Some of the conversation in this chapter is in English and the rest in Wendat. The Wendat conversation is in italics.
Paganens is an Algonquin soup made with nuts. Bannock is a sort of Scottish unleavened bread or scone.
New France is the name of Upper and Lower Canada. In Europe it would have been called New France.
Summer reluctantly gave way to autumn, the time for harvesting
"Mama open the door for me, please! All my hands are full!"
Lunette hurried up the stairs to the cellar door and threw it open. Sky stood there, her arms full of pumpkins and her face reddened by the kiss of the crisp autumn wind.
Lunette took the pumpkins from her, "Oh dear! Come in child! It's too cold out there for you."
Sky clattered down the stairs into the storage area and stopped, her eyes wide and mouth open.
"Mama! So many vegetables!"
"Yes, Katherine. It was a good harvest this year" said Godfrey, emerging from the back of the cellar, his hands rubbing his sore neck. "Just look! We have two kinds of squash, pumpkins, corn of course and beans and in that big pot over there are new potatoes and carrots! Enough to last for the whole winter, I'd say!" He grinned like a pleased child and Lunette smiled quietly to herself.
"Yes it was a good harvest", she agreed. "You and Jacques worked very hard and the weather was good."
"What's this I hear about Jacques?" came a booming voice from outside.
"Uncle Jacques!" squealed Sky launching herself up the stairs and into his arms.
Jacques came down the stairs, Sky wrapped in his arms. "Oof, ma petite, you're getting heavy!"
"Yes you are Katherine!", Godfrey said, his voice stern. "You will be almost seven years old soon. You'll have to start behaving like a proper young lady, you know."
Sky wrinkled her nose and looked at Lunette, a scowl on her face. Jacques laughed and ruffled her hair as he set her down.
"Yes Father," Sky said, skipping over to stand next to Lunette and nudging her with an elbow.
"Perhaps she can start next year, eh Godfrey? It's good for a child to be a child. Life here is hard and Sky will grow up soon enough no?"
Godfrey sighed, his expression softening in the dim light of the cellar.
"Oui, you're right Lunette." His voice grew wistful.
"I guess I always thought that any daughter of mine would be the perfect young lady, proper and kind. Like Beatrice maybe. Like my mother."
He glanced quickly at Lunette and shook his head as if to clear it. "But that was England, not here. That was the past."
Jacques came over to him and slapped him on the back sending him careening into the shelves with the preserves.
"Oh sorry, mon ami! Now Godfrey, don't you worry about our Sky here," he said, reaching down to pat her head. "She will be the belle of New France one day! Wouldn't you like that Sky?"
"I'm sure she would," Lunette said, ignoring the doubts evident in Sky's face.
"See there, Godfrey, you worry all for nothing." Jacques grabbed Godfrey's arm and started up the stairs. "Now come on, mon ami, we must talk about buying the winter provisions. How much flour do you think…"
"Dinner at sundown" Lunette reminded the two men as they disappeared out the cellar door.
"Mama! Why do I have to be a proper young lady?" piped up Lunette as soon as they had left.
"Well, love, that's what your father wants. Little girls grow up to be little ladies. That's how it is in England you know."
Sky pouted. "Well, we're not in England! We're in Wendake."
"You're right about that dear."
Sky stayed quiet for a minute, her face scrunched up in thought.
"Mama! What's a proper young lady? What do they have to do?"
Lunette chuckled. "Well, they are quiet and don't shout, they wear nice dresses and sit quietly with their hands in their lap like this. Lunette demonstrated, clasping her hands in her lap demurely. "And they don't ever run and jump. They read and knit, maybe. And have tea parties."
Lunette looked over at Sky and hid her laughter at the dismay and horror etched plainly on Sky's face.
"Mama! I don't want to be that! I just want to be me. Why does he want me to be like the little girls in England? We're not in England!"
"I know, cherie, but remember, that your father is in a strange land, not the land of his birth. He must miss all the people there and all the things they did. Wouldn't you miss Wendake if you left it? Wouldn't you miss everyone here? Maybe he just wanted you to be like them as a reminder, see? So that he wouldn't miss them so much."
Sky's rebellious look softened as she considered this.
"Oh," she said, her voice soft. "I didn't think of it like that before."
Lunette reached over to Sky and stroked her hair comfortingly. "I know you didn't, cherie. You're a good girl."
Sky threw her arms around Lunette's waist.
"Mama can we find something else to remind him? Because I still don't want to be a proper young lady."
Lunette laughed and held her a bit closer, still stroking her hair.
