Chapter 17 Summary
Two weeks after Buck left, Jody is hoeing; if he finishes by noon he can visit Fodder-wing, who has a gift for names, to get a name for the fawn. Jody has tried many names, but none of them seem to fit.
Baxter is still not strong, but Jody has been trying to do more to help. The fawn is growing and getting in the way at times but makes the Baxter men laugh. Before Jody leaves for the Forresters, his parents warn him to be especially alert for bears because it is mating season.
Jody is delighted that the fawn is following him so faithfully when suddenly he sees two male bears fighting on their hind legs a hundred yards away. It is a rare sight, and Jody only resumes his journey after the bears move on; he is eager to tell Fodder-wing what he saw. The Forresters place is atypically quiet, and when a disheveled Buck answers the door, he announces that Fodder-wing is dead. Jody is confused when Buck invites him in to see Fodder-wing, but then Jody sees the small figure lying in the middle of a big bed.
Now Jody understands death. Jody and the Forresters eat a dismal meal. Ma Forrester tells Jody that Fodder-wing was thrilled Jody had a fawn and said he would have named it “Flag.” Baxter arrives, guessing Fodder-wing might have died. Jody and the fawn keep vigil. The next morning, Baxter speaks at the funeral and Buck sends Fodder-wing’s lame red bird, Preacher, home with Jody.
Ora scolds the men for worrying her, but her husband reminds her not to be quite so hard on those who are grieving.