Rose Wilder, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Manly Wilder, is settling in nicely to her new home in Missouri. Grandma Ingalls writes to Rose regularly and sends the family the DeSmet news every week. One night the family dog Fido raises a fuss which sends the Wilders running outside. Papa catches a boy in their henhouse. Papa brings the youngster into their home and questions him as to his name and background. Although the boy refuses to talk at first, he finally tells Papa that his name is Swiney Baird and that he is an orphan who lives with his brother Abe. Starving after racoons broke into their food bin, Swiney was planning to snatch a few eggs from the henhouse in order to eat. Papa and Mama feed Swiney and offer him a place to sleep for the night since his brother is out of town for two days. Rose doesn't like Swiney very much; She believes him to be nothing more than a common thief. When the Wilders wake up in the morning, Swiney is gone. Later that afternoon Pa returns home with Swiney and his older brother, Abe. Abe is very apologetic about his brother's attempted thievery and offers the family a racoon to cook for supper. Although Mama is apalled by the thought of eating a racoon she graciously accepts Abe's gift and cooks up the racoon. Papa decides to take Abe on as his hired man. Mama bathes Swiney and cleans his clothes. When Rose gives Swiney a tour of their farm, Rocky Ridge, Swiney shows Rose a game called tree topping, a game that involves going to the top of a tree, bending its branches then jumping over the tree. Rose is starting to believe that Swiney is very good company indeed. Rose is delighted when she is allowed to accompany Papa into town on Market day. Rose is amazed by the crowded town -wagons, horses, farmers and stores galore. Mr. Reynolds, one of the store owners, gives Rose a bag of lemon drop candies, which is a rare treat for Rose. As the Wilders head back to Rocky Ridge they fear the worst when they see smoke spirals coming from the direction of their home.
This report prepared by Sandra Calhoune