Little House: Let's Read Big Woods, Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is hilarifying because Ma slaps a bear.

Pa goes out of town to sell furs and ends up being out all night. He's fortunate; he thinks he runs into a bear whilst out in the dark Big Woods without his gun, but it ends up being just a tree stump. But, still, hungry bears and panthers and snakes, oh my!

And we're sort of back to my "spread your survival skills people" advice for your upcoming zombie apocalypse. And I'm also wondering what the hell Ma was supposed to do with three little children if Pa did die? Presumably she'd have to marry again, post-haste -- something like 50% of their food and 100% of their income comes from Pa. Which is kind of scary, actually. So I'm not going to dwell on that any further.

BEAR SLAPPING TIME.

   Laura was surprised to see the dark shape of Sukey, the brown cow, standing at the barnyard gate. Ma was surprised, too.
   [...] Ma went up to the gate, and pushed against it to open it. But it did not open very far, because there was Sukey, standing against it. Ma said,
   “Sukey, get over!” She reached across the gate and slapped Sukey’s shoulder.
   Just then one of the dancing little bits of light from the lantern jumped between the bars of the gate, and Laura saw long, shaggy, black fur, and two little, glittering eyes.
   Sukey had thin, short, brown fur. Sukey had large, gentle eyes.
   Ma said, “Laura, walk back to the house.”
   So Laura turned around and began to walk toward the house. Ma came behind her. When they had gone part way, Ma snatched her up, lantern and all, and ran. Ma ran with her into the house, and slammed the door.
   Then Laura said, “Ma, was it a bear?”
   “Yes, Laura,” Ma said. “It was a bear.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.You just know that bear went home and told all the other bears how badass the Ingalls were and not to mess with them again.

   Then Ma said it was bedtime. She helped Laura and Mary undress and button up their red flannel nightgowns. They knelt down by the trundle bed and said their prayers.
   “Now I lay me down to sleep,
   I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
   If I should die before I wake,
   I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Here's an interesting fact: my parents used a modified version of the rhyme, so that the last two lines were "guide me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light", presumably because I was morbidly afraid of death or they thought I might be or something. Did anyone else's parents do that?

8 comments:

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

My parents did not modify the prayer, so we said it as is.

I was terrified of dying while I slept. When I was 11, my grandfather died in his sleep. To this day, whenever I can't hear sleeping Spouse's breathing (or snoring), I panic, and worry that he's dead.

★☆ keri ☆★ said...

I actually had this fancy...I don't know, porcelain doll sculpture plaque thing? I only vaguely remember it, but it was fancy and sculpted and hung on the wall, and printed or painted in a lovely pink-gold script was the prayer with 6 lines or so. The first 4 with the dying part, and then an additional 2 with the "guide me through the night" part. I really, really hated it so it didn't stay in my bedroom for very long and I don't know what happened to it, but the hatred was because the prayer terrified me, and the picture/bas-relief of the child praying was really terrifying besides. :P

I remember the first panic attack I had, when I was seven or eight years old (though it only occurs to me now that it was a panic attack - classic symptoms!). I thought I was dying, and all I could think about was that stupid plaque and that made it even scarier.

My parents never taught us to pray before bed, though. It's a bit odd looking back, because they pushed religion in a lot of other ways. I ended up thinking that it was old-fashioned and only weird evangelical people did it, so when we had a babysitter once that said "okay, time to say bedtime prayers" I rebelled and read a Nancy Drew book instead (and then had a minor panic). (In my mind evangelical = Church of God/Pentecostal types like my grandparents' church, which also scared me, because of the shouting and fear-of-God stuff.)

Brin Bellway said...

I don't think I ever said it, but there was a wall-hanging in my room with that (unmodified) prayer on it. I don't even know why. I don't think it ever bothered me in that respect*, even in the depths of my death-terrors when the labels on car sun-shields with "Death or Serious Injury May Occur (blah blah blah)" bothered me.

*Sometimes it bothered me having a prayer hanging in my room. I would not have chosen to have any prayer, morbid or otherwise, hanging in my room.

EdinburghEye said...

I was brought up a Quaker, and Quakers don't do bedtime prayers. (Silent grace before meals, though, which confused the heck out of my sister's friend Grace.)

JenL said...

Here's an interesting fact: my parents used a modified version of the rhyme, so that the last two lines were "guide me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light", presumably because I was morbidly afraid of death or they thought I might be or something. Did anyone else's parents do that?
Unmodified. We did do bedtime prayers, and I'm sure that's where I learned it. We also did prayers before each meal. And the thing was, dad would call on someone fairly randomly, and you had to be able to come up with a prayer. And despite learning a few basic ones (like that one), your prayers were never supposed to be just rote repeating of a saying. You were supposed to come up with something ... well, it was supposed to be heartfelt and natural. But there was this HUGE pressure, because not having anything to say to the big guy meant you weren't really living a life of paying attention to him - but what kid really has anything particularly new and interesting to say *to G-d* in front of the entire family a few times a week? Especially when you had to work in a "BTW, thx 4 the food"?

Amaryllis said...

I knew the unmodified version, but I can't remember ever being required to say it. Or that it bothered me.

As for grace before meals, all Catholics (at least all American Catholics, afaik) say the same one: BlessusohLordandthesethygiftswhichweareabouttoreceivethroughChristourLordAmen.

Said just like that. But my family wasn't big on family prayers at regular meals, we'd say it on holidays and join on on school occasions and like that.

depizan said...

I was raised by atheists, so there was a decided lack of praying in my household. I had enough trouble with fear of death as a kid that I hate to think what being forced to say the usual bedtime prayer would've done. Nothing good, I'm sure.

Danel said...

My family's fairly mushy CoE, so we never really said prayers at home, but I still remember the grace before meals used at school, both the Infant school version: "We fold our hands and softly say, Thank you God for our dinner today, Amen," and the Junior school version: "For what we are about to receive, may the lord make us truly thankful, Amen,"

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