“I heard Maude saying her prayers in the wagon, but no sound from ma. I couldn’t say my prayers. Usually, ma saw to it that I did, but tonight I couldn’t say a word aloud. I tried, opening my mouth, but no words came out. I thought them, as much as I could. I tried not to think about pa. Spreading the blanket, I lay down on it, holding the carbine close to me. It seemed a part of pa and all that was left; I hugged it.”
This Howard Fast story follows the trail of a young boy on a Westward Trek who has to grow up fast. While it is well-written and has heart, I was a bit less absorbed in the narrative than in other similar tales.
That may, indeed, be the fault of this particular reader.