Where the Red Fern Grows

by

Wilson Rawls

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Where the Red Fern Grows can help.
The larger of Billy’s hounds. Old Dan is bolder and more aggressive than his sister and littermate, Little Ann. Dan eventually grows to be larger and more physically powerful, but he often finds himself following the more calculating Ann’s lead on their hunts. Though Old Dan is not a human character in the novel, he and Little Ann are so intimately emotionally connected to Billy that the relationships the three of them form with one another become the central point around which the entire novel revolves. Old Dan is loyal, brave, and intrepid—he is scrappy and up for any brawl, and over the course of his first hunting season, he accrues an impressive number of toughened scars from his battles against raccoons, bobcats, and other small game. Dan is unafraid to put himself in dangerous physical situations—he raids muskrat dens, climbs up the insides of hollow trees, and launches himself into fights with raccoons, other dogs, and even a mountain lion. Though Dan dies at the end of the novel after sustaining mortal wounds in a fight to the death against a mountain lion, Billy recognizes the intensity and profundity of the love and loyalty Dan showed him throughout his short life. Billy admires Dan’s loyalty and his unquestioning selflessness—Dan gives his life to save Billy’s, an act which devastates Billy but simultaneously assures him of the depths of his dog’s love. By witnessing the close relationship between Dan and Ann and seeing the ways in which the dogs care for one another, Billy learns important lessons about love, loyalty, and the beauty of animal and natural life.

Old Dan Quotes in Where the Red Fern Grows

The Where the Red Fern Grows quotes below are all either spoken by Old Dan or refer to Old Dan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Yearling edition of Where the Red Fern Grows published in 1996.
Chapter 1 Quotes

By this time, my fighting blood was boiling. It's hard for a man to stand and watch an old hound fight against such odds, especially if that man has memories in his heart like I had in mine. I had seen the time when an old hound like that had given his life so that I might live.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

One pup started my way. I held my breath. On he came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine. The other pup followed. A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot.

I heard the Stationmaster say, "They already know you."

I knelt down and gathered them in my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried. The Stationmaster, sensing something more than just two dogs and a boy, waited in silence.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), The Stationmaster (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

What I saw in my pups gave me courage. My knees quit shaking and my heart stopped pounding.

I figured the lion had scented my pups. The more I thought about anything harming them, the madder I got. I was ready to die for my dogs.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

It was wonderful indeed how I could have heart-to-heart talks with my dogs and they always seemed to understand. […] Although they couldn't talk in my terms, they had a language of their own that was easy to understand. Sometimes I would see the answer in their eyes, and again it would be in the friendly wagging of their tails. […] In some way, they would always answer.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 77-78
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

I was expecting one of them to bawl, but when it came it startled me. The deep tones of Old Dan's voice jarred the silence around me. […] A strange feeling came over me. […] This was what I had prayed for, worked and sweated for, my own little hounds bawling on the trail of a river coon. I don't know why I cried, but I did.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 83-84
Explanation and Analysis:

With tears in my eyes, I looked again at the big sycamore. A wave of anger came over me. Gritting my teeth, I said, "l don't care how big you are, I'm not going to let my dogs down. I told them if they put a coon in a tree I would do the rest and I'm going to. I'm going to cut you down. I don't care if it takes me a whole year."

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

“If a man's word isn't any good, he's no good himself.”

Related Characters: Billy’s Father / Papa (speaker), Billy Colman, Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

There, scratched deep in the soft leaves were two little beds. One was smaller than the other. Looking at Little Ann, I read the answer in her warm gray eyes.

Old Dan hadn't been alone when he had gone back to the tree. She too had gone along. There was no doubt that in the early morning she had come home to get me.

There was a lump in my throat as I said, “I'm sorry little girl, I should've known."

