Caddie Woodlawn, p.1Carol Ryrie Brink
is a real adventurer. She’d rather hunt than sew and plow than bake, and tries to beat her brothers’ dares every chance she gets. Caddie is friends with Indians, who scare most of the neighbors—neighbors who, like her mother and sisters, don’t understand her at all.
Caddie is brave, and her story is special because it’s based on the life and memories of Carol Ryrie Brink’s grandmother, the real Caddie Woodlawn. Her spirit and sense of fun have made this book a classic that readers have taken to their hearts for more than seventy years.
“You take Little House on the Prairie;
I’ll take Caddie Woodlawn.”
—JIM TRELEASE, AUTHOR OF THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK
WINNER OF THE NEWBERY MEDAL
INCLUDES A READERS GUIDE FOR BOOK GROUPS, TEACHERS, AND STUDENTS
Simon & Schuster New York
Cover designed by Karin Paprocki
Cover illustration copyright © 2006
by Dan Andreasen
www.Kids.SimonandSchuster.com / 0507
whose tales of her childhood in Wisconsin
gave a lonely little girl many happy hours
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 www.SimonandScuter.com
Text copyright 1935 by Macmillan Publishing Company
Text copyright renewed 1963 by Carol Ryrie Brink
Illustrations copyright © 1973 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
ALADDIN PAPERBACKS and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Also available in a Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers hardcover edition.
First Aladdin Paperbacks edition 1990
This Aladdin Paperbacks edition May 2007
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Brink, Carol Ryrie, 1895-1981
Caddie Woodlawn / Carol Ryrie Brink; illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
Reprint. Originally published: New York: Macmillian, 1935.
Summary: The adventures of an eleven-year-old tomboy growing up on the Wisconsin frontier in the mid-nineteenth century.
ISBN-13: 978-0-02-713670-8 (hc)
ISBN-10: 0-02-713670-1 (hc)
[ I. Frontier and pioneer life—Wisconsin—Fiction.] I. Hyman, Trina Schart, ill. II.Title.
[Fic]—dc20 89-18357 CIP AC
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-4818-6 (pbk)
ISBN-10: 1-4169-4818-X (pbk)
Twelve miles south of Menomonie, Wisconsin, there is a pretty wayside park named in honor of Caddie Woodlawn. In it you may picnic or rest or enter a small gray house and see exactly where Caddie and Tom and Warren once lived. You may follow a trail out to Chimney Bluffs or go to the river where the Little Steamer used to dock in the days when the river was higher and when Dunnville was a promising town. Now the town has almost disappeared. While Caddie and Tom and Warren were living there, they would have been much surprised to learn that a hundred years later thousands of visitors from thirty-seven states and six foreign countries would sign the guest book in the Caddie Woodlawn house in one year. They would not have believed a word of it.
Caddie Woodlawn was my grandmother. Her real name was Caddie Woodhouse. All of the names in the book, except one, are changed a little bit. The names are partly true, partly made up, just as the facts of the book are mainly true but have sometimes been slightly changed to make them fit better into the story. The one name that remains unchanged is that of Robert Ireton. I liked the name and I thought that, since hired men often moved from place to place for seasonal work, no one was likely to remember him. But even Robert is remembered today in this part of Wisconsin, and you may go to visit his grave.
There was a strong bond of love between my grandmother and me. As soon as I could walk I used to run away to see her. She was fun to be with and she always had something interesting to tell me. By the time I was eight I had lost both of my parents, and I went to live with my grandmother and an unmarried aunt. I had no brothers or sisters. Gram and Aunt and I were the family, and we lived in northern Idaho in an old-fashioned house on a big town lot. It was almost like a tiny farm with a barn for my pony and room for dogs, cats, chickens and canary birds. There were many different kinds of fruit trees, and in cherry season I used to climb up to a comfortable branch and sit reading a book and eating cherries. I was happy, but I was often lonely and I learned to amuse myself by reading, drawing, writing, and telling myself long, continued stories. The storytelling came naturally, because Gram and Aunt had told me so many stories that I thought I knew just how the best ones ought to go. I particularly loved to hear about Gram’s pioneer childhood in Wisconsin. Being an only child made me want especially to hear about her many brothers and sisters who lived together in such good nature and love. The only one of them that I ever saw was Hetty. I knew her as Great-aunt Ett, and I used to look forward to her visits with us. Then the stories flew thick and fast, and I sat spellbound, listening, listening!
It was many years later that I remembered these stories of Caddie’s childhood, and I said to myself, “If I loved them so much, perhaps other children would like them, too.” Caddie was still alive while I was writing, and I sent many letters to her, asking about the details that I did not remember clearly. She was pleased when the book was done. “There is only one thing that I do not understand,” she said. “You never knew my mother and father and my brothers—how could you write about them exactly as they were?”
“But, Gram,” I said, “you told me.”
