What two gifts does his father give Matt before he leaves?

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Before he leaves, Matt's father gives Matt his heirloom silver watch and his own rifle.

In Chapter One, Matt's father tells Matt that he will be gone for six weeks or more. He tells Matt to count time by making seven notches on a stick. He also advises Matt not...

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Before he leaves, Matt's father gives Matt his heirloom silver watch and his own rifle.

In Chapter One, Matt's father tells Matt that he will be gone for six weeks or more. He tells Matt to count time by making seven notches on a stick. He also advises Matt not to look for him and the rest of the family until he comes to the seventh stick.

Matt's father tells him to wind up the silver watch every time he cuts a notch on a stick. The watch had once belonged to Matt's grandfather, so it is a very special gift. Matt is so touched by his father's gesture that he becomes emotional.

Next, Matt's father gives him his own rifle. His father tells him that he will take Matt's old blunderbuss with him on his journey instead. According to Matt's father, his rifle "aims truer." This is why he wants Matt to have it. For his part, Matt is touched that his father trusts him with his rifle.

As the other educator pointed out, the rifle is stolen not long after Matt's father leaves on his journey. Matt makes the mistake of leaving the rifle unguarded, and it is stolen by a stranger he entertained. The loss of the rifle momentarily shatters Matt's confidence. He is forced to confront a frightening reality: without the rifle, he has no way of defending himself. Additionally, he can't hunt game for food. For the first time in his young life, Matt must face a precarious situation by himself. The necessity of diligence and watchfulness begins to dawn on him.

The loss of the rifle motivates Matt to act. He works in the garden as best he can and eats berries and the fish he catches. Eventually, Matt is drawn to a beehive. All he can think about is the taste of sweet honey in his mouth, but he gets stung in the process of retrieving the honeycomb. The beehive incident, precipitated by Matt's desperation, foreshadows his first meeting with Saknis and Attean. So, the loss of the rifle is actually an important plot device.

As for the watch, Matt bequeaths it to Attean towards the end of the story (chapter 22). This is a significant action on Matt's part. In the beginning of the story, Matt received the watch as a parting gift from his father. It is fitting that Matt now gives it to Attean as a parting gift. In every respect, the watch is an important symbol. Specifically, it symbolizes the eternal bond between kindred souls, which time cannot destroy.

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Before Matt's father left for Massachusetts to pick up Matt's younger sister and pregnant mother, he gave him two special items that would later play a part in the story.

Because Matt would be alone once his father left, he needed a way to protect himself and acquire food. Matt's father left Matt his own rifle, a much better one than Matt had. The rifle was a valuable possession, but his father wanted to be as sure as he could be that Matt was safe and able to procure food.

He also left Matt a silver watch that was a family heirloom. Though Matt did not necessarily need it to tell time, his father hoped that in some way the watch would help keep Matt company.

Both items eventually played a large part in the story's plot. The rifle was stolen early in the story when a stranger insisted on spending the night in Matt's cabin. The silver watch served as a final parting gift for Attean near the end of the story when Attean and his tribe moved away from the area where Matt lived.

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