Part 1, Chapters 5-6 Summary
One late spring day, Paulsen was running his team on a country road near his home when he came upon a dead ruffled grouse. The bird had left a nest with fourteen eggs in it and, out of sympathy, Paulsen carried them home and placed them in the care of a banty hen called Hawk. When the eggs hatched, Hawk adopted the chicks and raised them as her own. All went well until the baby grouse were old enough to fly. Banty hens cannot fly, and Hawk, furious at losing control of her brood, took out her anger on anyone unfortunate enough to venture into the yard.
Among the targets of Hawk's ire were Paulsen's wife, who had to cross the yard to hang laundry; the family's small terrier, Quincy; and Paulsen's six-foot-two-inch son, who entered the forbidden territory to fetch the mail. Fred, the resident Labrador retriever, and a hapless fox who had come to pilfer one of the chicks from the yard, were also victims of the feisty hen. Hawk finally mellowed when the baby grouse grew up and returned to the wild, but it was a long time before anyone—human and animal alike—could venture across the yard without looking over their shoulder when she was present.
Paulsen recalls a number of mysteries—"unexplainable, out-of-place" events—that he experienced during his sojourns in the woods. In one incident, he was feeding a cookie to a small chipmunk when a red squirrel, normally a passive, non-carnivorous creature, appeared out of nowhere and tore the chipmunk to pieces. Paulsen was at a complete loss as to how to explain the random, violent encounter.
In another incident, Paulsen was running his dogs in the dark when the team was spooked by an eerie, green-yellow glow emanating from a spot down the trail. Initially not alarmed, the outdoorsman became frightened when the dogs began to keen a death song. Drawn by a curiosity which was stronger than his sense of...
(The entire section is 748 words.)