Chapter 12 Summary
Jody is sleeping at Grandma Hutto’s when he hears the steamship whistle and realizes someone is coming to the landing. It is Oliver and everyone is thrilled, since he only comes home twice a year. His ship has been in the tropics; he has stories and gifts to share but wants to eat first.
Jody’s gift is a marvelous hunting knife. When he blurts out that Lem Forrester thinks Twink Weatherby is his girl, Oliver laughs and reminds Jody that the Forresters are liars. Jody is relieved and his conscience is clear, but he remembers Lem’s face and is worried. Oliver has more stories to tell, but he goes to visit his girl and the Baxters have to finish their trading and go home.
Suddenly Easy Ozell appears and tells them to grab weapons because Oliver is being killed by the Forresters in front of the store. Jody does not want to fight for Oliver; Jody is upset that Oliver left him to visit a girl and is afraid he will never get to see Fodder-wing again if he makes an enemy of the Forresters.
What Ozell said is correct: three gigantic Forrester boys are nearly killing Oliver. He looks like a wounded animal after a dog attack, and Jody relents, knowing this is not fair and his beloved Oliver is likely to be killed. Jody jumps onto Lem’s back. Baxter says that if it takes three men to kill one man, the one is a better man than the three. For a moment the fighting stops, but Lem and Oliver are soon battling again.
Lem knocks Oliver out, Baxter hits Lem, Lem hits Baxter, and Jody rushes in to bite Lem—who knocks Jody unconscious.