"Maybe you'll change your mind when you grow up Sky."
Sky snuggled into Lunette's side, muttering under her breath, "I wouldn't change my mind, ever! I don't want to be a proper young lady."
Later that night, Lunette and Sky cleared up the dinner dishes.
"Is it going to snow soon Mama?" Sky asked, wiping the dishes dry carefully.
Lunette frowned. "Now, Sky this is the seventh time you've asked me about snow this week. What's so important about the snow coming?"
"Nothing, Mama," Sky said, but the lights in her eyes danced.
Lunette heaved a sigh and wiped her wet hands on her dress. She had to get to the bottom of this. She took Sky's hand and led her to the blankets around the fire, where it was warm.
"Now then", said Lunette, pulling Sky over to sit on her lap. "What's so important about snow?"
Sky's cheeks reddened and she beamed.
"It's a secret Mama!" she whispered, looking around to make sure no one was there. She stretched up to whisper it in Lunette's ear, leaning back after to see Lunette's reaction.
Lunette sat still, her eyes on the fire, not on Sky, her lips pressed together in a tight line.
"What is it Mama? He promised he would. When the snow comes, he said. When the hunters come for the autumn hunt. He'll stay for a month, until they finish the hunt. He'll be here soon!"
Lunette sighed and turned her face to Sky's, holding her close.
"You don't think he'll come do you Mama? I know that you don't! But he will. He promised he will!"
Lunette held Sky closer. "I hope that he does come, cherie. I hope that he does."
The first snow fell softly that night.
Two days later, Jacques and Godfrey had returned from buying the winter provisions. The ground was already covered in snow and the winds howled. Godfrey and Jacques dragged in the heavy bags of sugar and flour, while Lunette brought in the salt and spices.
Lunette grabbed the small bag of oats, thankful that it was the last one. As she swung it onto her shoulders, she noticed a flash of dark against the snow. She squinted her eyes against the brightness. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped open. The bag fell off her shoulder onto the ground.
"Mon Dieu!" she murmured, the flash of white skirts and dark hair a blur as Sky raced out the door past her towards the slow dark figure.
It was Little Wolf.
Jacques and Godfrey sat outside the cabin, drinking their after dinner coffee, their breaths visible in the cold air.
"Her nephew eh?" Godfrey said. "So he's family?"
Jacques chuckled. "Oui et non. Not exactly family as you would think it. But oui, family as the Wendat would say. All Wendat are family."
Godfrey stayed quiet, rubbing his chin in thought.
"Strange though eh? Katherine seemed to know him already!"
Jacques snickered. "Yes, I noticed that too. But Lunette says that she spoke of the nephew often to Sky. So that's how she knew him."
"It makes sense I suppose," Godfrey admitted.
"One thing about women, mon pauvre." Jacques said, putting an arm around Godfrey's thin shoulders. "Never try to make logic out of what they say, you'll get a headache and still not understand!"
Godfrey laughed. "You're right about that, my good man!"
Inside the cabin, the two children and Lunette prepared for bed. There was only two rooms in the cabin, one for Lunette and Sky and the other for the Godfrey and Jacques. In the summer both men slept outside.
Lunette smoothed out the blanket on the bed, watching as Sky and Little Wolf chatted in the corner.
She could see Sky's hands moving, demonstrating to Little Wolf the proper way of sitting in England. The resulting laughter from both children made her groan and cover her ears. It was going to be a noisy few weeks!
Sky skipped over, dragging Little Wolf by the hand. Her eyes were bright as she said,
"Mama, Little Wolf had a wonderful idea about how we can do something to remind father about England! Tell her Little Wolf".
Little Wolf drew himself up straight, lifted his head high and held up a finger as he spoke.
"Well harha, the elders always say…if someone is missing their home and in a strange land with strange people, then the thing to remind them of home is food! And it's true too. Last winter, we had an Algonquin in our village and he was sad for home. The women made him some Paganens and he almost cried, he was so happy. So I think that we should make Sky's father a food from England and he'll be happy!"
He finished with a flourish, and both pairs of dark eyes turned to Lunette.
Lunette bit her lip as she thought. She looked at both the children, smiled and put a hand on Little Wolf's shoulder.
"Little Wolf that is a great idea! It just might work too. Jacques could ask old Mrs. Rogers in the village, the doctor's wife you know. She's the one that makes the fairy cake Sky! She'll know something, surely. You're a smart boy, Little Wolf! I'll go talk to Jacques right now."
Lunette headed out of the room towards Jacques, who was still outside.
