Summary: Some short-stories , prequels with the whole family (even Marie) . Young years of Cartwright boys, especially the little Tornado named Joseph.
No special warning, just a few moments with an angry Ben… LOL
Rated: K+ WC 3700
Short Stories Series:
Short story number 1
The first is called “Again”, just that.
Little Joe arrives at home, school is finished and it’s a good thing. School is always too long for a 8-years-old boy. Too ennoying. He has to sit down and to listen at history. He doesn’t care about people who are dead. Dead, oh yeah, that’s what he’ll soon be. He has a note from her teacher for his father. Again. Always the same. Always the same words on the same paper, a grey paper, grey like the color of the wall, the corner where he has to stand for punishment. He looks more often at the wall than at his books. The teacher should be proud of him, he knows every details of the wall, he counted every wholes in the wall.
“Joe, how was the day ? “
Again, he thought for himself, the same question, again. Day after day the same question; and the same answer. “Mhhhh” could have been better. But Joe doesn’t dare to answer something like that. Too dangerous. His father would call that “insolence”. Like every day the teacher sit down on her chair and let them sit. THen like every day she gave them some problems to resolve. She always gives some problem, like every eight years old boys , Little Joe has a lot of problems , so he hates doing that at school. THe life is unfair, no right doing something great, his father is unfair, his brother are unfair. Always “don’t do that” “you’re too young” “have you done your homework ” Have you done your chores” … always the same.
Joe puts his books on the table and puts his hands in his pocket. THe paper is there, folded in 4. Without having a look on the paper, he gives it to his father.
Joe nods. He knows , what to expect. His father signs and sights.
But today it was different. Oh yes the teacher sit down once again, but this time there was an egg on her chair. That was very different.
The look again, the corner again, and the pain on his backside again, but it was different, there was an egg on the chair. And that changed everything.
Short story number 2 “how do you feel”
« Marie ; my love ; how do you feel ».
Very slowly the young lady opens her blue eyes. Her first look after dark is for the one above her ; her husband.
« I’m fine, tired but fine »
She reaches her hand towards him, he takes her hand and puts a tender kiss on the sweet pink skin.
« Oh my sweetheart, I love you so much »…
Ben can’t help crying ; he feels tears rolling on his checks. He loves her so much, he feels so blessed to have a so lovely diamond on his way. He wasn’t waiting anything from life, and she came in to share time with him.
“How is our son, Benjamin ? she whispers.
“He is a treasure, a baby treasure, he has such tiny hands and his skin is so sweet. I don’t recall, I have ever seen so tiny hands. Hoss was so tall when he was born”. He replies with laughing.
A child is born on the Ponderosa. The last day of October. A child wished by a whole family : Hoss and Adam were so impatient to see the baby growing up in Maries belly. Ben and Marie had talked about the whole mystery of babies. At six Hoss can’t imagine the whole truth but he saw Maries dress being less flat than usual.
“How do you feel, my love ? “ Ben asks while kissing her on the check.
“No time for being tired, Benjamin. There’s so much to be done. Nothing will be ready. I would like everything would be perfect.. she replies, not stopping walking, putting things on the table, having a look on the cake.
“Hey hey, wait a minute, make a break, darling. Everything will be perfect, I know it, because everything you do, you do it with passion and love. Look at our baby boy growing up.
“Oh yes, he’s growing up, she replies full with amusement in her voice. “For the first time, he slept the whole night; yeah, he is growing up”.
“What a fantastic new; that means, I will have you close to me back” whispers Ben while hugging her tenderly and kissing her again.
“Benjamin, let me work, or you won’t have anything to eat. This evening is Christmas and I have a party to organize. If you want to be with me, you can help me.
“I will darling, of course I will. May I ask for some chores ? What can I do for you, Mrs Cartwright ?”
She answers, he can pick up some wood for the stove so that the traditional turkey could be coocked just as needed.
“Where are the boys ?”
Ben has been far from home for one whole week. Too much snow , he slept in town, waiting for a better weather.
“Adam and Hoss are in wood, they’ll bring the tree. I hope, Hoss will be carefull.”