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Kneeling down between my dogs, I cried and prayed. “Please God, give me the strength to finish the job. […] Please help me finish the job." I was trying to rewrap my hands so I could go back to work when I heard a low droning sound. […] I looked up. High in the top of the big sycamore a breeze had started the limbs to swaying. A shudder ran through the huge trunk. […]

It started popping and snapping. I knew it was going to fall. […]

I held my breath. The top of the big sycamore rocked and swayed.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

I opened my mouth to call Old Dan. I wanted to tell him to come on and we'd go home as there was nothing we could do. The words just wouldn't come out. I couldn't utter a sound. I lay my face against the icy cold bark of the sycamore. I thought of the prayer I had said when I had asked God to help me get two hound pups. I knelt down and sobbed out a prayer. I asked for a miracle which would save the life of my little dog. I promised all the things that a young boy could if only He would help me.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

About halfway up, far out on a limb, I found the ghost coon. As I started toward him, my dogs stopped bawling. I heard something I had heard many times. The sound was like the cry of a small baby. It was the cry of a ringtail coon when he knows it is the end of the trail. I never liked to hear this cry, but it was all in the game, the hunter and the hunted.

As I sat there on the limb, looking at the old fellow, he cried again. Something came over me. I didn't want to kill him.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann, Rubin Pritchard, Rainie Pritchard
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

“Don't let him up, Rubin," Rainie said. "Beat the hell out of him, or hold him and let me do it."

Just then I heard growling, and a commotion off to one side. […] I heard Rainie yell, "Rubin, they're killing Old Blue."

Rubin jumped up off me.

I clambered up and looked over to the fight. What I saw thrilled me. Faithful Little Ann […] had gone to the assistance of Old Dan.

I knew my dogs were very close to each other. Everything they did was done as a combination, but I never expected this.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Rainie Pritchard (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann, Rubin Pritchard
Page Number: 164-165
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

Both of them started eating at the same time.

With an astonished look on his face, Grandpa exclaimed, “Well, I'll be darned. I never saw anything like that. Why, I never saw a hound that wouldn't eat. Did you train them to do that?"

"No, Grandpa,” I said. "They've always been that way. They won't take anything away from each other, and everything they do, they do it as one."

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Billy’s Grandfather / Grandpa (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

The judge said, "Well, have you ever seen that? Look over there!"

Old Dan was standing perfectly still, with eyes closed and head hanging down. Little Ann was licking at his cut and bleeding ears.

"She always does that," I said. "If you'll watch, when she gets done with him, he'll do the same for her."

We stood and watched until they had finished doctoring each other. Then, trotting side by side, they disappeared in the darkness.

Related Characters: The Judge (speaker), Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 222-223
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“Please go just a little further," I begged. "I just know we'll hear them."

Still no one spoke or made a move to go on.

Stepping over to my father, I buried my face in his old mackinaw coat. Sobbing, I pleaded with him not to turn back. He patted my head. “Billy," he said, “a man could freeze to death in this storm, and besides, your dogs will give up and come in."

"That's what has me worried," I cried. 'They won't come in. They won't, Papa. Little Ann might, but not Old Dan. He'd die before he'd leave a coon in a tree."

Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

I heard the judge say to my father, “This beats anything I have ever seen. Why, those dogs can read that boy's mind.” […]

Papa said, "Yes, I know what you mean. I've seen them do things that I couldn't understand. I'd never heard of hounds that ever had any affection for anyone, but these dogs are different. Did you know they won't hunt with anyone but him, not even me?"

Related Characters: The Judge (speaker), Billy’s Father / Papa (speaker), Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

"What I can't understand is why they stayed with the tree," Mr. Benson said. […]

“Men,” said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. […] You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love… […] It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts… […] There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have.”

Related Characters: Mr. Benson and Mr. Kyle (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 242-243
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

I went berserk, and charged into the fight.

There in the flinty hills of the Ozarks, I fought for the lives of my dogs. I fought with the only weapon I had, the sharp cutting blade of a double-bitted ax.

