The farm Paign’s family owned was set against the western rim of the Honellaken Valley, only a mile from the Knutsons’ dairy farm, where Anders lived. Freida’s home was farther up the east rim than Anders’s family farm. Her father raised sheep and goats, grazing his flocks high up in the mountains above the valley, and she helped him herd the flocks down from the mountain each Saturday. They would rise early in the morning and trudge high above the valley, listening for the jingle of bells on the collar of the lead animals. By then it would be light out, although most often it would remain gloomy from the cloud cover, which only dissipated in the warmest weeks of summer. Once they had gathered up the flocks, Freida and her father, Johann, would turn back towards home, munching on their stale hard breads, an apple and enjoy a long drink from their water flasks.
After their last class was over, on the last day of term, with the excitement that only a two-week winter break can bring, Freida rushed up to where Anders and Paign were waiting for her, at the canopy of oak branches that marked the beginning of the wagon path leading up to their farms. They didn’t care whether their desks were messy when they came back from break, like Freida did.
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