The tree will be decorated from the box of heirloom ornaments and tinsel that has seen many Christmases. Each little thing tells a story : the little angel made by Elisabeth, the stars made by Inger and this year ; it will be different ; « Joy to the world, a child is born on the Ponderosa. He is three month old, but nobody cares of that. He is beautiful and he slept his firts whole night without asking for milk during the night. Miracle of Christmas…
« How do you feel, my love ? » asks Ben while kissing her on the hand then on the check.
« exhausted » she whispers.
« Oh I’m sorry. » Ben replies. « I know, I’m not very often at home. So you have to deal alone with that little rascal.
« Oh, I feel lucky, because Hop Sing is there, he is a big help. He has more patience that I » she says, trouble in her voice.
« That’s because he doesn’t loose any time, saying things three times or more. He doesn’t like to repeat and boys know it, even our little scamp.
« Sometimes I wish, he could go to school. » she replies while drying her hands in a towel.
« Oh you would like to transfer the problem to someone else ! I agree with you. The truth is , he is too young. No teacher would take of a three years old stick of dynamite. » he says that with laugh in his voice.
« And you’re right. Oh , God help me, I had to fight today, he didn’t want to pick up his toys. So I did it and….
« MARIE » Ben starts to protest. He doesn’t like the idea of Joe winning against his mother.
« Ben, let me finish. I said, I did it for him, but I decided, he won’t have them for the whole day.
« Oh , that’s fine. And now, what is he doing ? Maybe I should have a little talk with him. » Ben adds with a stern voice.
« He’s having a nap now. »
« How do you feel, Tresor ? » Marie sits down close to her baby boy and puts her hand on his back.
The little boy mooves and turns his head on the pillow. His eyes are full with sleep.
« Sweeti, you may have milk and coockies. And there is a surprise, downstairs.
« what a supwize, Ma »
« Jump out from your bed and come with me. You’ll see » she replies by rubbing his back.
« PAAAA » Oh the little boy is so happy seeing his Pa being back. Three whole days, that’s long.
Ben stops the boy running downstairs , grabs him and puts him on his hips.
« young boy, no running in the house, is that clear ? Ben adds with stern in the voice.
« Mmmm ». The boy doesn’t answer.
« Wrong answer, young boy. « yes sir » is what you says.
The little boy nodds and whispers « yes sir ».
Then Little Joe receives milk and cookies in the kitchen. There he surprises both his parents by asking :
« Litte Joe wants toys, mama mean, took it ».
Toys he didn’t have any but a threat of a swat that close his mouth, for a little while.
Short story number 3 “I won’t I won’t”
“you have too, Tresor, it will help you to recover. I’m sure, you want to be fine to go outside, playing in the snow, don’t you.
-Yes ma. Wanna play with snow.
-you will, little boy. But first, you have to drink hot vervain.
– No, I won’t , I won’t.”
Little Joe hits the cover with his little fists. His mother puts the cup on the little table, before he hits it and send it to the ground. Since the begining of the day, Little Joe is sick. His stomach hurts ; he doesn’t want anything, he has to stay in the bed for the whole day ; sleps a little while and plays with his toys. But when he feels better and wants to do something else. His mother has to find some amusement or there will be a tantrum. She brings him paper and shows him how to cut it to do some stars. Phhfff, he likes it.
« make fun, ma ».
-yes, my dear. That’s great doing some ornements for christmas. Maybe we could sing ? What would you like to sing ?
« the one with joy and….. ; don’t recall it ».
« Joy to the world, mon petit. Maybe I could teach you a new one , it ‘s easy to sing. Maybe we could learn it now and sing it together for your papa ?
« Oh yes, ma ».
And very quickly Little Joe learns the lyrics of the song and now he’s singing with a big pleasure « we wish you a merry christmas » while cuting some papers to do wings for the angel his mother just made.
« Just a little bit of potatoes, mon petit. »
-I don’t like pota’oes ; Not good. Little Joe wants ‘hocolat, please ma.
-No chocolate for sore bellies. Eat now, Little Joe.
– I won’t, I won’t , I wanna go out. Don’t want to stay in bed »
Four years old little boy is struggling, screaming, kicking, he express his anger, his frustrations. he tryes to go out but his mother has a firm grip on him. As a last ressort she gives him a swat on the behind.
