字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Harper Audio presents Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, performed by Cherry Jones. [MUSIC] Little House in the Big Woods. [MUSIC] Once upon a time, many years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. The great dark trees of the Big Woods stood all around the house and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as a man could go to the north in a day, or a week or a whole month, there was nothing but woods. There were no houses. There were no roads. There were no people. There were only trees and the wild animals who had their homes among them. Wolves lived in the Big Woods, and bears and huge wild cats. Muskrats and mink and otter lived by the streams. Foxes had dens in the hills and deer roamed everywhere. To the East of the little log house, and to the West, there were miles upon miles of trees, and only a few little log houses scattered far apart in the edge of the Big Woods. So far as the little girl could see, there was only the one little house where she lived with her father and mother, her sister Mary, and baby sister Carrie. A wagon track ran before the house, turning and twisting out of sight in the woods where the wild animals lived. But the little girl did not know where it went nor what might be at the end of it. The little girl was named Laura and she called her father Pa and her mother Ma. In those days and in that place, children did not say father and mother, nor mama and papa as they do now. At night, when Laura lay awake in the trundle bed, she listened and could not hear anything at all but the sound of the trees whispering together, sometimes far away in the night, a wolf howled. Then he came nearer, and howled again. It was a scary sound. Laura knew that wolves would eat little girls, but she was safe inside the solid log walls. Her father's gun hung over the door, and good old Jack, the brindle bulldog, lay on guard before it. Her father would say go to sleep Laura, Jack won't let the wolves in. So Laura snuggled under the covers of the trundle bed close beside Mary and went to sleep. One night, her father picked her up out of bed and carried her to the window so that she might see the wolves. There were two of them sitting in the front of the house. They looked like shaggy dogs. They pointed their noses at the big bright moon and howled. Jack paced up and down before the door growling. The hair stood up along his back and he showed his sharp fierce teeth to the wolves. They howled but they could not get in. The house was a comfortable house. Upstairs there was a large attic pleasant to play and when the rain drummed on the roof, downstairs was the small bedroom and the big room. The bedroom had a window that closed with a wooden shutter. The big room had two windows with glass in the panes and it had two doors, a front door and a back door. All around the house was a crooked rail fence to keep the bears and the deer away. In the yard in front of the house were two beautiful big oak trees. Every morning as soon as she was awake, Laura ran to look out of the window. And one morning she saw in each of the big trees a dead deer hanging from a branch. Pa had shot the deer the day before and Laura had been asleep when he brought them home at night and hung them high in the trees so the wolves could not get the meat. That day Pa and Ma and Laura and Mary had fresh venison for dinner. It was so good that Laura wished they could eat it all. But most of the meat must be salted, and smoked, and packed away to be eaten in the winter. For winter was coming. The days were shorter and frost crawled up the window panes at night. Soon the snow would come. Then the log house would almost be buried in snowdrifts and the lake and the streams would freeze. In the bitter cold weather, Pa could not be sure of finding any wild game to shoot for meat. The bears would be hidden away in their dens where they slept soundly all winter long. The squirrels would be curled in their nests in hollow trees with their furry tails wrapped snugly around their noses. The deer and the rabbits would be shy and swift. Even if Pa could get a deer, it would be poor and thin, not fat and plump as deer are in the fall. Pa might hunt alone all day in the bitter cold in the Big Woods covered with snow and come home at night with nothing for Ma and Mary and Laura to eat. So as much food as possible must be stored away in the little house before winter came. Pa skinned the deer carefully and salted and stretched the hides for he would make soft leather of them. Then he cut up the meat and sprinkled salt over the pieces as he laid them on a board. Standing on end in the yard was a tall length cut from the trunk of a big hollow tree. Pa had driven nails inside as far as he could reach from each end. Then he stood it up, put a little roof over the top and cut a little door on one side near the bottom. On the piece that he cut out, he fastened leather hinges, then he fitted it into place and that was the little door with the bark still on it. After the deer meat had been salted several days, Pa cut a hole near the end of each piece and put a string through it. Laura watched him do this and then she watched him hang the meat on the nails in the hollow log. He reached up through the little door and hung meat on the nails as far up as he could reach. Then he put a ladder against the log, climbed up to the top, moved the roof to one side and reached down inside to hang meat on those nails. Then Pa put the roof back again, climbed down the ladder and said to Laura, run over to the chopping block and fetch me some of those green hickory chips. New clean white ones. So Laura ran to the block where Pa chopped wood and filled her apron with the fresh sweet smelling chips. Just inside the little door in the hollow log, Pa built a fire of tiny bits of bark and moss and he laid some of the chips on it very carefully. Instead of burning quickly, the green chips smoldered and filled the hollow log with thick, choking, smoke. Pa shut the door. And a little smoke squeeze through the crack around it. And a little smoke came out through the roof. But most of it was shut in with the meat. There's nothing better than good hickory smoke, Pa said. That will make good venison that will keep anywhere in any weather. Then he took his gun and slinging his axe on his shoulder, he went away to the clearing to cut