After the book was published, schoolchildren used to come to see her on her birthday and sing for her or give her little presents. This pleased her very much. She lived to be almost eighty-six years of age. Like a true pioneer she had come all across the country from Boston to Wisconsin to Idaho to the Pacific Ocean. She had many troubles in her life, but she always looked out cheerfully at the world and found it a good place. She noticed people and the interesting things that happened to them, and she found these things worth retelling.
For myself and two younger cousins, Gram represented kindness and good sense, justice tempered by humor, and love and security. After her death we had a line from the Bible carved on her gravestone: “Her candle goeth not out by night.”
CAROL RYRIE BRINK
February 6, 1973
1. Three Adventurers
2. The Circuit Rider
3. Pigeons in the Sky
4. A Silver Dollar
5. Nero, Farewell!
6. A Schoolroom Battle
7. Attic Magic
8. Breeches and Clogs
9. “The Rose Is Red”
10. Hoofs in the Dark
12. Ambassador to the Enemy
13. Scalp Belt
14. A Dollars Worth
15. “Fol de Rol-lol”
16. Warren Performs
18. News from the Outside
19. Two Unexpected Heroes
20. Alas! Poor Annabelle!
22. A Letter with a Foreign Stamp
23. Pigeons or Peacocks?
24. Travelers Return
1. Three Adventurers
In 1864 Caddie Woodlawn was eleven, and as wild a little tomboy as ever ran the woods of western Wisconsin. She was the despair of her mother and of her elder sister, Clara. But her father watched her with a little shine of pride in his eyes, and her brothers accepted her as one of themselves without a question. Indeed, Tom, who was two years older, and Warren, who was two years younger than Caddie, needed Caddie to link them together into an inseparable trio. Together they got in and out of more scrapes and adventures than any one of them could have imagined alone. And in those pioneer days, Wisconsin offered plenty of opportunities for adventure to three wide-eyed, red-headed youngsters.
On a bright Saturday afternoon in the early fall, Tom and Caddie and Warren Woodlawn sat on a bank of the Menomonie River, or Red Cedar as they call it now, taking off their clothes. Their red heads shone in the sunlight. Tom’s hair was the darkest, Caddie’s the nearest golden, and nine-year-old Warren’s was plain carrot color. Not one of the three knew how to swim, but they were going across the river nevertheless. A thin thread of smoke beyond the bend on the other side of the river told them that the Indians were at work on a birch-bark canoe.
“Do you think the Indians around here would ever get mad and massacre folks like they did up north?” wondered Warren, tying his shirt up in a little bundle.
“No, sir,” said Tom, “not these Indians!”
“Not Indian John, anyhow,” said Caddie. She had just unfastened the many troublesome little buttons on the back of her tight-waisted dress, and, before taking it off, she paused a moment to see if she could balance a fresh-water clam shell on her big toe. She found that she could.
“No, not Indian John!” she repeated decidedly, having got the matter of the clam shell off her mind. “Even if he does have a scalp belt,” she added. The thought of the scalp belt always made her hair prickle delightfully up where her scalp lock grew.
“Naw,” said Tom, “the fellows who spread those massacree stories are just big-mouthed scared-cats who don’t know the Indians, I guess.”
“Big-mouthed scared cats,” repeated Warren, admiring Tom’s command of language.
“Big-mouthed scared-cats,” echoed a piping voice from the bank above. Seven-year-old Hetty, who fluttered wistfully on the outer edge of their adventures, filed away Tom’s remark in her active brain. It would be useful to tell to Mother, some time when Mother was complaining about Tom’s language. The three below her paid no attention to Hetty’s intrusion. Their red heads, shining in the sunlight, did not even turn in her direction. Hetty’s hair was red, too, like Father’s, but somehow, in spite of her hair, she belonged on the dark-haired side of the family where Mother and Clara and all the safe and tidy virtues were. She poised irresolutely on the bank above the three adventurous ones. If they had only turned around and looked at her! But they were enough in themselves. She could not make up her mind what to do. She wanted to go with them, and yet she wanted just as much to run home and tell Mother and Clara what they were about to do. Hetty was the self-appointed newsbearer of the family. Wild horses could not prevent her from being the first to tell, whatever it was that happened.
Tom and Caddie and Warren finished undressing, tied their clothes into tight bundles, and stepped out into the river. The water was low after a long, hot summer, but still it looked cold and deep. Hetty shuddered. She had started to undo one shoe, but now she quickly tied it up again. She had made up her mind. She turned around and flew across the fields to tell Mother.
Tom knew from experience that he could just keep his chin above water and touch bottom with his toes across the deep part of the river. It would have been over Caddie’s and Warren’s heads, but, if they held onto Tom and kept their feet paddling, they could just keep their heads above water. They had done it before. Tom went first with his bundle of clothes balanced on his head. Caddie came next, clutching Tom’s shoulder with one hand and holding her bundle of clothes on top of her head with the other. Warren clung to Caddie’s shoulder in the same manner, balancing his own clothes with his free hand. They moved slowly and carefully. If Tom lost his footing or fell, they would all go down together and be swept away by the current toward the village below. But the other two had every confidence in Tom, and Tom had not the slightest reason to doubt himself. They looked like three beavers, moving silently across the current—three heads with three bundles and a little wake of ripples trailing out behind them. Last of all came Nero, the farm dog, paddling faithfully behind them. But Hetty was already out of sight.
