Where the Red Fern Grows Chapters 5 - 7 Summary

Billy has made his way to the train depot, but is frightened to enter the depot, as he is unsure of the reception he will receive from the stationmaster. The stationmaster walks outside and engages Billy in conversation. He tells Billy he knows his father and he has two pups for Billy Colman. This gives Billy the push he needs to talk to the stationmaster.

The stationmaster takes Billy around to the freight door and gives him his puppies. Billy has never been happier in all of his life. He leaves the depot sure that everyone in town will look at him in a new way, because he is carrying two hound pups in his gunny sack. Instead he is laughed at and some boys his age start to call him "dog boy". After one of the boys pulls the ear of one of the pups, Billy takes a stand and fights the boys. He is hopelessly out numbered, but the town marshal steps in to stop the fight.

Billy explains to the marshal he has worked for two years to make the money to purchase the dogs. The marshal is impressed with Billy's determination and hard work.

Billy starts for home and makes camp in a cave for the night. There he is given the opportunity to observe his puppies for the first time. He discovers the male dog is powerful and brave, while the female dog is smart. He feels this combination will serve him well as he and the dogs hunt.

That evening a mountain lion scents the dogs and stalks them, just outside the cave. Billy keeps it at bay by building up his fire and hurling rocks at it. As morning approaches, the mountain lion leaves to find other prey.

The next morning Billy continues his walk home. He soon reaches the campsite where he found the magazine with the ad for the puppies. He sits there a long time, putting off having to face his parents. He needs to find a name for his new dogs. He sees a couple of names carved into a sycamore tree, the names are Dan and Ann. He takes this as a sign from God, so he calls them Old Dan and Little Ann. He also realizes God helped him realize his dream of owning a pair of coon hounds. He now knows finding the magazine, earning the money for the puppies, and lastly finding the perfect names for his pups can only come from divine intervention.

He at last walks home, thinking his parents are going to be very angry with him, but instead his mama is overjoyed to have her boy home and his father is not upset with him. His grandpa told his father where Billy probably was, which eased everyone's mind. The cloth, overalls, and candy he brought back from town also help to smooth things over with his family.

His father asks Billy how he liked being in town and Billy tells him he didn't like it at all. He tells the family about the trouble he encountered there and the help of the marshal. Papa discloses to Billy and his sisters, he and Mama plan to move the family to town as soon as they can afford it, so the children can go to school.

Billy, the next day, explains to Mama he thinks God helped him achieve his goal of owning the puppies.

Now that Billy has his pups, he needs to train them to hunt raccoons or coons as he calls them. To train them he needs a coonskin and the one he wants belongs to Mister Ringtail. He tries for three weeks to trap the coon, but to no avail, so he turns to his grandpa for advice.

His grandpa tells him the sure-fire way to catch a coon is to use a brace and a bit. A brace is a tool used to drill holes in wood and the bit is attached to the end of the brace to make the hole. Grandpa tells Billy to use the tool to drill a six-inch hole into a log, then put a piece of shiny tin at the bottom of the hole. He instructs Billy on the correct way to insert horseshoe nails into the sides of the hole. The raccoon will put his paw in the hole to reach the tin and wrap his paw around it. Then the paw will be too big to remove from the hole, because the nails will trap it. The coon once it seizes something in its paw will not let go, so he will not be able to escape the trap.

Billy follows his grandpa's instructions, but after a week he still hasn't caught a raccoon. His father tells him to give it a little more time and sure enough he does catch a large raccoon. He uses the hide to train his dogs to follow the coon's scent trail. After weeks of training Billy feels his dogs are ready to hunt, as soon as raccoon season starts.

Billy explains to his dogs he is going to give them a few days rest before hunting season starts. He feels his dogs understand him when he talks to them and in their own way they answer him. He knows what they are thinking by the way they wag their tails, lick his skin, or what he sees in their eyes.

Billy returns home after a long trek with his dogs. His parents are not angry with him, instead they are happy to have him home safe and sound. His grandpa teaches him how to catch a raccoon to train his dogs. Billy learns patience and hard work pays off in both learning how to catch a raccoon and in training his dogs.

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