Chapter 6 Summary

The baby raccoon drinks as Jody holds it. When the contented creature’s belly is full, he scrambles to be free and Jody puts him on his shoulder. Pa Forrester is sitting quietly in the shadows and now says that he used to have a pet raccoon; it was “gentle as a kitten” for two years and then one day it bit a chunk out of his leg.

The remaining Forresters and Baxter enter the cabin as the patriarch continues talking about raccoons. Baxter is still holding Perk in his arms and now crosses the room to talk to Forrester. Ma Forrester asks Baxter to sit, which he does, and one of the boys asks if Baxter’s dog is lame. Baxter replies that he just wants to protect the dog from their bloodhounds. Far from being valuable, Baxter explains the dog is the “sorriest bear-dog” he has ever known.

Baxter tricks the Forresters into believing that Perk is a valuable hunting dog, though he is actually telling them the truth when he complains that his dog and his gun are both no good. Both failed him yesterday when he was hunting Old Slewfoot. Before he lets Baxter tell about the bear, Forrester passes the jug of moonshine around the room. (Jody is too young to partake.) Ma Forrester serves a gigantic meal but says she would have done better if she had known they would have company. Jody and Baxter are unaccustomed to such plenty.

Ma Forrester asks her husband to pray, which he uncomfortably does, and then they eat. Forrester quietly tells Baxter that his boys are sinful and ornery in every way, but not one of them has ever sworn at their parents while at the dinner table.