Little Fred Ruppe – Caretaker
Huntley had a little red wagon, and while his leg was healing, he would sit in it while someone pulled him wherever he needed to go. His cousin, Little Fred Ruppe, was a couple of years older, but close enough in age so that they enjoyed playing together. Little Fred was a good natured, kind child, and he became Huntley’s willing caregiver, cheerfully doing whatever was needed.
Huntley was being especially catered to since he had been through so much, and everyone was quick to do whatever made him happy. Even though he was normally a good companion and a joy to be around, it did not take long for him to realize, even at his young age, that he had gained a great deal of power to command.
One day soon after Little Fred became Huntley’s caregiver, Emma was working in the field next to the house and came in to get water and check on the children. She overheard Huntley fussing at Little Fred because he had eaten a muscadine, so continued to listen. It seems that Little Fred had learned where there was a vine of ripe muscadines and had gone to pick them and bring them back to share with Huntley, but had made the mistake of eating the last one. Emma admonished Huntley about not being appreciative and went back to the field. Either the lecture was not taken to heart, or Huntley’s appreciation did not outweigh his enjoyment of using his newfound power to boss Little Fred. He refused to forgive Little Fred until he agreed to go out and find more muscadines. After Little Fred found them, climbed a tree to pick them, and brought them home, Huntley refused to share them with him. He ate them all, refusing to allow Little Fred to eat even one, but did offer to let him suck the hulls.