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Within the first 50 pages of Jean George's My Side of the Mountain, while Sam is busily building a bed for himself, an old woman sees him and orders him to help her pick strawberries to make jam. Sam does so, and while walking her home, she points to a peregrine falcon flying by the cliffs. Sam knows falcons can be trained to hunt and goes off to the library for books on training falcons. Next, Sam settles in the forest behind a willow tree where he can watch the cliffs for falcons. When he finally sees one "swing into the cliff and disappear," then leave a few minutes later, he knows he has found the spot where the falcons' nest is (p. 43). He next has to climb the sheer cliff to reach the nest in order to snatch a nestling. When he finds the nestlings, he is attacked by the mother falcon. However, he is able to bring himself to stand, grab the biggest nestling because he knew it was a female, tuck it into its sweater, fend off the attacking mother with his shoe, and just as she is gearing up for another attack, begin sliding down the cliff. Once the mother returned to her other nestlings, she forgot about Sam, allowing him to escape safely.
As he makes his way across the river bed, he begins to call his nestling Frightful, due to the "difficulties [they] had had in getting together" (p. 44). Exhausted, once he reaches the stream, he puts her in a "nest of buttercups" and "drop[s] beside her," then falls asleep. He awakes to see his nestling and says, "Oh, Frightful ... you are a raving beauty" (p. 45).
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