The Sign of the Beaver Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth George Speare

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Why does Attean's grandmother treat Matt's hand?

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While it is true that Attean's grandmother despises the "white man," she decides to treat Matt's hand after he hurts it trying to free a dog from a trap. There are several factors that worked together and allowed her to come to the decision to help Matt despite her negative feelings about his people. 

The dog that Matt attempted to help out of the trap belonged to Attean. This impressed his grandmother because Matt had no obligation to help the dog when he came upon it while walking in the woods. In addition, Matt and Attean's sister, who translated for Matt when he insisted upon seeing Attean's grandmother, pleaded with her at length about the situation. They needed Matt to be able to return to the trap with help to free the dog. Lastly, it was mentioned that if the wound were not fixed, it may get worse due to poison that may be in the wound. 

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