Screaming like a madman, with tears running down my face, I hacked and chopped at the big snarling mountain cat.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

"l never saw anything like it. Little Ann wouldn't have fought the lion if it hadn't been for Old Dan. All she was doing was helping him. He wouldn't quit. He just stayed right in there till the end. I even had to pry his jaws loose from the lion's throat after the lion was dead."

Glancing at Old Dan, Papa said, “It's in his blood, Billy. He's a hunting hound, and the best one I ever saw. He only has two loves—you and hunting. That's all he knows."

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Billy’s Father / Papa (speaker), Billy’s Mother / Mama, Old Dan, Little Ann
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

'Don't touch it, Mama," my oldest sister whispered. "It was planted by an angel."

Mama smiled and asked, "Have you heard the legend?"

'Yes, Mama," my sister said. “Grandma told me the story and I believe it, too."

With a serious look on his face, Papa said, "These hills are full of legends. Up until now I've never paid much attention to them, but now I don't know. Perhaps there is something to the legend of the red fern. Maybe this is God's way of helping Billy understand why his dogs died."

“I’m sure it is, Papa," I said, "and I do understand. I feel different now, and I don't hurt any more."

Related Characters: Billy’s Sisters (speaker), Billy’s Mother / Mama (speaker), Billy’s Father / Papa (speaker), Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann, Grandma
Related Symbols: The Red Fern
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:

I have never been back to the Ozarks. All I have left are my dreams and memories, but if God is willing, some day I'd like to go back-back to those beautiful hills. I'd like to walk again on trails I walked in my boyhood days.

[…] I'm sure the red fern has grown and has completely covered the two little mounds. I know it is still there, hiding its secret beneath those long, red leaves, but it wouldn't be hidden from me for part of my life is buried there, too.

Related Characters: Billy Colman (speaker), Old Dan, Little Ann
Related Symbols: The Red Fern
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Where the Red Fern Grows LitChart as a printable PDF.
Where the Red Fern Grows PDF

