My dad though, he's all right. He's got enough boring old-time stuff inside him too, but he's my dad so I got a bit more time for him than all the rest mostly.
Sometimes he sticks his arms around me and spouts on about how much he loves me and stuff that makes me feel a bit different inside. I don't mind it when my dad spout all that soft stuff, except that I get this feeling sort of hot like a strong wind blowing into my head--and it makes me want to cry. And I don't like that so I tell him to leave off which he usually do.
But he's my dad like I said, and you got to respect your dad I reckon. My mum got dead when I been a baby still scrieking in my ass rags. That happen a lot up here when the snow been deep and your breath freeze in the air. But Magda live with Dad now, up in our end of the house. Magda's in charge of the little kids and I don't envy her that job. If it been me I'm gonna bash them all.
Bash. Bash. Bash.
But then I probably been just the same way annoying when I been small and Magda look after me too then, so she's all right, and she sometimes does that arm-hugging thing like my dad. But it's better cos she's careful to do it when no one's looking--she's clever like that, so I always keep my face and none of the other kids don't touch me for blubbing.
Cos if I catch one of them blubbing I'm gonna stick it to them. That's probably why I'm not the most popular. But I don't care. I catch a lot of hares. And no one sticks it to me.
But aint no point thinking on all that homespun stuff right now. The house gonna be cold but I got to sleep there or I'll freeze, even if the dog is scared. So I keep the wood on the sled and I tell the dog, leave off worrying, and I stick my head out from the rocks. But quietly all the same.
Dad let the trees grow just like they want and they near growing under the door so you can't see the house except from up here on the hill. Gray stones built up good and strong in the walls though. You can see it took a long time to put those stones together so neat and make them all square around the windows. Those old-time people been proper clever.
Magda get angry about once every month cos of those scrubby bare branches tapping on the walls but the grown-ups decide at the meeting that the trees are a good thing cos they keep the house hidden. Don't need anyone except farmer Geraint to know where we are and we been here near three years and no trouble, so Magda know to keep herself quiet now.
I hope none of the little kids got clever and hid in the attic or nothing cos I don't want no crying kid around my legs if I been the only one left.
That thought punch me right in the guts. Me being the only one left I mean.
But it aint no time for getting soft. Cos I seen some boys who gone soft. Usually with a girl at the Barmuth Meet. Then they start blubbering on to the girl and that aint gonna last long if you ask me cos the girl always talk about it afterward, and then I'm gonna find out.
But I aint too bothered about girls. Magda says I will get bothered. She says a girl is what I need. I don't know what she's talking about. It sound like I got something missing on me when Magda say stuff like that. I got all my arms and legs and even all my teeth still. So I aint got nothing missing so I don't see why I need anything--especially not a girl.
What I need, Magda, is a GUN. That's what I want to say. I mean I got a knife. My dad got it from Geraint last year. One to keep--just for me. I trapped a lot of hares for that knife.
But no gun.
Geraint can't get me a gun really. He's just a farmer. I mean, heknows deer and skins roundside about, but he aint gonna be any good getting a gun for a straggler without papers. Geraint's got a gun himself. He got papers for it. He let me and Alice hold it once. But if you got a license like he has I guess you can get anything you like.
After the Snow Copyright © 2012 by S. D. Crockett. All rights reserved. Donnelley & Sons Company, Harrisonburg, Virginia. For information, address Feiwel and Friends, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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