In chapters 13 to 15, the relationship between Matt and Attean begins to change. Up until this point, Attean has mostly been a reluctant recipient of Matt’s reading lessons at the request of Attean’s father. Matt has been irritated by Attean’s constant negativity toward the white people and culture. In these chapters, Matt admits that he wants to earn Attean’s respect but is still troubled by the vast differences between them such as a disagreement about helping a fox caught in a trap.
Matt finishes reading “Robinson Crusoe” to Attean and begins reading Bible stories to him. Attean describes how he has been retelling his tribe the stories Matt shares. Attean shares Indian folk stories that to Matt sound similar to some of the Bible stories.
The two boys go on an adventure during which Matt is walking, carrying a rabbit. They encounter an angry bear. To try and save them, Matt slings the carcass of the rabbit they caught at the bear to draw his attention to food. Attean then charges the bear and kills it with a knife. Afterwards, he compliments Matt’s quick thinking when throwing the rabbit at the bear. Matt realizes that he has gained some respect from Attean.