Old Dan Character Timeline in Where the Red Fern Grows

The timeline below shows where the character Old Dan appears in Where the Red Fern Grows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
As Billy looks around, he sees two names, Dan and Ann, carved into a nearby sycamore tree, a heart drawn around them. Billy settles... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...last, he soon realizes that another obstacle stands before him: in order to train Old Dan and Little Ann to hunt raccoons, he’ll first need a raccoon skin to help them... (full context)
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...hissing mad as Billy comes upon it struggling in the trap. Little Ann and Old Dan begin barking and whimpering at the raccoon. Billy releases their collars and he lets them... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...blood on Billy’s shirt. After investigating, Billy realizes that the blood is coming from Old Dan’s nose—the raccoon scratched it hard. (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...the trails he lays for them, he watches them go from “awkward” to beautiful. Old Dan’s eagerness is tempered by Little Ann’s wily smarts—together, the dogs learn how to follow the... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
At the end of the summer, Billy is exhausted from having worked with Old Dan and Little Ann each and every day. He calls the dogs over at the end... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...just beginning to stir. Billy heads out to the porch with his lantern, where Old Dan and Little Ann are already waiting excitedly. Mama and Papa marvel at how intuitive the... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...beautiful Ozark darkness with his dogs beside them. He talks to Little Ann and Old Dan, reminding them that tonight is the “real thing.” As excited as Billy is, he still... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
The raccoon plays many tricks on Dan and Ann as it leads them through the woods, crossing the river and darting this... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...lead his dogs home, however, Little Ann begins bawling and running down the bank. Old Dan follows her. Billy realizes that his dogs have scented the raccoon again, and he stands... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...climb and too big to fell with his ax. He tells Little Ann and Old Dan that it’s time to give up and go find another raccoon—Dan and Ann, however, continue... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
...then he sits down with his meal. He finds a package of scraps for Old Dan and Little Ann tucked in with his own food. After the three of them eat,... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...heard a hound howling all night; Billy looks out the window and realizes that Old Dan isn’t in the doghouse. Billy declares that Old Dan must have returned to the sycamore... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...leaves. He realizes that Little Ann must have come out here to sleep beside Old Dan, then returned to fetch Billy at first light. Further moved by his dogs’ determination, Billy... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...tree hits the ground, a large brown raccoon scrambles out of it. Billy sics Old Dan on the racoon, and Dan and Ann hurry after it. (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
Billy watches as Old Dan and Little Ann trap and kill the racoon in a “savage and brutal” manner,  tearing... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Night after night, Billy takes Old Dan and Little Ann out to hunt. He loves climbing through the wild forest and mountainous... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
Little Ann and Old Dan go everywhere with Billy except to Grandpa’s general store, where the old dogs gathered outside... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
...loves his dogs deeply. He has noticed how much they love each other as well—Old Dan won’t hunt without Little Ann, and Little Ann is always protective of Old Dan on... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...a particularly long and difficult hunt against a whip-smart raccoon, Billy loses sight of Old Dan and Little Ann after they follow a raccoon into the river. Billy soon hears Little... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Another night, Little Ann and Old Dan tree a raccoon in a petrified tree. When Billy catches up with them, he sees... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...spite of the icy weather that has been plaguing the mountains for days. As Old Dan and Little Ann begin chasing a raccoon toward the river, Billy excitedly anticipates how they’ll... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...of the river is still running. Billy walks down the riverbank until he hears Old Dan—but rather than bawling to announce he’s caught the scent of a raccoon, Dan is letting... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...away, Grandpa grows excited about the bet. He tells Billy how much he hopes that Dan and Ann will be able to catch the famous “ghost coon.” Even Billy is, in... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...they have their blue tick hound with them. The Pritchard boys catch sight of Old Dan and Little Ann for the first time. They remark that the dogs “look too little... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Old Dan and Little Ann soon pick up on the scent of the fabled “ghost” raccoon and... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...signature “disappearing” trick by hiding in a nearby tree—sure enough, seconds later, Billy hears Old Dan let out the bark that signals he’s treed a raccoon. Billy rushes to catch up... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...the dogs sniff a while longer. After several minutes, however, even Little Ann and Old Dan give up and return to Billy. Billy takes out the $2 and hands it over,... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
As soon as the raccoon hits the ground, Little Ann and Old Dan are on him. The raccoon puts up a good fight, eventually scrabbling up into the... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...is about to unleash a blow, Billy hears growling nearby. He turns to see Old Dan and the blue tick hound fighting. Rubin starts beating Billy anyway. Rainie, however, calls out... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...leaps off of Billy and seizes Billy’s ax. He roars that he will kill Old Dan and Little Ann before letting them kill his dog. As Rubin runs toward the dogfight,... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...his sisters off the wall in his room and heads to the Pritchards’ place. Old Dan and Little Ann follow him dutifully through the hills. As Billy approaches the property, he... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...about Rubin’s death. He heads nervously to the general store with Little Ann and Old Dan following behind. Sure enough, when Billy gets to Grandpa’s store, Grandpa asks to hear the... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...that he’s wanted to go to one all his life—he wants Billy to enter Old Dan and Little Ann in the hunt. Billy feels scared and excited all at once. Grandpa... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Grandpa calls Little Ann and Old Dan into the shop and feeds them each a big hunk of cheese. He calls them... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...agrees to go along on the hunt. One of Billy’s little sisters declares that Old Dan and Little Ann will bring home the cup for sure. Billy begins to cry tears... (full context)
