• What memories are stirred in the narrator’s mind when he sees the warm gray eyes of the friendly old hound?


The narrator had fond memories of his past, wonderful memories.   He earlier stated when he saw the dog-fight and looked at the “old hound fight against such odds”, “he remembered an old hound that gave his life so that he may live”.   Seeing the warm gray eyes brought many memories of his past and his feelings, like an old familiar face he sat in front of his fire and started thinking of them.

  • Why does the author call puppy love a terrible disease?


He always felt like a young Daniel Boone and his first and only love was that to share his time with a ‘puppy’ just not any puppy, but two hounds.  Friends for life that you can play with, gnaw at your fingers, sleep and eat with.   It is easier if you can have a dog, whenever you want, but the wanting of a particular, dog that cost money and to have out of his reach, well, this was his disease.  A friend, a hunter far away in his dreams.

  • How did Billy’s prowling at the campground help cure his dog-wanting disease?


His father bought his steel traps, which started his first exploration into hunting and catching wildlife.  This helped his dog-wanting disease as he tried to catch all of the animals in the barn, including the cat.  It kept him busy and he learned how to “trap” as a hunter and do chores in the campground.   He was finally ready to help his father with the farm and this helped him cure his wanting a hound.

But when he found the campground, he also found a sportsman’s magazine and this changed his life forever because it brought him hope of having a hound.   He read the article on “dogs for sale” so much he hears dogs and smells dogs.   He had a dream.

  • How did Billy’s grandpa react when Billy shows him the money he has earned to buy the dogs?


Billy’s grandpa was dumbfounded.  He had no idea that Billy has continued to save for two years.  Billy worked at catching minnows or crawfish, selling vegetables, and picking berries for a long time.  Little by little he had enough for his dream.  I think his grandfather was proud of Billy.

  • Why does Billy feel so out of place in Tahlequah?


Tahlequah was a big town to Billy.  It had 800 people and was a city to Billy.  It was nothing like he had ever seen or ever experienced.  He was a country boy and he walked into Tahlequah and it was like he was in a story.  It was also the first time he saw a reflection of himself. He had no experience with the city and everything that it taught him.


  • Why is it so important that Billy gets the coon for his dogs?


The answer is to give the coons a fair chance and to allow his dogs to be real “coon hunters”.   Billy trapped his first coon and it was the first sign that his father said they would be good ‘coon-hunters’, but to do it with his dogs was the best way.   They learned a lot about hunting and Billy learned a lot about his dogs.   He was in preparation for hunting season.   He was following his dream of being a hunter with coon-hunting dogs.

  • What shows you that Billy is totally responsibly for his dogs?


Billy cares for his dogs.   He takes his responsibility seriously for his dogs and will not give up on getting a coon, or sacrificing himself so that he can be there for his dogs.   It is his determination and responsibility to teach his dogs to hunt and to be there for them at all costs.


  • Describe the relationship between Little Ann and Old Dan?


Little Ann and Old Dan were very close.  Where one was strong, the other was weak;  when one needed help, the other stayed to offer.  It was on the icy bank that Old Dan showed his devotion to Little Ann as she hung on for her life.  The sounds of help, longing, and sorrow from Old Dan showed Billy their relationship.  It was this night that he saw their bond.

  • How are Rubin and Rainie different from Billy?


Rubin and Rainie were both mean-looking boys, one older and one about the same age as Billy.   They both had mean dispositions.  They were raised differently and this changed who they were and what they did.  They believed in betting and fighting and Billy did not.

  • Why must Billy’s dogs free the ghost coon?


Billy made a bet with Rainie and Rubin with his dogs to free the ghost coon.  They did not believe that Billy had good dogs or they had any ability to catch the coon.

  • What final gestures helps Billy resolve Rubin’s death?


Billy went over to Rubin when he was laying with an ax in him.  When Rubin asked him to take it out, he did/he tried.   It was the beginning of the dogs fighting that started this tragedy, but it was an accident and Billy did what he could to help Rubin.

  • Describe the Championship Coon Hunt.


Billy’s grandpa entered Old Dan and Little Ann into the “Championship Coon Hunt”.  This wasn’t any hunt, this was a championship where only registered hounds could participate.   Billy’s grandpa had written letters, upon letters recording the coons Billy’s dog has caught and their catch was among the top.   Billy’s grandpa had paid the entry fee and was waiting for Billy to agree.  It was the ultimate championship for coon-hunters.


  • Give examples that show that Billy’s hounds are truly intelligent creatures.


His hounds, were the first in 40 years of judging to catch the coon the way they did.  These little hounds raced along the river and chased this coon during the night and it was their dedication and Billy’s hunting.   The judges had never seen a hound walk on a sycamore limb like that and jump, they had tied the leading team.

  • What does Billy mean when he says, “You were worth it old friend, and a thousand times over?


It was a saying of his deepest love, man’s best friend.   In his eyes, Old Dan was his best friend, someone who saved his life and had great courage to try.   Billy did everything he knew how to do, and yet Old Dan gave him a thousand more.

  • What is the meaning of the title Where the Red Fern Grows?


It is an Indian legend that shows that God has never left our side. It was heard that “an old Indian legend tells you about the death of a little Indian boy and girl in a blizzard.  They were lost and during the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies.  The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”

With the death of Old Dan and Little Ann, Billy was very hurt and when they moved to their new home and saw a red fern in the yard, it was a sign of an angel.  Billy never lost Old Dan and Little Ann, they would be always with him.   They were always meant to be together and together they gave Billy the best love of all, hope and friendship.  He also knew that God had a place for them and they would never be alone.

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