Lucretia Ann on the Oregon Trail

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9780870043604: Lucretia Ann on the Oregon Trail
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This story of a little girl crossing the plains with her family in a covered wagon train captures the romance and adventure of a child's life on the trail.

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About the Author:

Ruth Gipson Plowhead was a contributor of stories and feature articles to nationally known magazines and to Child Life and other junior periodicals.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Lucretia Ann on the Oregon Trail by Ruth Gipson Plowhead

CHAPTER THREE

Even the most delightful of picnics in time grows tiresome, and this was like all the rest. Could you have gazed over the prairie you would have seen a long, long string of wagons, followed by oxen, horses, cattle, and dogs plodding along the Oregon Trail. They were stirring up such clouds of dust that you might have thought the whole desert was afire when those columns rolled like smoke toward the sky.

In the front wagon at the head of the train a small girl sat beside her father. With head erect and anxious eyes she was scanning the broad swift-flowing river ahead.

"Lucretia Ann," said Mr. Prence, "hop down and see what that sign says. I cannot see from here, and there is no ferryman in sight."

Lucretia Ann jumped cheerfully from the wagon and slowly and carefully read the following words: FERRY CLOSED FOR REPAIRS. FORD SAFE AT THIS SPOT.

"O Father," cried the little daughter, "must we ford this dreadful river? I do not like it, for it seems so wide and deep and swift."

"You will not mind it, Lucretia Ann," smiled Father. "When the river is high in the spring the ferry is necessary, but the water is low at this time of year. The people who know the river here would not say it is safe to ford, if it were not. I will see if everything is in shape so that the water will not touch it before we start across."

The little girl climbed slowly back into the high, hot seat. Save for the sudden flashing smile she gave her father, you would hardly have known Lucretia Ann for the same child who flew about the New England farm yard like a happy yellow butterfly. She looked more like a forlorn, grey desert moth. The dainty wild-rose face was parched and tanned. A limp sunbonnet covered the wondrous hair. It had not lost its curl, but was lifeless and grey under a film of dust. A plain calico dress and heavy kid shoes had replaced the dainty frocks and kid slippers. There were no more of the fluffy white tuckers, aprons, and pantalettes which had been Grandmother Pettigrew's great delight.

And, though still sunny, she couldn't be happy and gay like a bird, for she was always tired. Sometimes it seemed as though she were a prisoner doomed to march, march, march; jog, jog, jog; tramp, tramp, tramp through grey scorching deserts. And these deserts were so filled with dust that the travelers often gasped for breath. There was no garden glittering with dewdrops in the morning sun, from which you might pluck gorgeous red strawberries, raspberries, currants, or even the sourest of gooseberries to crunch between white little teeth on a dare that you would not pucker your face even the tiniest bit.

When Lucretia Ann thought about those things and about Grandmother Pettigrew rocking and singing in the grape arbor, she had to hold her head very high to keep up her courage. And she would give her curls a toss, and say over and over what Grandmother Pettigrew had told her to say when things grew hard: "I'm a little pioneer girl. I'll be a brave one. On to Oregon!"

Father had now returned to the wagon' everything seemed safe. Lucretia Ann clutched the seat tightly, and gave a tiny gasp as Mollie and Bell hesitated a moment, and then went splash! splash! into the rippling river. Deeper and deeper grew the water; almost to the wagon bed it came. They were nearly across. Just a moment more- "Oh, I'm so glad," breathed the little girl, giving a vast sigh of relief. "That was the scariest thing!"

Then it happened! Quick as a wink Mollie veered sharply downstream, and stepped into a hole; she stumbled, and the force of her fall made Bell also lose her balance. The wagon gave a tremendous lurch and little Miss Lucretia Ann Prence was hurled into the rushing river.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780870041365: Lucretia Ann on the Oregon Trail

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ISBN 10:  0870041363 ISBN 13:  9780870041365
Publisher: The Caxton Printers, Ltd, 1969
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