My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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How do Sam and the raccoon help each other in Chapter 12 of My Side of the Mountain?

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Chapter 12 is called "In Which I Find a Real Live Man." Here Sam and Frightful first meet Jessie Coon James, a young raccoon who seems to be in need. They adopt him, take him home, and feed him. Eventually he accompanies Sam to the stream at dinnertime. Jessie is good at digging up mussels. Sam soon figures out how to use Jessie's techniques to his own advantage. If Jessie had foraged alone, she would have dug up mussels, eaten them, and then stopped digging whenever she was full. Sam let Jessie dig up the mussels, but then he would take the food away so that she would keep on digging. In this way, they help each other. The raccoon's stash feeds Sam first, and then Jessie eats the rest of the mussels she finds. Sam writes a recipe about mussel preparation in his notes.

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