Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

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Where was the ghost coon hiding in Where the Red Fern Grows?

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The ghost coon's almost like a mythical creature to Billy and the Pritchard boys. The little critter is notoriously difficult to catch, and it presents a real challenge for these would-be Davy Crocketts. This would explain Billy's reluctance to join the Pritchard boys on their hunt. But as he doesn't want to appear like a sissy in front of them, he agrees to tag along.

According to Rubin Pritchard, the ghost coon usually climbs up a tree in the middle of the field before disappearing. But not this time. For on this occasion, the raccoon hides in the hollow of a nearby fence post. Well outside its comfort zone, the ghost coon has proved surprisingly easy to track down. But having treed the impressive creature, Billy's not so sure that he wants to kill it. In that sense, one could say that he's gained some maturity from the experience of tracking down the ghost coon. Billy's also forced to grow up rather quickly not long after, when Rubin dies in a tragic accident. All in all, this is a day on which Billy's life has changed forever.

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The ghost coon is hiding in a hollow fence post.

The ghost coon gets its name from the fact that it seems like whenever it gets treed it disappears into nowhere.  Billy makes a bet with the Pritchards that Little Ann and Old Dan can get the ghost coon.  They do find its scent and tree it, but then they lose it.  He pays up, sad that he lost the bet.  Then Little Ann indicates that she knows where the coon is, and they find it hiding in a hollow fence post.

Old Dan, not understanding why Little Ann was bawling, stood and looked.  He walked over to the post, reared up on it, and sniffed.  Then, raising his head, he shook the dead leaves in the bur oak tree with his deep voice. (ch 13, p. 124)

Billy is very proud of his two dogs.  In this case, they were just about to give up when Little Ann figured it out.  Old Dan confirmed her find, and the boys were able to get the raccoon out of the post.

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