In The Sign of the Beaver, what deal do Matt and Saknis make?

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estoverl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Matt has been left alone at his family's cabin in the Maine wilderness while his father returns to Massachusetts for his mother, sister and new baby sibling. Saknis, a Native American Indian who has noticed and been watching over Matt, one day saves Matt from drowning in a pond when he jumped when he was overcome by bee stings and became trapped in some plants.

Saknis continues to watch over Matt, bringing him new shoes, a crutch and food. When Matt wants to thank Saknis for his kindness, he offers him the gift of a book but immediately realizes that Saknis cannot read. Saknis asks Matt if he can understand all the symbols (letters and words) in the book. When Matt replies that he can, Saknis informs Matt that he wants him to teach his grandson, Attean, to read. Saknis feels this will help the tribe to better understand their dealings with the white man. Attean in turn, will continue to bring Matt food. Although Attean is displeased by this deal, he does not disobey his grandfather.

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The Sign of the Beaver

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