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What is the moral of Where The Red Fern Grows?

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There are several morals that you could choose to accompany the timeless tale of Where the Red Fern Grows, most of them centering around the love that develops between young Billy and his two prized hunting dogs. One that works well is that love is often shown through acts of perseverance or loyalty.

Consider the very beginning, before the dogs even show up. Billy has already fallen in love with them, even though he has never laid eyes on them. He knows that his family can't afford the $50 to purchase them, so he takes matters into his own hands, selling lures to fishermen, picking berries, and skinning hides. He perseveres through what he could easily perceive as a hopeless situation because he loves his dogs already.

The dogs themselves show great perseverance—always staying on the trail of their coon. When Billy and his dogs show up for the ghost coon hunt, no one believes that they stand a chance. Both Billy and his dogs persevere through the chase. When Billy decides not to kill this elusive ghost coon that has escaped time and time again, the Pritchards instruct their own dog to kill it. Old Dan and Little Ann show great loyalty when they fight Old Blue and nearly kill him—out of love for their owner.

Of course, the ultimate example of loyalty and perseverance is when Old Dan and Little Ann fight off the mountain lion at the end of the book to protect their owner. They end up losing their own lives to save his, but their act of sacrifice—originating in their deep love for Billy—saves his life.

Where the Red Fern Grows is a beautifully woven tale that shows how love, combined with a persevering spirit, can transform lives.

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