A Home for El Gaucho, Part 4
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 5
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||agradable, crispin, pampas, workin, settling, feisty, mobile, bloody, bolt, opening, camped, yonder, settled, reservation, lurched, mornin
||Somewhere Gaucho, Nine Bar Six Ranch, David Cuts-the-Rope, Native American, But Luis, West Coast, Could Gaucho, When Luis, El Gaucho
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A Home for El Gaucho, Part 4
By Toni Lee Robinson
1 Luis looked frantically around. Where was Gaucho? There! A yellow tail was just disappearing inside the barn. It seemed to Luis that the cat moved oddly. Luis's stomach lurched. Gaucho was hurt. "Gaucho!" Luis cried. He ran and peered into the dark opening. Someone stepped past him into the barn. It was the woman who'd stood outside. She reached up and pulled a string. A bare bulb cast a dim light in the large space.
2 "There are lots of places for him to hide in here," she said. "If he's hurt, that's what he'll do. He'll just hole up in the deepest, darkest place he can find." She helped Luis look in the corners and between stacks of straw bales that lined the walls.
3 Luis was desperate with worry. He called the cat's name again and again, trying to lure him out. Finally, the woman stopped and looked at Luis. "We've looked everywhere I can think of," she said. Luis sank down on a bale. A heavy lump of fear settled inside him. Somewhere Gaucho lay injured, maybe dying.
4 The woman spoke again. "I'm sorry about the dogs," she said. "They don't usually do that kind of thing. They're stock dogs, trained to work sheep and cattle. They're pretty much all business." She filled an old pan with water from a tub in the corner. "We'll put this out where he can get to it when he decides to come out. I'll leave some food, too."
5 "Tell me about your cat," the woman said as they walked to the house. "What does his name mean?" Luis began to talk about the feisty yellow kitten he'd named after the cowboys of the pampas. He told the woman how fond Gaucho was of picking fights. He even told her how the cat had been a friend when it seemed Luis had no one else. He stopped then, wanting more than anything to hear Gaucho's loud purr rumbling in his ear.
6 "He sounds like quite a guy," the woman said thoughtfully. "I'd go check for him in the morning if I were you. Go in and see if he's come to the food."
7 Luis's family spent the next day settling into their new home on the ranch. Luis and his little brother shared a bedroom in the large mobile home. Another room had been set up as a nursery with a crib and other baby things. Mamá and Papá's room had its own bathroom. "Two bathrooms!" Mamá exclaimed. "¡Es muy agradable! [It's very nice!]"
8 Toward evening, the rancher drove up in a pickup truck. "Here," he said. "This is your rig while you're workin' for the Nine Bar Six Ranch." He looked doubtfully at the family's old, rusty car. "You can park that one in the shed over yonder if you want. If you ask me, what she really needs is a decent burial." He winked and handed the pickup keys to Papá. "Fill ‘er up at the tank there." He pointed past the barn to a gas storage tank held up by a wooden frame. "You'll need to take them kids to school in the mornin'."
9 That night, Luis lay silently, staring at the ceiling. He'd gone to the barn morning and night, but he'd not seen Gaucho. He wished with all his heart that they had never left their last camp. He would gladly face the kids who'd taunted him, he thought, if only he could have Gaucho back again.
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