Chapter 3 Summary

Jody wakes unwillingly, but it is good to be awake before his mother calls him. Everything is coming to life outside his window, and he is torn between the “luxury of his bed and the coming day.” Soon he is up and dressed; his bed is forgotten and he anticipates his mother’s hot cakes for breakfast.

Jody washes and teases with his mother that he is ugly. She does not disagree, saying ugly runs in his family. He wishes he were dark like the Forresters, but his mother says their hearts are as dark as they are. Jody remembers Lem Forrester bullying him and then slips away to find his father.

Old Julia is trembling over a mutilated pig carcass, and Baxter tells his son to look closely to see what happened. Jody walks a few paces away and sees the unmistakable footprints of a huge bear with one missing toe: Old Slewfoot. Father and son study the direction in which the bear had come and gone.

None of the dogs had scented the bear because the wind was in his favor. Old Slewfoot is a cunning animal and formidable adversary. He only ate a bite or so of the pig, so his stomach must have been full. This was an unnecessary killing. Jody should feel bad but he only feels excitement about hunting down this personal enemy.

They drag the pig home to be used for lard and sausage, explaining what happened to an upset Ora. She is angry at the bear for killing her brood sow, worried there will be no meat for winter. Finally they sit down to breakfast.