Voice of the Turtle
By  Edythe Squier Draper

An excerpt ... The full story is at "The Center for Kansas Studies"

"Reckon supper's 'bout ready," Forrest said, and waited beside the sagging door. His father came out and they walked along in the dark together, keeping step with their short legs. Corn-bread, not very much baked, made with water and a little milk and soda, was steaming in pieces around on the table. A pail of syrup was there and another smaller pail with milk in it. The family sat down, some on a bench along the wall, some on stools, two on chairs. They did not talk. They were tired, all. The children were sleepy, hungry. The door was open. The air came in from wood and field, soft, still, not cold. A brown, dusty moth appeared and flew around the little lamp, bumping the chimney now and again. Chewing, swallowing, reaching for bread, for syrup, for milk, they watched the moth. As they watched, one sighed, and then another of the   family, without knowing, until they had all sighed, deeply.

After that in the quiet: "Cro-aak! Cro- aaak! Cro-aaak!"
An interval of stillness, and again: "Cro-aak! Cro-aak! Cro-aaak!"

Silas laughed and called out in his little thin boy voice: "I know what them is! ... Frogses!"
"No more frost," Poppy said.
"Mom! Mom!" Edward was pulling at his mother's dress. "Hey, Mom! C'n I go bar'foot t'morry? Kin I, Mom?"
"That you kin, Son. That you kin!"

Mommy's deep laughter was pleasant to hear.
"Ain' got no shoes no more nohow!"
"C'n I?" thinly piped each little girl.
Their mother smiled at them, her one long tooth showing agreeably, and she nodded at the pale, eager faces.

They hugged themselves and shivered a  little. Oh, barefoot! You wriggling, grass tickling, mud going up between your toes, gravel hurting, you getting used to it.

"I aim to give this here place a good cleanin' t'morry, I do," Mommy said deeply.
"Spring a-comin' on so."
"I'll see ter gittin' that cow t'morry, I will," Poppy said. "Pay's much down's I've got, work th' rest out fer Williams."
"I'll work th' rest out fer Williams, I will,"
Forrest said. "I'll be done that ploughin' t'morry easy."

They all sighed again, and smiled, and lay down and slept.