Suddenly, deep down in the water, something grabbed her foot.
The thing jerked, and down she went into the deep water. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't see. She grabbed and could not get hold of anything. Water filled her ears and her eyes and her mouth.
Then her head came out of the water close to Pa's head. Pa was holding her.
"Well, young lady," Pa said, "you went out too far, and how did you like it?"
Laura could not speak; she had to breathe.
"You heard Ma tell you to stay close to the bank," said Pa. "Why didn't you obey her? You deserved a ducking, and I ducked you. Next time, you'll do as you're told."
"Y-yes, Pa!" Laura spluttered. "Oh, Pa, p-please do it again!"
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Synopsis: The series begins with "Little House in the Big Woods" and ends with "The First Four Years", taking the reader from Laura's early childhood in a pioneer family through the first years of her marriage to farmer Almanzo Wilder. "Farmer Boy" tells stories from Almanzo's youth.
* * *
I started reading these when I was very young and went through two sets of them. My second set is currently falling apart and I'm not sure where "The First Four Years" went, but I can get lost in the story now as much as ever. When I went looking for a quote, I wound up reading half of On the Banks of Plum Creek.
The father-daughter friendship is probably the main reason I love these books so much. Laura always seemed to feel about her "Pa" much like I feel about my dad. There's no substitute in the world for having a good man for a father.
These probably deserve to be a little higher up the list, but if I keep rearranging the numbers I'll never get the whole fifty posted.
Random Associated Memory: I used to watch the television show faithfully, though it diverged wildly from the books. At the end of one episode--I think it might have been Mary's wedding (see, I told you it wasn't like the books)--a little boy kisses Carrie and the words "To Be Continued in Fifteen Years" show up on the screen. I waited fifteen years for the continuation. It never came.