Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

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What killed the neighbor bully Rubin in Where the Red Fern Grows? 

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The Pritchards were one of those families that no one in the neighborhood really understood or liked. They had two sons, Rubin and Rainie. Rubin was two years older than Billy while Rainie was about Billy’s age. The boys were troublesome and Rainie liked to bet. One day they met Billy at his grandfather’s store and had a slight altercation. Billy’s grandfather had corn to grind on that particular day and was forced to close early. The Pritchard boys followed them to where they were grinding and made a two dollar bet with Billy that his hounds could not successfully hunt an evasive old raccoon that escaped several hunters before. Billy accepted the challenge and his grandfather put up the money for the bet, but warned the Pritchard boys against harming Billy while on the hunt.

Rubin told Rainie to shut up and let him do the talking. Looking over at me, he said, "What do you say? Want to bet two dollars your hounds can tree him?"

During the hunt, the old coon was cornered by Billy’s hounds. However, the Pritchard boys changed the bet and wanted the hounds to kill the coon. Billy objected. While the boys were arguing, the hound belonging to the Pritchards made its way to the hunt and got into a fight with one of Billy’s hounds. Billy’s hounds ganged up on the hound belonging to the Pritchards and tore at him. Rubin took Billy’s axe and set off to attack Billy’s hounds; unfortunately, while he was running towards the fighting hounds, he tripped over and fell on the sharp axe, which killed him moments later.

When Rubin had tripped, he had fallen on the ax. As it entered his stomach, the sharp blade had sunk to the eye of the double-bitted ax.

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