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Putting on Josiah's capote, Emma lifted down her pa's shotgun and then located the ax, propped against the wall behind the door. An excited smile on her lips, Emma bundled Mary against the cold, and then prepared to leave with ax and rifle.

"I don't know what yer up to," Josiah finally spoke up, "but I don't want you straying too far from the lodge. It ain't safe."

"We won't go far," nodded Emma. She looked down at Mary. "Come, Little One, let's go tree hunting!" Mary's face was just as puzzled as Josiah's, but Emma didn't let that discourage her holiday spirit.

Opening the heavy cabin door, Emma stepped outside with Mary following close behind.

"What are we doing?" asked Mary, as Emma went to some nearby trees and looked them over with a critical eye.

"We're selecting a Christmas tree, just like the ones I used to have in Indiana. Ma would put our small Christmas tree on a table in the parlor, and people would come from miles around, just to see it! Let's go a little further into the woods and see if we can't find a small tree."

Casting a glance over her shoulder at the cabin, Emma ventured into the thickly wooded trees further down the mountain.

"What is a parlor?" Mary asked in halting English.

"It's a room where you receive guests into your home."

"Oh." Mary still didn't sound as though she understood, and Emma realized her previous life in Indiana had been vastly different from the one Mary had known with the Blackfoot.

Wiping her runny nose against her blanket wrap, Mary watched as Emma chopped the top off a middle-sized evergreen.

"This should suit our purposes just fine!" laughed Emma. "Now, to get this back to the cabin!"

Letting Mary tote the small tree, Emma started back in the direction of home.

Even though Josiah was flat on his stomach, his back was bothering him again. With an impatient groan, he wondered when Emma would return. It was nearing the center of the day, and he had expected her to be back by now. Lumbering over to the window, Josiah opened the shutters to look outside. The snow was coming down heavily, and Josiah knew it would quickly cover tracks, making it difficult for Emma to find her way back to the lodge. Concerned, he prepared to go after her.

Since Josiah no longer had a hunting shirt or buffalo coat, he wrapped himself in a blanket and then a heavy robe. As he started for the door, he heard the sounds of a talking woman, not too far from the cabin.

Hurrying off the blanket and robe, Josiah cast them aside and quickly went back to his bed just as the door opened.

A blast of air rushed inside, and Emma appeared in Josiah's capote, covered with snow but laughing. Mary was smiling broadly, as she held what looked to be a miniature tree in her hands. The moment Mary's eyes met Josiah's, however, her smile disappeared and she quickly got behind Emma.
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