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Paul Hutchens' memories of childhood adventures around the fishing hole, the swimming hole, the island, and the woods that surround Indiana's Sugar Creek inspired these beloved tales. Format: eBook Set. Add to cart. Reviews There are currently no reviews. We all studied the two broken twigs, and I knew that Poetry was right. The one pointing to the right looked a lot fresher break than the one pointing to the left. Why, it might even have been made today! And for some reason, not being able to tell for sure just how long it had been since somebody had been right here making the trail, I got a very peculiar and half-scared feeling all up and down my spine.
I looked at my Man Friday and at my fat goat to see what they thought it was. Right away before I could read their thoughts, there was another trembling high-pitched voice which answered Circus. I also wanted to run. In a jiffy we all felt better and said so to each other. The newest broken twig right beside us was pointing in the direction the sound came from, so we decided there was probably a lake right close by which is where loons nearly always are—out on some lake somewhere swimming along like ducks, and diving and also screaming bloody murder to their mates.
My fat goat and I were walking together ahead of my Man Friday and my acrobatic goat. It certainly was a queer feeling we had though, as we dodged along, talking about our mystery and wondering where we were going, and how soon we would get there. All our minds were as blank as the blank letter and not a one of us could think of anything that would make it make sense, so we went on, following our trail of broken twigs. Right that second we came to a hill. I looked ahead and spied a wide expanse of pretty blue water down below us. Between us and the lake, on the hillside, was a log cabin with a chimney running up and down the side next to us, and a big log door.
We lay there for what seemed like a terribly long time before any of us did anything except listen to ourselves breathe.
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I was also listening to my heart beat. It was certainly the craziest looking weathered old house, and it looked like nobody had lived in it for years and years. The windows had old green blinds hanging at crooked angles, some of the stones had fallen off the top of the chimney, and the doorstep was broken down and looked rotten. Poetry and I made my Man Friday and the acrobatic goat stay where they were while we circled the cabin, looking for any other door and any signs of anybody living there. The only door we found was one that led from the cabin out onto a screened front porch, but the porch was closed-in with no doors going outside, on account of there was a big ravine just below the front of the house and between it and the lake.
So we knew that if anybody wanted to go in and out of the house he would have to use the one and only door or else go through a window. We circled back to Dragonfly and Circus, where we all lay down on some tall grass behind a row of shrubbery, which somebody years ago had set out there, when maybe a family of people had lived there. Paul or Minneapolis, or somewhere, and had built the cabin up here. I noticed that there was a cement pavement running all around the back side of the cabin, which was set up against the almost cliff-like hill.
Also there was a very long stone stairway beginning about twenty feet from the old spider-web-covered door and running around the edge of the ravine, making a sort of semi-circle down to the lake to where there was a very old dock, which the waves of the lake in stormy weather, or else the ice in the winter, had broken down, and nobody had fixed it.
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We waited in our hiding place for maybe about ten minutes, listening and watching before we decided nobody was inside, and before we decided to look in the windows and later go inside, ourselves. Anyway, we, all of us, were pretty soon peeking in through the windows, trying to see what we could see, but it was pretty dark inside, so we knew if we wanted to see more we had to find some way to get in. Say, Dragonfly got the scaredest look on his face.
We found a window on one side of the cabin right next to the hill, which on that side of the house was kinda like a cliff, and that window, when we tried it, was unlocked. We could have ducked under some trees for protection, but it was that kind of rain that sometimes comes when it seems like the sky has burst open and water just drives down in blinding sheets, which it started to do.
He quick shoved up the window 31 and scrambled in, with all of us scrambling in after him and slamming the window down behind us. The rain was coming down so hard that it made a terrible roaring noise on the shingled roof, reminding me of storms just like that back at Sugar Creek when I was in the haymow of our barn. If there was anything I liked to hear better than almost anything else, it was rain on a shingled roof. Sometimes when I was in the upstairs of our house, I would open the attic door on purpose just to hear the friendly noise the rain made. It was pretty dark inside the old cabin on account of the walls were stained with a dark stain of some kind, maybe to protect the wood, like some north woods cabins are.
It was also dark on account of the sky outside was almost black with terribly heavy rain clouds. Also there was a white enameled sink and an old-fashioned pitcher pump like the one we have outdoors at our house at Sugar Creek. The main room where the fireplace was, was in the center of the cabin and was so dark you could hardly see anything clearly, but I did see two big colored pictures on the back wall of the porch at the front.
On the front porch where I was, were two or three whiskey bottles, I noticed, and one with the stopper still in it, was half 32 full, standing on a two-by-four ledge running across the front. I could see better out here, although the terribly dark clouds in the sky, and also the big pine trees all around with their branches shading the cabin, made it almost dark even on the porch, but I did see two big colored pictures on the back wall of the porch advertising whiskey, and with important looking people drinking or getting ready to.
Circus was standing with me right then, and I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, remembering how his pop used to be a drunkard before he had become a Christian, but had been saved just by repenting of his sins and trusting the Lord Jesus to save him. Say, Circus was looking fiercely at those pictures, and I noticed he had his fists doubled up, like he wished he could sock somebody or something terribly hard.
