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?