Chapter 8 Summary
True Son takes off the pants and jacket that once belonged to his Uncle Wilse’s son and will not wear them ever again. Butler hires a tailor to make his son an everyday outfit and a dress outfit; although he hates the clothes, True Son hates the heavy, confining shoes even more. He continues to wear his moccasins rather than the ugly, restricting shoes until one night when Aunt Kate takes them while he is sleeping. Now he has to wear his new shoes.
Del Hardy has left and True Son misses him, as he was the last connection to his Indian people. “And now all the odious and joyless life of the white race, its incomprehensible customs and heavy ways, falls on him like a plague.” True Son has to learn to read and write, and he has to go to church.
Today he and Gordie are sent to buy a new bushel basket. The old Negro basket maker lives in a cabin in the woods. For a moment, True Son feels as if he is back in his Indian village and is overwhelmed with homesickness. As he works, the old man tells True Son that he too was taken by Indians as a boy. He was rescued when he was twenty and has been working ever since for the captain who rescued him.
Gordie says the man is a slave. The man agrees but adds that white men are slaves too as they bear the burdens of accumulating and ownership. The old man tells him there is only one man left around here who can speak Delaware. Corn Blade is nearly a hundred years old and lives up on Third Mountain; he never comes to town because he is afraid the Paxton boys will kill him.
Finally one day it is warm enough for True Son to visit Corn Blade. He steals some food and takes a horse; Gordie sees him as he is leaving and asks to come along. True Son hoists him into the saddle and they leave. Alec sees them and runs to tell his father that True Son is leaving town with Gordie. But True Son does not care as he revels in the freedom of being in the forest with signs of spring all around him.
Soon True Son hears horses approaching. Butler, Wilse, and another man approach the boys, and Butler accuses True Son of running away. When True Son explains that he was just going to visit Corn Blade, his father says Corn Blade died long ago. Wilse is spoiling for a fight and pulls out the food True Son put in the saddlebags. Goaded by Wilse, Butler accuses True Son of lying, stealing, and trying to run away. True Son tries not to let his emotions show, although it breaks his heart to have to turn his back on this moment of freedom.