This story takes place during the Season 2 episode "The Spring Dance". Willie Oleson prepares to go to the dance where he is planning to win Laura Ingalls back from Henry.
Little Willie Oleson was no more than six years old, but that didn't stop him from thinking of himself as a man. It had started a couple of days before, when Laura Ingalls had asked him to pretend to be her beau. In return, he would get both her cloudy and her aggie. Willie put his hand down his pocket, pulled out the two marbles and looked at them. He had thought that he would feel overjoyed be finally having Laura's best marbles in his collection, but he didn't. He felt awfully sad, if he was to be honest. When Laura had first asked him to pretend to be her beau, he had been filled with disgust and only agreed to do it because of the aggie and the cloudy, but as the days had gone by – he had come to enjoy her company and now he was quite sure that he loved her. He wanted Laura to be his girl! It didn't matter that his sister always told him that Laura was a rude, ugly and a poor country girl. Laura Ingalls was the woman he was supposed to marry.
Willie admired himself where he stood in front of his mother's mirror. He had dressed himself in his best Sunday suit, combed his hair with water and had put on a nice new tie which he had borrowed from the mercantile.
Yee, I look rather nice, he thought for himself and smiled. I'm sure Laura Ingalls will ask me to dance!
He turned around, walked out of the room and ran down the stairs. His mother stood in the parlor, adjusting the black hair-net which she sometimes wore on festive occasions.
"Ma, how do I look?" he asked with anticipation in his voice.
Harriet turned around, looked at her son and smiled.
"You look very nice, honey", she replied. "But your tie is a little crooked. Come here, let me help you,"
Willie walked up to his mother. Harriet bent down and fixed her son's tie. She gently caressed his soft curls and softly patted his cheek.
"Oh, don't you look cute!"
Willie mouth fell open and he stared at his mother with big eyes. CUTE?! He looked cute? Only girls and babies looked cute, men like him looked handsome and nothing else.
"Do I really look cute Ma?" he whined.
"Well, of course darling!"
He hung his head and looked down at his feet.
"What's the matter darling?" Harriet asked with concern in her voice.
"Don't you think that I look a little handsome Ma?"
"Yes, like other men."
Harriet had to bite her lip so not to laugh. She found her little boy so cute, especially when he was trying to act like a little man.
"Well of course you do, darling", she answered. "You look very handsome! Like a true gentleman!"
Willie smiled proudly. He would show that Henry that Laura Ingalls was his and no one else's.
Willie was stunned to see that Laura Ingalls was already dancing with Henry when he arrived. He sat down together with his sister, his eyes fixed on Laura. She was a very good dancer, but thx at was no surprise - after all, Laura was one of the fastest runners in school.
"Come on Willie, let's dance", Nellie said and pulled his hand.
"Never!" Willie replied.
"If you don't dance with me, I'll tell mother."
"I don't care, so there!"
Nellie stuck her tongue out and went to find their mother and father who were dancing with each other in another part of the room. Willie smiled, glad to be rid of his sister, and turned his eyes to Laura. She looked very beautiful in her blue dress! When the music stopped he gathered courage and walked up to Henry and Laura.
"Hi Laura", he said with his most seductive voice. It was the voice that his mother used when she wanted his father to do the dishes for example.
"Hi Willie", Laura replied with a heavy sigh.
"May I have the next dance?" he asked.
"She is already spoken for", Henry said and leaned forward. Willie was almost two heads shorter than Henry, and he felt a little scared by the older boy's way of acting.
"But Laura was with me first!" Willie complained.
"Shut up Willie!" Laura said and took Henry's hand. "I was only with you to make Henry jealous. It was a trade, nothing else! I would rather dance with a snake, than I'd dance with you."
Willie could feel his eyes burning with tears. He quickly turned around and walked away so that Laura would not see him cry. Men did not cry, at least not in public. He hid behind one of the benches, pulled his knees up to his chin. He struggled all that he could but he couldn't help it – he had to cry. He sat there, all alone, and cried whilst the music played in the background. It wasn't until an hour later that he felt strong enough to leave his hiding place. He went straight to his mother who sat in the corner of the room with her arms crossed over her chest, staring angrily at his father.
"Ma?" he said and looked at her with his big eyes. They were all red from crying.
"What is it honey?" Harriet asked worriedly. "Is something wrong? Do you feel sick?"
Willie nodded. Just about an hour ago he had felt like a grown man, now he felt like baby – longing to crawl up unto his mother's knee and be comforted.
"Where does it hurt Willie?" his father asked and sat down on his knees.
Willie pointed at his heart.
"Here… It hurts here", he said.
"Oh my god!" Harriet exclaimed. "Nels, get Doctor Baker!"
"It is not that kind of pain. I have… a… a broken heart."
Harriet raised an eyebrow.
"A broken heart?"
"Because Laura won't dance with me."
"Willie, why on earth would you like to dance with that… with that… with that country girl?"
"Oh Harriet", Nels said. "Laura Ingalls is a very nice girl."
Harriet rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"Now honey, listen to me", she said and allowed her son to climb unto her knee. She put his arms around him and kissed his chin. "I'll tell you what I will do honey. I will run over to the mercantile, and I will bring you a bag of licorice sticks. How does that sound?"
Willie looked up and met his mother's eyes. Licorice sticks… A bag full of licorice sticks! He suddenly felt much better.
"That sounds good Ma!" he answered.
Ten minutes later he happily sat on the bench together with his sister, enjoying one of the delicious licorice sticks.
"Oh boy, these licorice sticks are good", he said as loud as he could, so that Laura and Henry could hear him. Just as he anticipated, they both walked up to him.
"Gee Willie!" Henry said. "I've never seen so many licorice sticks before."
"Me neither", Laura said.
"Do…Do you think I could have one?" Henry stammered.
"No", Willie replied shortly.
"Don't be so selfish Willie!" Laura said and crossed her arms.
"Ha! I would rather share these with a snake, than with you two!"
Willie put the bag down his trousers and took his sister's hand.
"Come on Nellie, let's dance!"
Willie pulled his sister out on the floor. He was so much shorter than her that he had to stand on his toes. He put his arm on her shoulder and let her take lead. She was a much better dancer than him. He had never cared much for dancing, if the truth be told. He tried to look as confident and skilled as possible – as he swept over the dance floor. He turned his head and looked at Laura. She was staring at him, her eyes burning with what Willie thought was nothing else but admiration.
See Laura Ingalls what you have missed!, he thought for himself. If you had chosen me, you would have had your mouth filled with licorice sticks right now.
Willie smiled. When Laura realized what she had lost, it wouldn't be long until she was back with him. Soon, very soon, they would be husband and wife.