Hong, Edna Hatlestad, 1913- / Muskego boy
Chapter 5: The water road to the west, pp. -38
"There are no princes in America," answered Mikkel. "Everyone is just as good as anybody else." "You mean a plain man lives in that?" exclaimed Per. Yes, Far was surely all wrong about having a hard time in America! It wasn't until they got on the canal boat at Albany that things began to look bad. Mikkel had never before been pushed and pulled around so much. Big, burly men carrying chests onto the boat shoved him back roughly, while a bossy-looking man with a high hat shouted and waved his arms and pushed him forward. Mikkel hung on to Karen for dear life and at last found himself on the boat. A very angry Per was there to meet him. "These Americans!" he snorted. "They drive us around as if we were cattle! And if you ask me, this is a cattle boat we're on. Come down and see for yourself! They haven't even cleaned up below deck." But Mikkel did not budge until he saw Far and Uncle Knud bring Mor, Bestemor, Aunt Martha, and Baby Kristi safely on deck. It wasn't a minute too soon, either, for all of a sudden there was more hollering and shouting and whooping than before. "Giddap! GiddapI Get on there, you ornery critters! Giddap!" There was a sudden jolt, and the boat started to move. Mikkel and Per crowded to the railing to see what was going on. Of all things! Horses pull- ing a boat! Horses! Mikkel and Per laughed until the tears rolled down their cheeks. These crazy Americans. They thought of everything. It turned out to be true that the boat had carried cattle during its trip east on the Erie Canal and that it hadn't been scrubbed any too clean before the Drammen folk were, shall we say, herded in. And on top of that there were no chairs, tables, or beds. Far pushed some chests together, covered them
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