Ogg stood listening. Now that the wagon was gone, the forest noises returned. But Ogg was listening only for the sound of the wagon. He opened his hand and looked at his Daddy’s fingers. They seemed so small, not like a part of his Daddy at all. He took his face wiping cloth out of his shirt pocket and placed his Daddy’s fingers in the center of it and twisted the extra cloth to hold them inside like the cloth was a package. He returned the cloth to his shirt pocket and patted the lump over his heart.
Although if you had asked Ogg he wouldn’t have been able to tell you where his heart was or know that there was such a thing inside him. He knew all his outside parts. His Daddy taught him. And he knew about his stomach, which right now was making noises, telling him it would soon be time for dinner. Almost. If he was on the wagon he would be eating the last of the ham and biscuits they had carried out for the day. Sharing with Queedle. He liked the ham bone part.
He walked to the road and looked toward home. What had his Daddy said? “Stay here.” But he couldn’t stay here. There was nothing to eat. He had hunted and trapped with Daddy and Queedle and Bosco and even Durn before he got married and moved and built his own house to live with that lady. But he didn’t have any trapper gear; no twine, no snapper jaws, no catcher nets. And he didn’t have a gig or a sling to hunt.
Daddy said not to come home. To stay here. He touched the face wiping cloth and felt Daddy’s fingers. He would go to see Keeper Twill. Ogg always liked going to the big log building where the wagon road met the big road. Keeper Twill sold things to Daddy and had given him and his brothers candy for cleaning out the barn. Daddy would go into the eating-place and sit and talk with Keeper Twill and Keeper Twill would take the jugs that Daddy brought. Ogg and his brothers would load the wagon with empty jugs from the barn, their mouths full of candy.
Ogg would go to Keeper Twill’s. He could work in the barn and get some candy and maybe then Daddy would let him come home. He turned away from the wagon tracks and began walking. There was more light on the road, but even here the darkness of the forest began to intrude. Ogg wasn’t afraid. He had been down this way many times with his Daddy in the wagon. As a rule Ogg wasn’t much of one to hurry from place to place. That’s why he liked riding in the wagon. There was time to look around at …everything. But now his stomach noises were pushing him on. It had to be about dinnertime and there was no end to the wagon road yet. He had no idea how much further it was to Keeper Twill’s. It was a question Queedle used to ask Daddy. “How much longer till we get there?” No matter where they were going; to chop wood, to Keeper Twill’s, or to one of the secret cooking places to fill jugs, Daddy’s answer was always the same, “Couple of days.” But it never really took that long and Ogg, unlike Queedle, didn’t care because he was happy just riding along and looking around.
But this was different. It was almost dark now. He was really hungry. He touched his pocket and felt the lump in the cloth package. He turned around. Home was back that way. But if he went that way he would get no dinner when he got home. That was the rule. Even if he was a little late Daddy and Queedle and Bosco would have eaten everything in the dinner pot already. They had done it before. Perhaps Keeper Twill had no such rule as Daddy had. He had a store with candy and an eating-place.
Ogg had never been the eating-place at Keeper Twill’s but he remembered there were always people in there at the tables. He turned away from home and followed along the rutted path between the dark trees. He wasn’t afraid.
. . .
Ogg could smell the place before he could see it. Wood smoke in the air. He picked up his step and caught sight of a light showing between the trees as the wagon road turned. He was starving. That was what Daddy always said when he sat down at the table at home. He rounded the turn in the road and saw Keeper Twill’s cabin and barn. There were wagons and two horses outside the barn that weren’t hitched to a wagon. They had saddles on them. He had seen a saddle in Keeper Twill’s barn, but these were on horses. They looked funny there. For someone to sit on a horse instead of ride in a wagon was something he had never seen. It seemed like it would be dangerous.