Guest post by Laura McLemore
Sometimes life imitates art, sort of. When my daughter was in Kindergarten many years ago a little girl in her class had beautiful long hair which she wore in braids. One day she came to school with her hair cut in a cute, short pixie cut. It seems that her cat loved to sleep in her bed at night. The cat also loved her hair, so much so that in the night he chewed off one of her braids while she was sleeping! I was immediately reminded of chapter three, “The Necessary Cat.”
In this chapter Pa comes in one evening completely exasperated. It seems the pesky gophers had been enjoying his recently planted corn a little too much. Apparently in this new unfarmed country, gophers had never tasted corn before and to them, it was a brand new delicacy. He was going to have to replant most of his cornfield. As Pa told his story, Grace remembered the little ditty that Pa had taught her about planting 4 kernels of corn in the previous chapter. Pa changed the rhyme just a bit to create a pun:
One for the gopher
Two for the gopher
Three for the gopher
Four don’t go fur
According to Laura, Ma frowned at the pun as she didn’t like puns but had to laugh at the naughty look Pa gave her. I have always wondered why Ma disliked puns so much. Anyway, Pa and Ma discuss the necessity of a cat and mourn the loss of Black Susan from Little House in the Big Woods. Unfortunately, a cat isn’t to be had in Dakota Territory. Or so they thought.
Later that night, Laura is awakened by a gasp, a grunt and the sound of something soft hitting the wall. She listens through the thin wall as Pa speaks of a dream that he had been having about getting his hair cut. It was so real he could hear the snip, snip, snip of scissors. He reached up, half asleep and was startled to find something chewing on his hair. He figured it was a mouse and threw it against the cabin wall. Ma, disbelieving at first, felt his head and discovered a palm size bald spot in the top of Pa’s head. The next morning, they found the barber and indeed it was a mouse. Ewwwww!
So, long story short, Pa goes to a meeting and comes home with a tiny newborn, blue and white kitten. He admits that it was too little to be away from its mama but he was afraid if he didn’t buy it then (for the princely sum of $.50) someone else would. Everyone admires the kitten and then the chapter is over.
I am enjoying my revisit to Little Town on the Prairie. I had forgotten that many of the things I love about the series happen in this book: name cards, rocking the desk, getting sent home from school, the party at Ben’s home, lunatic fringe and of course, her first encounter with Mr. Almanzo Wilder. Hmmm, maybe the musical should have been called “Little Town on the Prairie.”