COMMANDING AND OBEYING
About an hour after breakfast, Jonas with the oxen, and Oliver and Josey with the horse, were slowly moving along up the road which led back from the pond towards the wood lot. The wood lot was a portion of the forest, which had been reserved, to furnish a supply of wood for the winter fires. The road followed for some distance the bank of the brook, which emptied into the pond at the place where Jonas and Oliver had cleared land, when Jonas first came to live on this farm.
It was a very pleasant road. The brook was visible here and there through the bushes and trees on one side of it. These bushes and trees were of course bare of leaves, excepting the evergreens, and they were loaded down with the snow. Some were bent over so that the tops nearly touched the ground.
The brook itself, too, was almost buried and concealed in the snow. In the still places, it had frozen over; and so the snow had been supported by the ice, and thus it concealed both ice and water. At the little cascades and waterfalls, however, which occurred here and there, the water had not frozen. Water does not freeze easily where it runs with great velocity. At these places, therefore, the boys could see the water, and hear it bubbling and gurgling as it fell, and disappeared under the ice which had formed below.
At last, they came to the wood lot. The wood which they were going to haul had been cut before, and it had been piled up in long piles, extending here and there under the trees which had been left. These piles were now, however, partly covered with the snow, which lay light and unsullied all over the surface of the ground.
The sticks of wood in these piles were of different sizes, though they were all of the same length. Some had been cut from the tops of the trees, or from the branches, and were, consequently, small in diameter; others were from the trunks, which would, of course, make large logs. These logs had, however, been split into quarters by a beetle and wedges, when the wood had been prepared, so that there were very few sticks or logs so large, but that Jonas could pretty easily get them on to the sled.
Jonas drove his team up near to one end of the pile, while Josey and Oliver went to the other, where the wood was generally small. While Jonas was loading, he heard a conversation something like this between the other boys:—
“Let’s put some good large logs on our sled,” said Josey.
“Well,” said Oliver, “as large as we can; only we’d better put this small wood on first.”
“I wish you’d go around to the other side, Oliver,” said Josey again; “you’re in my way.”
“No,” said Oliver, “I can’t work on that side very well.”
“Then I mean to move the old General round a little.”
“No,” said Oliver, “the sled stands just right now; only you get up on the top of the pile, and I’ll stay here.” “No,” said Josey, “I’d rather stand here myself.”