house. The sun was now shining beautifully upon the fresh snow, making it sparkle in every direction, all around. They walked in by the path which Oliver and Josey had shoveled.
“Why didn’t you make your path wider?” said Amos. “This isn’t wide enough for a cow-path.”
“O, yes, Amos,” said Jonas, “it will do very well. I can widen it a little when I come out after breakfast.”
When they got to the door, Jonas stopped a moment to look around. The fields were white in every direction, and the branches of the trees near the house were loaded with the snow. The air was keen and frosty, and the breaths of the boys were visible by the vapor which was condensed by the cold. The pond was one great level field of dazzling white. All was silent—nothing was seen of life or motion, except that Darco, who came out when the door was opened, looked around astonished, took a few cautious steps along the path, and then, finding the snow too deep and cold, went back again to take her place once more by the fire.