Sometimes Sarah tried to read to them but after the first time they did not listen. So Sarah tried teaching them words. Pointing to the table, stool, fire, she would say the name slowly and clearly. Then the Indian children said-or tried to say-the words, shouting with laughter when their tongues could not find a way around the strange sounds.
They, in turn, showed her where the wild strawberries grew. So she went out and filled a basket with the berries, which were like red jewels in the grass. when John Noble came home with a duck he had shot, or a fish caught in the river, he would find ripe berries waiting, too.
They traded with the Indians for corn, and ground it with the small mortar and pestle thomas had brought in one of the saddle bags. Sarah made corn cakes with it, cooking them in the ashes, and all the time she thought of her mother's good bread, baked in the oven. If she had an oven...
"I need help to raise the logs for the house," John Noble said. "There is a tall Indian who has said he will help me. I cannot say his name so I will call him Tall John. He speaks a few words of English."
"Father," Sarah said, "the Indian children point to their houses and want me to visit them. Should I go?"
John Noble did not answer at once. He sat with his head in his hands saying not a word. This was his daughter, and he had brought her to this wild place. Often and often he had wondered if he had done right. And what, after all, did he know about these strange people?
Sarah waited for her father to speak.
At last he said, "Tall John has two children, Sarah. I think they are among those who come here. I would trust you to go to the house of Tall John."
"Oh!" said Sarah. "It is Tall John's children that I like!"
So Sarah went often to the house of Tall John and his wife. she could not say the long, long names of the children, so she called the boy Small John and the girl Mary, after her mother.
The Indian children called her Sarah, for that was a name easy to say.
"Sar-ah, Sar-ah, Sar-ah!" Their high, clear voices echoed up and down the valley as she played with them and learned their games.