Ox-Cart Man (Ages 5-12)
By Donald Hall
Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
A New England farm family gathers everything that they have grown, harvested, made and collected for the past year to sell at the nearest market to get them through the next year. Apples, homegrown potatoes, handmade mittens, wool from the sheep; all of the family’s goods are packed up on the ox-cart, and the father walks several days to town to sell it all and buy new goods. Once he reaches Portsmouth Market, he sells all that he came with, including his ox and cart, and uses the coins to purchase new things for the home: a kettle for his wife, a carving knife for his son, an embroidery needle for his daughter and supplies for the farm. When he returns home, the cycle begins anew as the family makes candles, plants and carves and shears sheep for the following year. Barbara Cooney illustrates this lovely story of simplicity and resourcefulness, and her color and detail make one feel present in each scene. It is beautiful to witness the seemingly lost art of self-sufficiency and living off the land, presented to children in a very simple and appealing manner through Donald Hall’s writing style.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2022🖨️ Print post