Presently there was solid riverbed beneath their feet again. The three children scrambled out on the other side, shook themselves as Nero did, and pulled on their dry, wrinkled clothing.
“Hurry up, Caddie,” called Tom. “You’re always the last to dress.”
“So would you be, too, Tom, if you had so many buttons!” protested Caddie. She came out of the bushes struggling with the back of her blue denim dress. Relenting, Tom turned his superior intelligence to the mean task of buttoning her up the back.
“I wish Mother’d let me wear boys’ clothes,” she complained.
“Huh!” said Warren. “She thinks you’re tomboy enough already.”
“But they’re so much quicker,” said Caddie regretfully.
Now that they were dressed, they sped along the river bank in the direction of the smoke. Several Indian canoes were drawn up on shore in the shelter of a little cove and beyond them in a clearing the Indians moved to and fro about a fire. Propped on two logs was the crude framework of a canoe which was already partly covered with birch bark. The smell of birch smoke and hot pitch filled the air. Caddie lifted her head and sniffed. It was perfume to her, as sweet as the perfume of the clover fields. Nero sniffed, too, and growled low in his throat.
The three children stopped at the edge of the clearing and watched. Even friendly Indians commanded fear and respect in those days. A lean dog, with a wolfish look, came forward barking.
He and Nero circled about each other, little ridges of bristling hair along their spines, their tails wagging suspiciously. Suddenly the Indian dog left Nero and came toward Caddie.
“Look!” said Caddie. “It’s Indian John’s dog.” The dog’s tail began to wag in a friendlier manner, and Caddie reached out and patted his head.
By this time the Indians had noticed the children. They spoke among themselves and pointed. Some of them left their work and came forward.
In all the seven years since the Woodlawns had come from Boston to live in the big house on the prairie, the Indians had never got used to seeing them. White men and their children they had seen often enough, but never such as these, who wore, above their pale faces, hair the color of flame and sunset. During the first year the children spent in Wisconsin, the Indians had come from all the country around to look at them. They had come in groups, crowding into Mrs. Woodlawn’s kitchen in their silent moccasins, touching the children’s hair and staring. Poor Mrs. Woodlawn, frightened nearly out of her wits, had fed them bread or beans or whatever she had on hand, and they had gone away satisfied.
“Johnny, my dear,” Mrs. Woodlawn had complained to her husband, “those frightful savages will eat us out of house and home.”
“Patience, Harriet,” said her husband, “we have enough and to spare.”
“But, Johnny, the way they look at the children’s hair frightens me. They might want a red scalp to hang to their belts.”
Caddie remembered very vividly the day, three years before, when she had gone unsuspecting into the store in the village. As she went in the door, a big Indian had seized her and held her up in the air while he took a leisurely look at her hair. She had been so frightened that she had not even cried out, but hung there, wriggling in the Indian’s firm grasp, and gazing desperately about the store for help.
reassuring voice: “You needn’t be afraid, Caddie. He’s a good Indian. It’s Indian John.”
That was the strange beginning of a friendship, for a kind of friendship it was, that had grown up between Caddie and Indian John. The boys liked Indian John, too, but it was at Caddie and her red-gold curls that the big Indian looked when he came to the farm, and it was for Caddie that he left bits of oddly carved wood and once a doll—such a funny doll with a tiny head made of a pebble covered with calico, black horsehair braids, calico arms and legs, and a buckskin dress! John’s dog knew his master’s friends. Caddie had been kind to him and he accepted her as a friend.
He rubbed his head against her now as she patted his rough hair. Indian John left his work on the canoe and came forward.
“You like him dog?” he said, grinning. He was flattered when anyone patted his dog.
“Yes,” said Caddie, “he’s a good dog.”
“Will you let us see how you put the canoe together?” asked Tom eagerly.
“You come look,” said the Indian.
They followed him to the half-finished canoe. Grunting and grinning, the Indians took up their work. They fastened the pliable sheaths of birch bark into place on the light framework, first sewing them together with buckskin thongs, then cementing them with the hot pitch. The children were fascinated. Their own canoe on the lake was an Indian canoe. But it had been hollowed out of a single log. They had seen the birch-bark canoes on the river, but had never been so close to the making of one. They were so intent on every detail that time slipped by unheeded. Even the squaws, who came up behind them to examine their hair, did not take their attention from the building of the canoe. Caddie shook her head impatiently, flicking her curls out of their curious fingers, and went on watching.
But after a while Warren said: “Golly! I’m hungry.” Perhaps it was the odor of jerked venison, simmering over the fire, which had begun to mingle with the odors of birch and pitch, that made Warren remember he was hungry.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes