Where the Red Fern Grows Chapters 10 - 12 Summary

Billy's mother makes him a coon skin cap from the hide of the first raccoon he killed. He is "coon crazy", which means he is hunting every night the weather will allow. His grandfather had told him the price for the hides would go up in value and he is right, they are worth between four to ten dollars each. The money goes to Billy's father, which is all right with Billy.

The dogs constantly want to be at Billy's side, which is only a problem when he wants to go to his grandfather's store to sell his hides. There Billy joins in with the men who hunt and he takes a ribbing, because his dogs are smaller than the average coon hound. Little Ann is especially small, but she is also smarter than the average hound, which makes up for her lack in size. Old Dan is not as tall as the other dogs, but he is heavy making him a strong hunter.

Old Dan will not hunt without Little Ann and he will only then hunt with Billy. Billy's father tries to hunt the dogs, but Old Dan will not hunt for him. The dogs work well together, Little Ann can find even the wiliest raccoon, while Old Dan is not afraid to follow the coons, no matter where they go. One instance of this is the night Billy finds Old Dan up on a tree branch, with the coon about nine feet above him. He has found a hole at the base of the tree, climbs inside the hole, and makes his way up the tree until he finds the hole which lets out at the branch he sits on. It takes Billy a while, but he manages to get the dog down.

Little Ann has her share of adventure too. She, after a blizzard, is hunting with Old Dan and has the misfortune of falling into a break in the ice on the river. She is hanging on for dear life by her front paws, when Old Dan lets Billy know she is in trouble.

The river is almost frozen over, except for the small area of running water she fell into. Billy must find a way to save his dog, but he is too heavy to walk on the ice. He finds some wild cane and hangs his lantern from it, so he can see his dogs.

Billy thinks the situation is hopeless. The little dog is fighting to keep hold of the ice, but she is slowly freezing to death. He knows if she loses her grip on the ice then it will be the end of her. He prays to God for help. After saying his prayer, he hears a metallic sound, which he thinks is coming from a boat. It turns out the sound is from his lantern, which gives him the idea of turning the lantern handle into a hook. He attaches the handle to the cane pole and using the pole to support the lantern he finds a way to rescue his dog. He wades out into the frigid water to save Little Ann. After several tries he manages to hook the dog's collar and pull her towards him. He and the dog are both paralyzed with cold, but he manages to find his way back to the river bank. There he makes a fire and thaws them both out.

He doesn't tell his parents of this mishap, because he is afraid his mother will make him stop hunting.

Grandpa becomes increasingly proud of his grandson each time Billy brings him more pelts to sell. The older storekeeper can't help bragging, to anyone who will listen, about the hunting skills of his grandson and his hound dogs. Grandpa tends to exaggerate about his grandson's accomplishments, so if Billy brings home one raccoon in a night, he says Billy got three. Billy always backs up all his grandpa's claims, because he loves his grandfather.

He didn't think the bragging would bring in trouble, but it did in the form of the Pritchard boys. They come from the family no one wanted anything to do with, because they are meanest family in the country.

Rubin Pritchard is about two years older than Billy and his brother Rainie is the same age as Billy. Rainie is the meanest boy Billy has ever encountered. They proposed a bet between them and Billy.

It seems there is a raccoon no one has ever been able to catch near their home, it is called the "ghost coon". They bet Billy's dogs can't tree the ghost coon. They are willing to bet two dollars on it, which Grandpa matches. He warns the boys if they are luring Billy out to the woods so they can beat him up, he will make sure they end up in jail. They assure him the bet is real and they will deal fairly with Billy.

The next evening Billy meets the boys at the designated spot with his dogs. Soon Old Dan picks up the coon's scent and Little Ann joins him in the hunt. The raccoon leads the dogs on a chase, such as they have never been on before. At one point the raccoon runs between the three boys to shake the dogs off his trail.

He finally runs for the tree he always returns to, because it is in this tree he loses every hound that tries to track him. The boys tell Billy he should give them his money now, but Billy tells them his dogs aren't done tracking yet. Billy must wait to see what his dogs will do next to tree the raccoon.

Billy goes raccoon hunting crazy and becomes a successful hunter. The dogs are the talk of the country due to their success and Grandpa's bragging. Billy must show the Pritchard boys his dogs are as good as Grandpa says they are, which can cause trouble, because the Pritchard boys are mean.



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