The Reaper's Song

The Reaper's Song by Lauraine Snelling Read Free Book Online

Book: The Reaper's Song by Lauraine Snelling Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lauraine Snelling
and all of our Amerika family,
We are well here, as I hope and pray all of you are too.
    A soft grunting from the child captured Ingeborg’s attention at the same time as a ripe odor floated upward. “Uff da. Astrid, could you not wait even a few minutes longer?” She glanced over to see the concentrated gaze of the child filling her pants.
    “Here, let me take her.” Goodie lifted the little girl and wrinkled her nose at the same time. “Pew! Let’s get you presentable for your admiring onkel.” She paused. “Or would you rather keep her as she is now?”
    Olaf shook his head. “I’ll wait.”
    The leaves of the cottonwood tree Ingeborg had planted when the soddy was built rustled in the breeze as she continued reading the letter aloud.
We have our tickets to leave Oslo on the first of August, so if God wills that all go well, we should see you before the end of the month.
    Ingeborg laid her hands in her lap. “They won’t be here for the wedding after all.”
    Olaf moved his chair into the shade. “There will be plenty of folks there anyhow. With harvest so near, we are cutting things close, but if we do not get married now, there will be no time for the next two months.”
    “Or more. I’ve never seen the wheat so thick and heavy. This is to be a bumper year for certain.”
    “Ja, and the price fell again.”
    Ingeborg groaned. “How are we to get ahead when they keep dropping the wheat prices?” While she knew Olaf had no answer, she still voiced the complaint of all the farmers. The prices per bushel had dropped for the last two years. Rumor had it that the grain buyers for the Minneapolis flour mills had joined together tomake sure they made a huge profit, at the expense of the farmers. And the railroads were charging more to ship the grain too.
    She shook her head and returned to the letter.
I am bringing Katja with me, as there are no young men here who catch her eye, and you said single men are the majority in the west. I want her to marry a God-fearing man, and if he owns his own farm, it would be like the frosting on the egge kake.
    Ingeborg chuckled at that. Bridget was renowned for her egg cake, and her frosting recipe had been handed down from her mother. “Hard to believe that little Katja is ready to think of marriage. They grow up so fast.” Her gaze returned to the paper. “Oh, dear.”
    “What is it?” Olaf had removed his pipe from his pocket and was scraping the bowl with the small blade on his knife.
    “She is bringing Onkel Hamre’s grandson with her.” She returned to reading aloud.
Hamre is now twelve, and since his mother died of the chest congestion, he has been living with me to help us out with the chores. Johann wants him to stay here so there is someone in the family to help him with the home farm, but Hamre is determined to go to Amerika. He says he wants the new life too. Such a strong mind for such a young boy.
    Ingeborg looked up again, her forehead wrinkled in thought. “This should work out well, then. We will let them have this soddy, since Goodie and her two will be with you in your new house when it’s built.”
    “Mayhap we could put a wood floor in it for them before winter.” Olaf tamped his tobacco down with his thumb.
    “Ja, and a new coat of whitewash.” She smiled at the man now heading into the soddy to get a light from the stove for his pipe. When he returned, he nodded. “I heard tell these old soddies are warmer in the winter than wooden frame houses any day. As used to dark winters as those Norskys from the old country are, this shouldn’t be such a burden.”
    “Humph.” Ingeborg shook her head. Nothing pleased her more than the many windows Haakan had insisted on for their new house. She stared across the short space to the two-story frame house with a porch facing the west. The look of it still thrilled herdeep into her soul. This year perhaps the howling winds wouldn’t bring on the inner darkness that seemed to attack her most in the

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