Chapter 3 Summary

It is exciting for Bob to watch Shane and his father attack the stump together, but Bob finally leaves and runs into his mother coming around the corner of the barn. She looks as pretty as he has ever seen her, wearing her best dress and a hat adorned as Shane had described. The men are so absorbed in their task they do not even notice her arrival.

Finally she asks the men if they like her hat. Shane says she has it right, though the city women’s brims are wider. Starrett tells her she is the best-looking thing God ever created, hat or no hat—and will she please stop bothering them. Marian is outraged and says this is an odd way to spend a day of rest, but Starrett assures her this is the “best resting he’s had for about as long as he can remember.” She harrumphs at them and announces that dinner is waiting.

The meal is accompanied by Marian’s polite chatter, but it is clear that the men are eager to get back to their task. After they leave, Marian asks Bob what happened to set the men against the stump. He tries to explain about Ledyard and the cultivator, but he must have used the wrong words because she is suddenly “flushed and excited” and asks how Shane frightened him. The boy tries to explain he was mostly just afraid of “whatever it was that might happen.” Marian understands that and has felt the same way; she hopes her husband knows what he is doing.

No matter where Bob wanders, he can hear the chopping and grows tired just thinking about the exertions of his father and Shane. Later in the afternoon he discovers his mother standing on a box and peeking at them through a little stall window. Although there is something childish about the men’s actions, there is also “something splendid in the battle they are giving that old monster.”

Marian returns her hat to normal and takes the men a pan of biscuits. They stop to eat and splitting the last one with an ax to give each an equal...

(The entire section is 796 words.)