The First Four Years (Prologue)

The First Four Years

Laura Ingalls Wilder


The stars hung luminous and low over the prairie. Their light showed plainly the crests of the rises in the gently rolling land, but left the lower draws and hollows in deeper shadows.

A light buggy drawn by a team of quickstepping dark horses passed swiftly over the road which was only a dim trace across the grasslands. The buggy top was down, and the stars shone softly on the dark blur of the driver and the white-clothed form in the seat beside him, and were reflected in the waters of Silver Lake that lay within its low, grass-grown banks. The night was sweet with the strong, dewy fragrance of the wild prairie roses that grew in masses beside the way.

A sweet contralto voice rose softly on the air above the lighter patter of the horses’ feet, as horses and buggy and dim figures passed along the way. And it seemed as if the stars and water and roses were listening to the voice, so quiet were they, for it was of them it sang.

“In the starlight, in the starlight,
At the daylight’s dewy close,
When the nightingale is singing
His last love song to the rose;
In the calm clear night of summer
When the breezes gently play,
From the glitter of our dwelling
We will softly steal away.
Where the silv’ry waters murmur
By the margin of the sea,
In the starlight, in the starlight,
We will wander gay and free.”

For it was June, the roses were in bloom over the prairie lands, and lovers were abroad in the still, sweet evenings which were so quiet after the winds had hushed at sunset.

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