"Come down here at once! Do you hear me Amaranth? I said come down here!"

Laurel stood under the tree, in which Amaranth had shimmied up, her hands on her hips and her foot tapping rapidly. This was certainly unexpected of her littlest sister, and they had to get home before supper.

"What for, Laurel? Look! You can see our fields from here!"

"I know that! Come down this instant before I get Halfred to come after you!"

"You can't."

"Why not?"

"Because Halfred and Lalia are already heading for home!" Amaranth giggled and climbed further up the tree. Laurel gaped as she watched her sister scramble up. Then an idea came to her.

"Alright then, I'm leaving too. Mama will be serving supper by the time I get home..."

"Supper? Is it really supper time already?"

"Yes, it is. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to be late."

Laurel turned on her heel and began to walk away. She was not so far away that she couldn't hear Amaranth making her way out of the tree. Leaves on the branches shook, twigs broke, and she heard a soft thud on the ground that announced her little sister's emergence from the tree. Laughing, Laurel began to jog, then run, as she heard Amaranth trying to catch up to her.

It soon became a race to get home first. Amaranth had caught up to Laurel, and Laurel wasn't about to get beaten by her little sister. The path in Bindbale Wood soon became the road that would lead them back home to Oatbarton. It wasn't that far, and they even passed Halfred and Lalia as they went.

Taking a chance, Laurel left the road and cut across Farmer Mungo's field. 'I'll beat her going this way, surely!' Laurel thought as she ran through the rows of barley. But it was to her chagrin to see Amaranth ahead of her, reaching the front porch stoop just before she did.

"How…?" Laurel managed to ask while trying to catch her breath.

"I left the road a little after you did, Laurel."

"But, I took the…"

"There's more than one short-cut home, Laurel," Amaranth said as she grinned. "Besides, you should know that I'm never late for mama's cookin'!"

Laurel laughed and followed her sister into their home, with Halfred and Lalia coming in close behind her.

"Mama! We're home! What's for supper?"