Close together, Laura and Carrie looked out from the edge of the standing grass. The hayfield was not Pa’s hayfield. A strange wagon stood there and on its rack was an enormous load of hay. On the high top of that load, up against the blinding sky, a boy was lying. He lay on his stomach, his chin on his hands and his feet in the air.
The strange man lifted up a huge forkful of hay and pitched it onto the boy. It buried him and he scrambled up out of it, laughing and shaking hay off his head and his shoulders. He had black hair and blue eyes and his face and his arms were sunburned brown.
He stood up on the high load of hay against the sky and saw Laura. He said, “Hello there!” They both stood watching Laura and Carrie come out of the tall standing grass—like rabbits, Laura thought. She wanted to turn and run back into hiding.
“I thought Pa was here,” she said, while Carrie stood small and still behind her.
The man said, “We haven’t seen anybody around here. Who is your Pa?” The boy told him, “Mr. Ingalls. Isn’t he?” he asked Laura. He was still looking at her.
“Yes,” she said, and she looked at the horses hitched to the wagon. She had seen those beautiful horses before, their haunches gleaming in the sun and the black manes glossy on their glossy necks. They were the Wilder boys’ horses. The man and boy must be the Wilder brothers.
“I can see him from here. He’s just over there,” the boy said. Laura looked up and saw him pointing. His blue eyes twinkled down at her as if he had known her a long time.
– The Long Winter, Chapter 2: An Errand To Town
Happy Birthday Almanzo Wilder, born this day in 1857.