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Giants in the Earth

O.E. Rölvaag

Book I, Chapter III—"Rosie!—Rosie!"

Book I, Chapter II—"Home-Founding"

Book I, Chapter III—"Rosie!—Rosie!", page 2

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The settlers realize that their food supplies are vanishing. The men plan a trip to town, seventy miles away, where they can buy provisions. They need food, clothing, tools, and farm equipment. Hans, Tonseten, and Henry Solum decide to make the trip to buy supplies for everyone else. Per feels sour because he wants to go too, but the others decide that Per and Sam Solum should stay to protect the women. A fear of the Indians has already risen among the settlers.

Meanwhile, Per plows his fields with his son Ole's help. Suddenly, Store-Hans races over to announce that the Indians are coming. Per remains calm, giving orders to the others to remain calm as well. He senses that the Indians are peaceful. Per sends his sons to collect Sorine and Kjersti because he thinks that the two women may feel vulnerable while their husbands are away. Soon, everyone gathers at Per's house, and he sets the women at ease by calling them a "sewing circle." When the settlers' cows gallop away in the direction of the Indian camp, Beret says that someone should go after them.

Per takes Store-Hans with him to see the Indians and to get the cows back. Excited about meeting the Indians, Store-Hans asks his father questions about them. As they walk toward the tents, Per sees some men sitting around smoking pipes. Per approaches them but finds communicating with them difficult because he only knows a little English. However, Store-Hans comes to his aid by acting as an interpreter. Per motions to a friendly-looking man that he would like some tobacco, and the Indian gives him a small pouch of tobacco.

In the camp, Per notices a sick man and discovers that the man has an injured hand. Per examines the hand and determines that the man may have blood poisoning. Because he knows how to treat such wounds from his experiences as a fisherman in Norway, Per decides to treat the man's wounded hand. Store-Hans goes back to fetch some cloths and some liquor, and he returns with Beret. Although Beret is afraid of the Indians, she stays to help Per. Throughout the night, Per continues to look after the man's hand, changing the bandages from time to time. The Indian's hand slowly begins to heal. After a few days, the Indians break camp. Before they live, the injured man gives Per a pony for looking after him.

The next day, Hans, Tonseten, and Henry return from their trip to town with all sorts of goods for everyone. All the residents get together at Hans's house to talk and celebrate. Suddenly, the settlers realize that their cows are missing. Everyone except Per thinks that the Indians stole them. Ole, Store-Hans, and Anna Marie are upset because they miss their beloved cow, Rosie. During the night, Per and Beret hear Store-Hans sobbing, and Per comforts his son by telling him that he will find Rosie.

At the crack of dawn, Per gets up to look for the cows. Even though Beret asks him not to go, he decides to leave anyway. He meets Hans, who tells him that the cows may be in heat. Per asks Hans to look after his wife and children. In the evening, the whole settlement gathers at Beret's house to talk, but they feel uncomfortable because Beret is so moody. After they leave, Beret hangs some clothes over the windows and barricades the door with her heavy emigrant chest.

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