“I want you to stay in your bed .” She’s not pleased with that kind of behavior, especially after lunch time. She doesn’t yet has her coffee, and has to fight with the boy.
Hoss is in the kitchen. He hears the commotion upstairs. He can’t believe that his baby brother has so much energy and his mother so much patience. Much more than his pa. Oh lord, if his Pa had been here, little Tornado would have had a very sore bottom.
Marie comes down. She goes to the kitchen. She wants to have a well deserved cup of coffee.
« Ma, why baby brother do that ?
-well, Imagine how you feel when you’re determined to do something and aren’t able to do it, no matter how hard you try, because you can’t understand how. It’s pretty frustrating, so your baby brother is feeling the same. He wants to play outside and I don’t allow.
-You’re right, not allowing, ma. He is a very sick little boy.
-thanks, mon grand. I’m very proud of you for supporting me. » she says putting her hand on Hoss shoulders. She appreciates the words. She feels alone and guilty because of the swat she had to administer. She tryes to be patient but Little Tornado puts her limits « behind endurance » would say her stepson, Adam.
As Ben comes in the room, he sees his little boy laying on his stomach, asleep on his pillow, papers around him. Ben puts his hand on nacked Joes foot, out from the cover. The skin is sweet. He puts his lips on the little foot, trying not to awake him. Little Tornado is sleeping and it’s a precious time : that means no tantrum, no « I won’t » ; no fight and that’s priceless. Marie just told about the day and the many « I won’t » from the day. He knows, he’ll have to « talk » to little tiger, before timebed. Another conversation, the same he had the day before and the day before. Always the same talks ; the promise of « I won’t do it again ». Never a chance that Little Joe keeps promises. Ben is not sure, words comes through his head. Maybe words come close to his ear, but never come in. Unfortunately.
« Hey baby, how do you feel ?
– Pa, Little Joe is not sick anymore. Want to play outside. Mama says, I can go when I’m fine. I’m fine so I can go.
-Oh no , you won’t, young boy .
-But Pa », Joe complains.
-No pa, little boy. Or you’ll be in big big trouble. Mama said, you were a naughty boy today, weren’t you ? »
Little Joe doesn’t dare to nod. He looks rather at his feet and at his fathers boots.
« Little Joe, not naughty. » whispers the baby boy.
Blatant omission, thought Ben for himself, trying to hide a smile.
« Pa , can I go outside, touch my hands, they’re warm enough. Pa, can I go ? »
Pa closed the conversation by showing his hands, explaining that « hand of mine is warm to and will warm your behind if you don’t stop that tantrum ». Magic arguments. The tantrum stops immediately and a very contrite little boy comes downstairs to apologize to his ma.
Short story number 4
Later, I will marry her.
It is pleasant to awake on calm sunday, without thinking about work. This has been a long week, a busy week , the weather hadn’t been a friend neither. Rain and cold, that what Cartwright and neighbors had had for the whole week. But as soon as Ben opens his eyes, he sees a wonderfull sky through the little window of his bedroom. Marie is still sleeping. He doesn’t want to awake her, not so early. She had a hard week too , so a few minutes calm is something she’ll enjoy. Ben takes the Holly Bible and starts reading a few lines, those he so richly likes. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Oh he trusts those words so much, oh yes he does. And love is close to him.
***************the day before. (flashback)
« ADAM »
He can’t believe it what he just saw. Oh yeah, this boy will be in big big trouble, as big as he is.
The 17 years old boy turns his head, he just realised. This voice. He knows this voice perfectly. First the voice, then the look. A black look. Incredible how Bens eyes can change and can become darker as the sky in storm. Storm, oh yeah, that’s exactly what will fall on Adams head.
« ADAM STODDART CARTWRIGHT, What is the meaning of this ? Ben bellowed his son’s name.
His deep, booming voice just broke the tender moment between Adam and Belinda Harnwood, daughter of one oldest Bens friend.
-Pa, are you sure, you need some explanation ? After all, the scene is clear enough. » Adam replyes without thinking, that could make the situation worse.
« I know, pa, you’re angry but….
-there is nothing more to say, Adam. I just saw. I just can’t believe it. Adam, how could you do something like that. »
Adam thought for himself, that it was very easy to do. But he didn’t add anything. He saw steam coming out his fathers head, no good sign. Never. Even if you have had 17 candles on your birthday cake.
