"I'll give you two for the lot," says Geraint.
Dad aint happy with that. I see it on his face--but what can he do? He got to agree.
Geraint unroll his pack and give my dad a deer skin. "Hundred fifty for you when this is cured too." He got a bag of oats tied on his saddle and he give it to Magda along with a bar of soap. He say it's from Alice.
My dad's face goes a bit dark then, but he don't say nothing. We got the oats though so I guess Geraint aint all bad--cos he know he cheat us on the dog skin. After he got a baby with Alice and let her come up and live on his farm, he got softer with us like that.
"Don't forget the boy's knife," says Dad. "He nearly froze to death to get those extra skins."
And that's how I got my knife. But I earned it proper good sitting up on the Farngod in the wind tying snares.
When Geraint is gone my dad's dark face gets darker. Same as when he talks about me wearing my dog skull or when I don't speak to no one sometimes.
He don't understand that to trap a dog I got to wear the dog skull and not talk to no one. I got to get the power just like with the hares, only stronger cos the dog is cleverer than a hare in some ways.
But I think Dad got a dark face thinking about Alice, cos she was fourteen and they aint supposed to get a baby until they get older even though they can.
That's what all the grown-ups agree at the Meet.
But my sister Alice got a baby with Geraint when she was fourteen. And he's an old graybeard. But I don't know why it make Dad get that dark face. We got the oats. And the soap. I know Magda like the soap.
Magda puts her arm around my dad. "We got the oats, Robin," she say.
He push her arm away then. I think I see that Dad got wet eyes, but I can't be sure. My face gets all red when I see that and I go away from the house cos I got respect and he's my dad and I try and forget I ever saw it.
Maybe I'm gonna steal the gun from Geraint instead of the stealers. Be easier too cos Geraint's old and spends all winter getting thin on the mountain like his fathers before him. There aint much to steal in the middle of the winter see.
I don't know why I'm thinking of all this stuff though. There's more important things to think on now. Number One, I'm cold sitting here in the snow. Number Two, I got to have a plan. Don't know why I been talking in my head about the others.
You're thinking wrong.
But I'm pleased the dog is talking to me. This dog must be half wolf he's so clever.
You're thinking wrong because the others aren't in the house now. You're alone, boy. And gun or no gun, you've got to start thinking about things happening now. Like food and where you're going to sleep and what you're going to do if your pack has gone without you.
See, I know the dog gonna help me.
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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