I left Circus standing looking fiercely at those whiskey pictures, and looked out at the lake which was one of the prettiest sights I ever saw, with the waves being whipped into big white caps, and blowing and making a noise which, mixed up with the noise on our roof, was very pretty to my ears.
Away out on the farther side of the lake there was a patch of sunlight and the water was all different shades of green and yellow. Right away there was a terrific roar, as a blinding flash of lightning lit up the whole porch, and then it did rain, and the wind blew harder and whipped the canvas curtains on the porch; and the pine trees between us and the lake acted like they were going to bend and break.
Six white birch trees that grew in a cluster down beside the old outdoor stone stairway that led in the semi-circle from the cabin down to the broken-down dock, swayed and twisted and acted like they were going wild and might be broken off and blown away any minute. The wind had changed its direction and was blowing parallel with the shore, instead of toward it, and other high waves were trying to go at right angles to the ones that were coming toward the shore.
It was a terribly pretty sight. All of a sudden while I was standing there, and feeling a little bit scared on account of the noise and the wind and the rain, I got to thinking about my folks back home, and was lonesome as well as scared; and also I was thinking that my parents had taught me that all the wonderful and terrible things in nature had been made and were being taken care of by the same God that had made growing boys, and that He loved everybody and was kind and had loved people so much that He had sent His only Son into this very pretty world, to die for all of us and to save us from our sins.
My parents believed that, and had taught it to me; and nearly every time I thought about God, it was with a kind of friendly feeling in my heart, knowing that He loved not only all the millions of people in the world but also me—all by myself—red-haired, fiery-tempered, freckle-faced Bill Collins, who was always getting into trouble, or a fight, or doing something impulsive and needing somebody to help me to get out of trouble. Imagine that little guy saying that! I took another quick look at the little moving mountains on the lake and pretty soon we were all inside where Circus had been all the time looking around to see what he could find.
It had a fierce-looking tiger head with a wide-open mouth on the end of each arm, which gave me an eery feeling when I saw them, which I did right away, when Circus lit one of the matches he had with him. It certainly was the darkest cabin on the inside I ever saw. The walls were almost black, and the stone arch at the top of the fireplace was black with smoke where the fireplace had probably smoked when it had a fire in it. There was only about an inch of the candle left.
Circus lit it while Poetry held it, and we followed Poetry all around wherever he went. The noise of the storm and the dark 35 cabin made it seem like we were having a strange adventure in the middle of the night. There were spider webs on nearly everything, and dust on the floor, and it looked like nobody had lived here for an awful long time, maybe years and years.
Besides the front porch there were just the three rooms—the kitchen with the sink and pitcher pump, the main room with the fireplace and a smallish bedroom which had a curtain hanging between it and the main room. In the bedroom was a rollaway bed all folded up and rolled against a wall. So since the rain was still pouring down, we decided to call a meeting and talk things over. We pulled the three stiff-backed chairs up to the table in the center of the main room, and also the big chair, which I turned sidewise, and I sat on one of the wooden arms.
Poetry set the short flickering candle in a saucer in the center of the table, and I, being supposed to be the leader, called the meeting to order, just like Big Jim does when the gang is all present. We talked all at once, and also one at a time part of the time, and not one of us had any good ideas as to what to do, except when the storm was over to follow our trail of broken twigs back to where the girl had been found and from there to the road and back to camp. Sometimes on a hunting trip when he catches a possum, he skins it before going on, and leaves the carcass in the woods or in a field.
I could hardly believe my eyes, but there it was as plain as day, something that looked like writing—scratches and longish straight and crooked lines, and down at the bottom a crazy drawing of some kind. And Poetry was right.
Right in front of our eyes as I held the crazy looking lines close to the candle, the different lines began to be clearer, although they still looked like water marks. Dragonfly turned as white as a sheet, with his eyes almost bulging out of his head. For a jiffy I was as weak as a cat, and my hands holding the paper were trembly so, I nearly dropped it. In fact, as quick as a flash, Poetry grabbed my hand that had the paper in it and pulled it away from the candle or it might have touched it and caught fire.
You made that map yourself. Just above the X a little distance, we noticed there was a big V, a drawing of a broken twig, and a line pointing toward the cabin where we were right that minute. Also there was a line running from the top of the other arm of the V off in another 40 direction and kept on going until it came to a drawing that looked like a smallish mound; and lying across it was a straight short line that made me think of a walking stick or something.
I made the square, and then noticed there was a small circle at the opposite end of the straight line, so I traced that, and the whole map was done. The rain was still roaring on the roof, sounding like a fast train roaring past the depot at Sugar Creek. We all sat looking at each other with queer expressions on our faces and mixed-up 41 thoughts in our minds.
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I was smelling the dead something or other. The odor seemed to come from the direction of the kitchen on account of it was on the side of the cottage next to the steep hillside, which was as steep almost as a cliff, and right above its one window I noticed there was a stubby pine tree growing out of the hill, its branches extending over the roof.