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...at last time to leave for the hunt, Billy and Papa walk together with Old Dan and Little Ann to Grandpa’s general store, musing all the way about what skilled hunters—and... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...delicious corned-beef hash rather than their usual feed. Grandpa is astonished to see that Old Dan refuses to eat before Little Ann has had her share—he declares that he’s never seen... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...soon as he returns to his own tent, however, and catches sight of Ann and Dan again, he feels doubt release its hold on his heart. He believes they are sure... (full context)
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...in one night. Billy laughs, knowing that his Grandpa has been telling tall tales about Dan and Ann.  (full context)
Chapter 16
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...downriver, away from the picked-over territory near camp. As soon as the buggy pulls over, Dan and Ann leap from the back, howl, and start running through the woods in search... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
After a long chase, Billy at last hears Ann and Dan howl that the raccoon has been treed. Papa pulls out a gun—one that Billy has... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Billy, Papa, Grandpa, and the judge take off after the dogs. Soon, they come upon Dan and Ann in a field—they have lost the raccoon’s trail. Billy knows that if they... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...Billy believes there will be the best hunting. As Billy prepares to set Ann and Dan loose, he kneels down close to them and tells them that tonight is the last... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...the raccoon, the judge points out a remarkable sight: Ann is licking at the cuts Dan sustained during a scrap with the raccoon in the river. Billy tells the judge that... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...a while it begins sleeting. Billy grows nervous, too—but his faith is restored when Old Dan and Little Ann pick up a scent. Papa, Grandpa, Billy, and the judge attempt to... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...on through the sleet, slipping and falling as they follow the intermittent sounds of Old Dan’s bawls. Eventually, Papa suggests they stop. Billy asks Papa to shoot his gun in hopes... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
Old Dan has a raccoon treed in a deep gully. Dan is covered in ice and sleet,... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Papa, Billy, and the judge help carry Grandpa back to the gully where Old Dan has treed the raccoon. There, they build a large fire and tend to Grandpa’s swollen... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
...makes the mistake of pointing at where the third raccoon ran while illustrating the story. Dan and Ann immediately turn and run up the bank in the direction Billy has indicated.... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...toward the hounds. As the group approaches the tree, Billy can see that Ann and Dan have been walking in circles around the tree all night. He begins crying and runs... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...dogs are thawed out, Papa shoots his gun to scare the raccoon from the tree. Dan and Ann dispatch the raccoon. Together, the group sets out for camp once again. Billy... (full context)
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...to see that Mama has brought two large plates of food out to Ann and Dan’s doghouse. Billy watches as Mama sets the food down before the dogs, then she kneels... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
After winning the cups, Billy continues taking Little Ann and Old Dan out hunting every night. About three weeks after returning home from the hunt, Billy takes... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...have not treed a bobcat, but a mountain lion—“the devil cat of the Ozarks.” Old Dan lets out a loud howl. The mountain lion responds with a deep growl before launching... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
...as Billy continues chopping at the cat while the mountain lion rips and tears at Dan and Ann. Finally, Billy manages to strike a fatal blow and fell the mountain lion.... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
With tears in his eyes, Billy begins trying to stanch Dan’s wounds using mud. Billy pulls his ax from the mountain lion’s corpse and he starts... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
Back at the house, Billy wakes his parents. Mama immediately gets to work on Old Dan’s terrible wounds, washing his entrails and sewing him back up. Little Ann is easier to... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...hears a mournful cry. He goes out to the porch to see Ann curled around Dan’s lifeless body, whimpering and crying. Billy runs away from the house into the woods and... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
...Ann has left her spot on the porch. Billy knows that she has gone to Dan’s grave to die. He goes to the grave and, sure enough, he finds Ann’s lifeless... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...so that Billy and his sisters can get an education. Papa says that because of Dan and Ann’s success at the competition, their prayers have been answered—they now have enough money... (full context)
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...to the hillside and he digs a second grave. Billy buries Ann right next to Dan—and he feels he has buried “a part of [his] life” alongside both of them. Upon... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Lessons of a Dog’s Love Theme Icon
The Circle of Life and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Faith and Prayer Theme Icon
The Natural World Theme Icon
Masculinity and Emotion Theme Icon
...return to the hills of his boyhood days. He imagines returning to the hillside where Dan and Ann are buried and looking again upon the glorious red fern, whose legend he... (full context)