In the first chapter of Steinbeck's short novel, George Milton and Lennie Small, the latter of whom is mentally challenged, are making their south through California. They have come from Weed, in the northern part of the state, and are heading toward the town of Soledad, where they will work on a barley farm. As they approach Soledad, the stop near a pool of water to get a drink of water and rest.
Steinbeck reveals that the two men have had some trouble in Weed because of something that Lennie had done there. George notes that Lennie is always getting into trouble and so George coaches him that if he gets into trouble again, he should come back to that same area by the pool and "Hide in the brush till I come for you."
As readers learn, Lennie has a difficult time remembering things, but he does remember these words and he does return to this same spot at the end of the novel. It seems ironic to think that this giant of a man will become like the rabbits he longs to care for as he hides in the brush waiting for George to come for him.