Sky punched Little Wolf's arm in delight. "See! I told you she likes you now!"
Little Wolf grinned and his face reddened in the dim light. Sky laughed and touched his cheek with one finger. "Red," she said and laughed as he turned his head quickly and snapped at her finger with his teeth.
Two weeks later, Sky, Lunette and Little Wolf sat around the fire in the kitchen.
"She called it bannock," said Lunette, out of breath from pounding the oats with the pestle. She passed the bowl to Little Wolf. "Here Little Wolf, you go at it now."
Little Wolf's eyes were wide with mock horror but he took it and started hammering at the bowl.
"This is woman's work you know!" he growled under his breath to Sky. She pouted. "But you said you'd help make the bannock!"
"Yes, yes and I'm helping see? Just don't ever tell any of the men that I helped to cook!"
Sky's eyes lit up mischievously and she laughed.
"Hmnn, I'll see!" Little Wolf looked at her and groaned.
Two hours later all three stood staring into the pot. The bannock was finished.
"I'm sure that's how it's supposed to look, cherie," Lunette said doubtfully, looking at the flat round bread in the bottom of the frying pan. "I followed her directions perfectly. It looks a bit like cornbread no?"
"Yes, I guess so, Mama," Sky said, biting her fingernails.
"Now stop biting those nails, child. Run and get your father. We'll see what he says about it."
Both children scampered out of the room. "Father!" "Uncle!"
Lunette walked around the pot with the bannock, looking at it from all angles. She nodded her head a few times.
Sky and Little Wolf came running back to the kitchen, dragging an out of breath Godfrey by the hand. Jacques followed close behind, a smirk on his face.
"Good Lord, children! What is it? What's so important for me to see?"
Sky took his hand shyly and led him over to the pot. "Look inside, Father."
Four pairs of eyes breathlessly watched as he went over to the fire. Godfrey looked into the pot and gave a start. "It couldn't be! But how?" he muttered in a dazed voice.
Lunette jumped out of her trance and rushed over. "Do go sit down, Godfrey. I'll bring some over."
Everyone moved over to the table and sat opposite Godfrey. Lunette brought over the bannock and cut a section for him. He broke off a piece and lifted it slowly to his mouth. Everyone held their breath. He put the bannock in his mouth and started chewing slowly. A blissful look came over his face and his eyes fluttered shut. "Bannock!" he breathed.
Cheers erupted. Jacques gave him a huge hug, which almost made him choke.
"Did you like the bannock, Father?" asked Sky. He nodded his head, opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He gazed off into the fire, while Lunette sniffed and turned away to stoke the fire.
Little Wolf squeezed Sky's hand. "Yes, he liked it," he whispered.
"Yes I liked it very much." Godfrey said in a soft voice. Sky looked over, surprised to hear him speak in such a voice. It wasn't stern at all.
"Thank you Lunette, thank you Sky. It was a wonderful surprise!"
"I helped too!" piped in Little Wolf. "Oh, wait. I mean it was my idea! Tell him Sky!"
"Little Wolf helped too, it was his idea,"Sky said, laughing as she looked at Little Wolf.
Little Wolf flushed red and looked away.
"Thank you Little Wolf too then," Godfrey said. "Come here, child." He reached out to Sky, pulled her closer and took her in his arms. She stiffened at first but relaxed gradually and hugged him back. Lunette sniffed again and buried her face in Jacques chest.
Godfrey let Sky go, squeezed Little Wolf's shoulder and gave Lunette a hug too. Then he sat back down at the table and ate the entire bannock all by himself.
Later that night, Little Wolf and Sky discussed the "bannock incident" as they lay on the blankets.
"He must really like that bannock, eh? He never hugged me like that before!"
Little Wolf nodded in the darkness.
"Yes. It reminded him of home. It was just so with the Algonquin."
"Mama said we could make it for him every week! You're so smart Little Wolf!"
Little Wolf's chest puffed out with pride. "Yes, yes I know. It's true. There's just one thing though."
Sky's forehead wrinkled in bewilderment.
"What is it Little Wolf?"
"Next time I come, you will teach me their language! I can't have you telling the men that I cook," he muttered, looking at her, a smile trying to hide on his face.
Sky laughed and threw the blanket over his head, leaning over to tickle his feet gleefully.
Thanks to my beta Black Cat Frodo for proofreading. Thanks to everyone else who has read and reviewed my work.
Sorry about the lines as chapter breaks. I've tried everything to make FP skip a line and nothing works (not even Shift+Enter). If you know a way let me know.