« IN THE WAGON, NOW. »
Wenn the rain beginns to fall, thought Adam, it’s time to run. That ‘s what he does.
At the moment when Ben raises his finger to the direction, he feels his arm gripped by a hand and a voice sounds loud :
« Ben, where is Joe ? Is he with you ?
Ben doesn’t answer. No he doesn’t know, where the baby boy is. He has business with the oldest… But business will wait.
« Marie, calm down. I’m sure, he’s not far. We’ll find him. »
Where are those happy days without worries ? Ben wonders, where they are. The old son knows better than flirting like that, in the trees, and the baby boy is now missing. At least, baby boy shouldn’t be kissing one girl. But thinking about what may happen to the little boy, Ben starts to regret, he woudn’t. After all, Adam didn’t put himself in danger. No danger ? Not sure, if Belindas father had seen them, maybe he would have thrown his fist in Adams face.
« Hoss, have you seen Little Joe », Marie asks her middle son. But Hoss can’t reply with affirmative sentence. He explains, he was playing with young Thomas.
-I’m sorry , Ma. I should have kept an eye on him.
-no need to be sorry, mon grand. We’ll find him.
-yes Hoss, your ma is right. You’re not in trouble. »
Both of his sons are in very big big trouble, and Ben is very proud of this one. Same blood in three bodies, the same blood, his blood. The same look, the spirit of adventure in those eyes. Three fine boys, differents.
After the anger, the fear. He tryes to remember what he was doing at that moment, where both of his sons disapeared. Was he talking ? Was he drinking a cup of coffee with friends ? He doesn’t remember. They’re near the lake, even if Joe has been told not to go by, Ben isn’t sure, he has been obeyed. After all the 17 years old boy broke the rules, so he won’t be surprised, the youngest would have done the same. At this moment, Ben knows, he will have a very sore hand at the end of the day. Oh yes, he will have.
Ben, Marie and Hoss run towards the lake, they call in every direction. Little Joe doesn’t answer. Minutes after minutes, the fear lets place to panic. Marie can held her tears, she’s really anxious. Ben doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t want to admit it, but his heart is on breakpoint. And his stomach is torn. Oh Lord, help us, please, lets hope, he ‘ll be fine. He has to be safe, for experiencing a so-deserved couple of swats on his behind , just to cure him of the desire to do that again.
********* 45 minutes later.
No sign of Little Joe. Ben, supporting Marie, comes back near the picnic’s place. Hoss walks slowly, he is sad. He doesn’t dare to look at his parents. He feels guilty. Ben looks at each corner, at each tree ; trying to imagine where his baby boy could have fun ; what could have attracted him ? A butterfly ? A little snake ? Everything could attract him. He is now angry at himself, for not having kept a better eye on him.
« Oh Ben, say to me, we’ll find him.
-I hope so, darling. I hope so. We just can pray and keep on searching. »
To search, for sure, they did. But they didn’t find him. Because he wasn’t where they looked at. When they came back to the wagon, where Adam had found a very uncomfortable place, waiting for a more uncomfortable moment, they didn’t see the little boy hidden behind the big wheel..
And then they saw him…. Ben stopped. Oh yes he was there. He didn’t see his parents until his father’s voice boomed. Little Joe stood up and gave a lovely look to his pa :
« Hi pa.
-WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE ?
-Nothing pa, I was playing with Kate. And you know what ? Later, I and she , we’ll marry. »
Ben bursted into a big laugh, as big as the anger he just had. He just wasn’t thinking, he would hear something like that. Even Adam hadn’t said something like that in the same situation a few minutes earlier…
Ben thought, too much was too much. He picked the boy, put him in the wagon and without a word, brought his family to home. Adam didn’t dare to say any word, anxious to see what would happen.
« I’ll let it go this time » Ben finished the day with those words.
Adam went to his room, mentally thanked his baby brother for being smarter than he was… Today he kissed a girl, he avoided a severe tanning, everything was allright.
Little Joe was put in his bed. He had fun with Kate and yes, one day, he’ll marry her.
Oh yeah, that was the most terrible and the most funny day Ben Cartwright never had. A saturday like that, for sure, Ben never had one before.
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