When you think of prairie today, people think of prairie grasses, prairie dogs, buffalo, and wolves. During the time Laura Ingalls Wilder describes in her books, the prairie grasses are getting plowed under and the buffalo are being hunted towards extinction (it’s a fairly miraculous story why they didn’t disappear, but that’s a story for another post). Wolves, however, are an important part of the stories. A pack of wolves surround Pa while he’s hunting in Kansas and later a group of wolves surround the house and howl. Later in the then Dakota Territory, Carrie and Laura go running across the ice and discover a pair of wolves revisiting their old den on Silver Lake. What did those howling wolves sound like? Naturalists at Yellowstone Natural Park have recorded their howls. I couldn’t find a good way to isolate the wolf howls, so follow the link, scroll down to Winter Wolves and play the recording. Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a little log cabin surrounded by wolves in Montgomery County, Kansas Territory.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.