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Hong, Edna Hatlestad, 1913- / Muskego boy

Chapter 6: Milwaukee to Muskego,   pp. [39]-46

Page 46

Back home-? He would have to stop thinking of home as being the 
little house on the shoulder of the mountain. This was home now-this great,
wild country with its smothering dark nights. 
Once Mikkel had played a game where he had been blindfolded and told 
to walk straight ahead without stretching out his hands to feel his way.
was the way he felt now. He had believed in a magic America-a country 
where hands reached out eagerly from all sides and filled one pocket with
gold and the other with rock candy. But the only hands America had reached
out so far had given him an aching nose, a puffed-up eye, and sore muscles.
And here he was bouncing along on a wilderness road in the pitch dark- 
and where, only the oxen knew! 
Things didn't seem much better when the oxen finally stopped and all the
family climbed down from the wagon and stumbled stiffly after the farmer
into the dark hulk of a building. 
"I'm sorry I can't keep you at my cabin," the farmer apologized,
"but my 
sister's family came from Norway last week and our house is full. This is
Even Heg's barn. Around here we call his place a hotel because so many 
newcomers sleep in it before they get settled. You just crawl in the hay
where. Heg won't care-he's a good fellow!" 
The soft new-mown hay cushioned Mikkel's aching muscles, but it could 
not help the hurt inside. When Far had unloaded all their belongings from
the farmer's wagon and found his way back to the barn loft again, he heard
queer, muffled noises in the hay. 
"Is that you, Mikkel?" he whispered, fumbling until he felt Mikkel's
rigid body. "What is the matter? Are you sick?" 
"Far! Oh, Far!" Mikkel flung his arms about his father and buried
face in his neck. "Far! Far! Why did we ever come!" 

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