Travis has a very serious hog cut on his leg, and the fact that he has to hurry home to get help for Old Yeller does not help matters. His muscle has been damaged, and his whole leg is "jerking and twitching" by the time he gets home. Seeing this,...
Travis has a very serious hog cut on his leg, and the fact that he has to hurry home to get help for Old Yeller does not help matters. His muscle has been damaged, and his whole leg is "jerking and twitching" by the time he gets home. Seeing this, Mama treats the injury by first washing it out with hot water. She then pours turpentine into the wound, causing Travis a tremendous amount of pain, but the treatment does make the muscle to quit jerking. Finally, Mama wraps the leg in clean white rags, and orders Travis to stay off of it for at least a week.
Travis has no intention of staying off the leg until he has gone back to get Old Yeller, however, and Mama, seeing that he is determined, relents and goes with him to help. When they come to the area where Travis has left the dog, however, they see buzzards gathering, and Travis figures Old Yeller is dead. The buzzards converge upon the prickly-pear flats, and suddenly rise from the ground in "a flurry of flapping wings". Travis thinks hopefully that maybe the thing that disturbed the birds is Old Yeller, and sure enough, "a second later," he hears the hound's "yelling bark" (Chapter 11).
Having both Travis and Old Yeller puts a great burden of work on Mama; Travis says that she "nearly (runs) herself to death." Not only does she have to care for the two of them, but she has to take on all the work on the farm as well. Mama must milk the cows, wash the clothes, cut the wood, and keep Jumper, the family's recalcitrant mule, out of the corn. In addition, she must mind Little Arliss, who as yet is too little to help (Chapter 12).