down some more trees. Laura and Ma watched the fire for several days. When smoke stopped coming through the cracks, Laura would bring more hickory chips and Ma would put them into the fire under the meat. All the time there was a little smell of smoke in the yard, and when the door was opened, a thick, smoky, meaty smell came out. At last, Pa said the venison had smoked long enough. Then they let the fire go out and Pa took all the strips and pieces of meat out of the hollow tree. Ma wrapped each piece neatly in paper and hung them in the attic where they would keep safe and dry. One morning Pa went away before daylight with the horses and wagon. And that night he came home with a wagon load of fish. The big wagon box was piled full, and some of the fish were as big as Laura. Pa had gone to Lake Pepin and caught them all with a net. Ma cut large slices of flaky white fish without one bone for Laura and Mary. They all feasted on the good fresh fish. All they did not eat fresh was salted down in barrels for the winter. Pa owned a pig, it ran wild in the big woods living on acorns and nuts and roots. Now he caught it and put it in a pen made of logs to fatten. He would butcher it as soon as the weather was cold enough to keep the pork frozen. Once in the middle of the night Laura woke up and heard the pig squealing. Pa jumped out of bed, snatched his gun from the wall and ran outdoors. Then Laura heard the gun go off once, twice. When Pa came back, he told what had happened. He had seen a big black bear standing beside the pig pen. The bear was reaching into the pen to grab the pig and the pig was running and squealing. Pa saw this in the starlight and he fired quickly. But the light was dim and in his haste, he missed the bear. The bear ran away into the woods not hurt at all. Laura was sorry Pa did not get the bear. She liked bear meat so much. Pa was sorry too, but he said, anyway, I saved the bacon. The garden behind the little house had been growing all summer. It was so near the house that the deer did not jump the fence and eat the vegetables in the daytime, and at night Jack kept them away. Sometimes in the morning there were little hoof prints among the carrots and the cabbages. But Jack's tracks were there too and the deer had jumped right out again. Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar for freezing nights had come. Onions were made into long ropes braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads. The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic's corners. The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves. Then one day, Uncle Henry came riding out of the Big Woods. He had come to help Pa butcher, Ma's big butcher knife was already sharpened and Uncle Henry had brought aunt Polly's butcher knife. Near the pig pan Pa and Uncle Henry built a bonfire, and heated a great kettle of water over it. When the water was boiling, they went to kill the hog. Then Laura ran and hid her head on the bed and stopped her ears with her fingers so she could not hear the hog squeal. It doesn't hurt him, Laura. Pa said, we do it so quickly. But she did not want to hear him squeal. In a minute she took one finger cautiously out of an ear and listened. The hog had stopped squealing after that, butchering time was great fun. It was such a busy day with so much to see and do. Uncle Henry and Pa were jolly, and there would be spareribs for dinner. And Pa had promised Laura and Mary the bladder and the pig's tail. As soon as the hog was dead, Pa and Uncle Henry lifted it up and down in the boiling water till it was well scalded. Then they laid it on a board and scraped it with their knives and all the bristles came off. After that, they hung the hog in a tree, took out the insides and left it hanging to cool. When it was cool, they took it down and cut it up. There were hams and shoulders, side meat and spare ribs and belly. There was the heart and the liver and the tongue, and the head to be made into head cheese, and a dish pan full of bits to be made into sausage. The meat was laid on a board in the backdoor shed and every piece was sprinkled with salt. The hams and the shoulders were put to pickle in brine, for they would be smoked like the venison in the hollow log. You can't beat hickory-cured ham, Pa said. He was blowing up the bladder. It made a little while balloon and he tied the ends tight with a string and gave it to Mary and Laura to play with. They could throw it into the air and swat it back and forth with their hands, or it would bounce along the floor and they could kick it. But even better fun than a balloon, was the pig's tail. Pa skinned it for them carefully and into the large end he thrust a sharpened stick. Ma open the front of the cook-stove and raked hot coals out into the iron hearth. Then Laura and Mary took turns holding the pig's tail over the coals. It sizzled and fried, and drops of fat dripped off it and blazed on the coals. Ma sprinkled it with salt. Their hands and their faces got very hot, and Laura burned her finger. But she was so excited she did not care. Roasting the pig's tail was such fun that it was hard to play fair taking turns. At last it was done. It was nicely browned all over, and how good it smelled. They carried it into the yard to cool it, and even before it was cool enough, they began tasting it and burned their tongues. They ate every little bit of meat off the bones and then they gave the bones to Jack. And that was the end of the pig's tail. There would not be another one till next year. Uncle Henry went home after dinner and Pa went away to his work in the big woods. But for Laura and Mary and Ma, butchering time had only begun. There was a great deal for Ma to do and Laura and Mary helped her. All that day and the next, Ma was trying out the lard in big iron pots on the cookstove Laura and Mary carried wood and watched the fire. It must be hot, but not too hot or the lard would burn. The big pots simmered and boiled, but they must not smoke. From time to time, Ma skimmed out the brown cracklings. She put them in a cloth and squeezed out every bit of the lard, and then she put the cracklings away. She would use them to flavor johnny-cake later. Cracklings were very good to eat, but Laura and Mary could have only a taste. They were too rich for little girls, Ma said. Ma scrapped and cleaned the head carefully, and then she boiled it till all the meat fell off the bones.