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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 576

The corpse of Miranda and Paul’s grandfather has been exhumed three times since his death in about 1870. Twice it was removed by their possessive grandmother and reburied, first in Louisiana and then on her farm in Texas. After the grandmother’s death, the land where the burial ground lies is sold, and the grandfather—along with the other occupants of the family cemetery—is removed by his descendants to a public cemetery to lie beside his widow for eternity.

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One day following the last exhumation, Miranda, nine years of age, and Paul, who is twelve years old, are hunting for rabbits and birds. Crossing the fence into the old burial ground, they notice the open graves. Miranda leaps into the pit that had held her grandfather’s bones and finds a small silver dove. Excited by her discovery, she climbs out to show the dove to Paul, who, in another grave, has found a gold ring. Miranda instinctively wants the ring, Paul the dove, so the two exchange their treasures. Realizing that they are trespassing on land that is no longer theirs, they return to the other side of the fence and pick up their guns. As they walk, Paul declares that the first dove or rabbit they see is his, and Miranda asks if she can have the first snake. The gold ring, now glistening on Miranda’s “grubby thumb,” shifts her attention from hunting to her boyish clothes; suddenly she resents her overalls and sockless feet and longs to put on a thin, becoming dress.

Just as Miranda decides that she should tell her brother about her change of mind and return home, Paul shoots, without Miranda’s competing, and kills a rabbit. After stripping the skin—to be used as a coat for Miranda’s dolls—and noticing the animal’s bloated belly, he tells Miranda the rabbit was going to have babies. Cutting through the flesh and then into the scarlet bag, Paul exposes a bundle of tiny rabbits, each wrapped in a thin scarlet veil. He removes the veils and reveals their almost featureless blind faces, and Miranda asks to see them. Touching one and noticing the blood running over them, she...

(The entire section contains 576 words.)

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