Auno and Tauno - a story of Finland by Marguerite Henry - PDF Children book 1940
It is winter in Finland. For three long months, lights will be burning in all the little wooden houses from one end of the land to the other. Especially in the daytime, for the days are gray like kitten’s fluff. But at night the great white moon and the stars light up the snow.
They throw a soft half-light as if some good fairy had flown low and brushed the earth with her shining wings. And sometimes the Northern Lights send bright streamers across the sky. It is like the twilight hour in America when mothers go about lighting the lamps, making the house all cozy and warm. Winter or summer, the Arola family stirs early.
Papa Arola claps his hands, and the little twins in two little homemade beds stretch and yawn. Mama Arola is bustling between oven and table. Little curls of steam are rising from the copper coffeepot. Auno and Tauno can watch all of Mama’s movements as they dress, for the Arola house have one great room. It serves as kitchen, living room, and bed¬ room, only they call it tupa for short and pronounce it “too pa”. Auno and Tauno always have two breakfasts: first, a quick break¬ fast of coffee and pumpernickel bread; then a real breakfast. After the quick breakfast, they hurry out to play in the gray half-light until real breakfast time. No little Finn has to be called twice to come in for the real breakfast. What a feast it is! Steaming potatoes in their own jack¬ ets, salted herring, pink salmon, and mounds of white mushrooms. And with Jack Frost and North Wind striding over the country night and day, appetites are sharp as icicles. Breakfast over, Auno and Tauno shake hands with Mama and Papa and say, “Thank you for the food.” Then they strap on their skis and call, “Good-bye, Mama! Good¬ bye, Papa!” They are all muffled up in scarfs and jackets and two pairs of wool stockings. Both children are sturdy as tree stumps.
The only way Mama and Papa can tell Auno from Tauno is by her flaxen braids. Inside the bags strapped over their shoulders, they carry her¬ rings and sandwiches; and books too, of course. And in Auno’s bag, there’s a starched white apron. Outside the air is clear and still. The snow is so deep it hides all but the top rail offenses. Auno and Tauno skim over the roll¬ ing country, their skis making elfin music over the frozen snow! Up a little hill, and now whoosh! Down the hill they go. Up, down, up, down, like a never-ending roller coaster.
A reindeer, startled by their laughter, disappears into the for¬ est. Foxes streak into holes hidden beneath snow-covered stones. Badgers scurry into rocky ridges. They are out of sight in such a hurry that Auno and Tauno wonder if they really saw them at all! And white rabbits whiff across the snow like gusts of wind.
Publication date: 1940
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