Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed.

Editor's Note: This is an ongoing series which runs each Thursday morning titled the Richland Chronicles Volume 2, by author Paul Lintern. It is set in the summer of 1831 and tells the story of Richland County through the eyes of young people. This is the second in a three-book trilogy. Volume 1 was Amelia Changes Her Tune.

No sooner had Isaac looked up from being sick to his stomach than his father had grabbed Amelia and was running down the hill to his horses.

He was a faster runner and had a faster horse than Uncle Jacob, who had grabbed Autumn and was carrying her down as well, several steps behind.

Isaac looked at Wolf Paw who was catching his breath while staying clear of the dozens of snakes in his vicinity.

“Go,” yelled Mr. Charles. “We'll stay and finish this, then come down to the Inn.”

The boys ran down the hill, arriving at the horse the same time as John.

“Go find Appleseed John,” Isaac's father said. “We'll be at our house.”

The boys hopped on Green and raced off ahead of the men. The horse seemed to know the emergency and flew as never before. They rushed to the Inn to shout the news that Amelia had been bit and to hurry to John and Katherine's house to help.

They rushed off before Peggy or Elizabeth could ask any questions, because Isaac did not want to answer any. They rode to Isaac's house, where he roused his mother from the barn to tell her Amelia was being brought there and that he and Wolf Paw were going for Appleseed John, again leaving before having to say too much.

He didn't want to say what he thought the outcome would be.

“Where do you think Appleseed is?” Wolf Paw asked.

“He was here just a few nights ago and I don't think he was going far. We'll check in the village first,” Isaac said.

When they arrived in Mansfield, they went first to Mr. Arnold's store. He was fond of Amelia and Isaac knew he would be helpful. Although he did not know where Appleseed was now, Mr. Arnold did know that Mansfield Gilkison had hosted him across the square within the last day or so.

As they were running out the door, Mr. Arnold said he would let people know so they could go help. The boys found Mansfield Hedges Gilkison, and his bride, Emaline, at their new frame house on the south side of the square.

Young Gilkison had been the first baby born in Mansfield, and the town planner, James Hedges, offered to give the boy a house lot of his own on his 18th birthday, if Mr. Hedges could name the baby. The Gilkisons agreed. That was 20 years ago.

“He was here last night,” Mansfield said. “He shouldn't be too far. He said something about visiting Samuel Lewis, out east of town. Do you know him?”

Isaac looked at Wolf Paw.

“Yeah, we met him.”

After getting better directions, the boys headed east across Ritter's Run and toward Mifflin, but not that far. They found the road leading to the Lewis home, a new, two-story tan and white stone building with a variety of colorful flowers in the front.

They rode up and hopped off before Green had completely stopped. Isaac pounded on the door. A friendly woman, older than Isaac's mother and younger than his grandmother, answered the door, and acted as though the boys were long-time family friends, especially when they asked for Mr. Lewis.

“Boys, what a surprise,” Samuel said, and told his wife that he had met them at Greentown. “Come in, this is a perfect time for you to be here. I have someone special for you to meet.”

“I think that is who we came for,” Isaac said.

“Well, young Isaac, what a glorious treat to see you and your friend so soon.”

“You know them, too?” asked Samuel.

“Since his birthday, the original one. He is a child of the Oakland Inn, and my friends there,” said Appleseed John, a local hero, apple orchard businessman, preacher and friend to all people, plants and animals.

He also was well respected as a provider of herbs and concoctions that healed when no doctor was around.

“The girl from Boston, Amelia, was bit by a rattler. It's real bad. We need your help,” Isaac said.

“The little fiddle player?”

Isaac nodded.

“You go on back. I'll be right there, but first I have to gather some herbs, some medicines. I’ll meet you up there later today. I will not let the sun set on my task,” Appleseed said.

“I'll get you there,” Samuel added.

The boys uttered their thanks and galloped straight north to the Inn. Folks had already begun gathering outside of Isaac's home by the time they returned. John was talking to a few, and when he saw Isaac he called for Katherine, who appeared at the doorway.

She apparently saw the worry on his face and said, “She's alive, but that's a lot of venom. We're keeping her cool and praying. Did you find Appleseed John?”

“He's on his way. Mr. Arnold is coming, too.”

“He's already here,” she said, motioning in the house. “He brought some cloths and oils. Elizabeth is taking charge of the bedside, and Peggy ran back to the Inn to get some supplies.

“Go see to Autumn. She's pretty upset.”

Me? What am I gonna say?

Isaac and Wolf Paw walked over to the pasture. There sat Autumn by herself, on a bench next to the big oak tree in the center. She was sitting with her knees drawn up to her chin, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down her face.

The boys sat on either side of her, but she acted like neither one was there. Nobody said anything. They just sat there.

Isaac wanted to pray, like they did at church, but he didn't know the right words, so he just sighed and silently asked God to help - help Amelia, and help Autumn. Although he had never really hugged Autumn before, unless wrestling counted, he thought he should do something.

He put his arm over her shoulders, thinking it should not be this awkward. She immediately threw her arms around his neck and began to sob, loud and long. Isaac did not know what to do. So, he just sat there. Wolf Paw just sat there. Autumn just sobbed.

Then, several minutes later, without saying anything, Autumn stopped, wiped her eyes with her apron, then slowly got up, took a deep breath and walked to the house. For the next three days, while Amelia lay unconscious, Autumn sat by her side along with Elizabeth.

Isaac and Wolf Paw kept busy with chores and a steady stream of people came and went, asking about the girl and offering prayers. Appleseed John stayed at Isaac's house, reading scriptures, offering assurances and supplying Elizabeth with a salve that would help Amelia's wounds.

And then, on the third day, Amelia woke up!

The boys got the word at the Inn and ran to the house, peeking in the door long enough to confirm that she was awake, and then riding Green throughout the area, telling everyone the news.

“She's awake.”

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