I thought for a jiffy how smart the owners of the cabin had been to put that cement walk there, so the water that swished down the hillside could run away and not pour into the cabin. It was while I was at the window that I noticed there was an old rusty wire stretched across from the stubby pine tree toward the cabin. I yelled to the rest of the gang to come and look, which they did. It was through the top of a window in the bedroom.
It was Dragonfly who saw the edge of a newspaper sticking out of the crack between the folded-up mattress of the rollaway bed which was standing in the corner. He quick pulled it out and opened it, and we looked at the date, and it was just a week old. That night we were all going to have a very special campfire service, with Eagle Eye, an honest-to-goodness Chippewa Indian, telling us a blood curdling story of some kind—a real live Indian story. It was still raining pretty hard, and I had the feeling I wanted to go out and take a last look at the lake. On the wall of the porch I noticed a smallish mirror which was dusty and needed to be wiped off before I could see myself.
My red hair was mussed up like everything, my freckled face was dirty and my two large front teeth still looked too big for my face, which would have to grow a lot more before it was big enough to fit my teeth. Anyway, I was growing a little bit, and I had awfully good health and nearly always felt wonderful most of the time. For a minute I wished Little Jim had been with us,—in fact, I wished he had been standing right beside me with the stick in his hand which he always carries with him wherever he goes, almost I might be a general in an army, or a Governor or something—only I wanted to be a doctor, too, and help people to get well.
While I was standing there, thinking about that pretty lake, and knowing that Little Jim, the best Christian in the gang, would say something about the Bible if he was there, I remembered part of a Bible story that had happened out on a stormy, rolling lake just like this one. Then I remembered that in the story of Robinson Crusoe there had been a Bible and that he had taught his ignorant Man Friday a lot of things out of it and Friday had become a Christian himself.
All of the gang nearly always carried New Testaments in our pockets, so, remembering Robinson Crusoe had had a Bible, I took out my New Testament and stood with my back to the rest of the cabin, still looking at the lake. I felt terribly good inside, 45 with that little brown leather Testament in my hands. I was glad the One Who is the main character in it was a Friend of mine and that He liked boys. I guessed quick that one of my goats or else my Man Friday had actually found a radio in the cabin and had turned it on. There is a new angle regarding the ransom money still missing in the Ostberg kidnapping case.
In St. Paul, the suspect, caught last week at Bemidji by a gang of boys on vacation, still denies knowing anything about the ransom money; claims he never received it. Police 46 are now working on the supposition that there may have been another party to the crime. Residents of northern Minnesota are warned to be on the lookout for a man bearing the following description: He is believed to be of German descent, a farmer by occupation, about thirty-seven years of age, six feet two inches tall, weighs one hundred eighty seven pounds, stoop-shouldered, dark complexion, red hair, partly bald, bulgy steel-blue eyes, bushy eyebrows that meet in the center, hook-nose She also got a little happiness out of a radio which my folks had bought for her, and she listened to Christian programs which cheered her up a lot.
It had been a terribly hot day, and Circus and I had been helping shock oats too. Talk about mystery and excitement. The only thing I felt like leading in, was a very fast foot race out through the woods and toward camp. Poetry already had the radio shut off and all of us were as still as scared mice, listening, and also all of us were trying to peep through the opening in the curtain.
I noticed that John Till had a newish-looking fishing rod, which he stood against the wall by a window, then he turned his back, reached out of the window and bent his body over to pick up something that he had left out there. A jiffy later I saw what it was—a stringer of fish—what looked liked five or six big walleyed pike, and an extra large northern pike, which he probably caught out in the lake.
He lifted the stringer and I heard the fish go kerflippety-flop-flop into the sink, then I heard the iron pitcher pump squeaking like he was pumping water on the fish, maybe to wash the dirt and slime off of them. Even before I heard Dragonfly do what he did just then, I was afraid he would do it. He had his face up close to the curtain not far from mine, and all of a sudden he got a puzzled expression on his face, his eyes started to squint, and his mouth to open, and he made a quick grab for his crooked nose with one of his hands.
But it was too late. At that same instant John Till whirled around and looked through the main room and at the curtain behind which we were hiding. John Till jumped like he had been shot at and hit, and I expected most anything terribly exciting and dangerous to happen. First I saw him take a wild look around like he wanted to make a dash for a door or a window and disappear.
Its wicked-looking blade was about 5 inches long and looked like it could either slice a fish into steaks in a jiffy or do the same to a boy. Not a one of us had any weapons except our pocket knives, and also not a one of us was going to be foolish enough to start a fight.
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Then we could run like scared deer and get away. To make matters worse, Dragonfly sneezed again, and we knew we were found out for sure. I have passed sets and copies on to other fam ilies with children over the years. I have yet to hear anyone say they found them to be anything but delightful. Read full review. Skip to main content.
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About this product. Stock photo. New other : lowest price The lowest-priced item in unused and unworn condition with absolutely no signs of wear. Will include dust jacket if it originally came with one. Text will be unmarked and pages crisp. Satisfaction is guaranteed with every order. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. New other : lowest price. About this product Product Information The hilarious adventures of a gang of boys and their friends from Sugar Creek.
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