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The Light in the Forest

Conrad Richter

Chapters 13–14

Chapters 11–12

Chapters 13–14, page 2

page 1 of 3

Chapter 13

Once Half Arrow and True Son pass Fort Pitt, they are in Indian country and no longer have to hide from the whites. For mile after mile they gaze at the beautiful and untouched Indian forest. At night they finally drift up onto a bank and in the morning the boys make a brush net out of small maple branches and happily catch fish in the creek.

The cousins do not leave for several days because they enjoy their freedom in the woods so much. For so long they have yearned for the chance to be independent, to fish and hunt all day free from responsibility. Together they do not have to worry about the past problems of their lives; they live only for the present and the future and are able to survive peacefully with nature. The boys are able to tell the weather from the moon, and at night they sleep snugly under their upturned boat, listening to the rain. When they grow sick of fishing they hunt or sit over a fire and cut each other's hair.

Although they are in no hurry to leave, the boys know that they cannot stay forever. Summer is approaching, and they know that their families must be worried about them. The first thing the cousins do when the reach the mouth of the Muskingham River is bathe in the water of their homeland. As they pass through into Tuscarawas True Son trembles at the sight of all the familiar signs of home. He hears dogs barking and sees many recognizable faces as they ride by, such as Nungaza, the girl who always used to stare at him, and Tsuchechin, a fat Indian woman who once protected True Son from being punished by Cuyloga.

By the time the cousins reach their dugout, a small crowd of people has come to greet them. The two feel like dignified men as they walk proudly up the bank to the village. True Son is first greeted by his younger sister, A'astonah, who cannot believe that he is finally home. He also sees his older sister, Mechelit, but all he can do in response to seeing his sisters is stare at them with love. By the door to his cabin, True Son sees his overjoyed Indian mother waiting for him. Instead of coming up to greet him, however, she stands aside to let True Son see his father, Cuyloga. Although Cuyloga's face is as rigid and unemotional as ever, True Son thinks he can see a sign of welcome in his father's eyes. Cuyloga and True Son embrace as the villagers watch, and Cuyloga asks his son whether he is at home to stay.

Chapter 14

At night true Son sleeps with his family in his usual place, surrounded by affection and the familiar sings of his old Indian life. For several days after the boys' return, the village celebrates with games, special feasts, and laughter. True Son feels happiness in being at home, but there is still some darkness cast on the festivities. Little Crane's family does not take part in the rejoicing nor do they greet True Son when they see him pass by. The boys are especially nervous when Little Crane's brother, Thitpan, comes to Tuscarawas with some of his cronies. The men are carrying rifles, mallets, and tomahawks. They go to the council house where they beat a drum, calling for war.

True Son knows from the look on his father's face that this is a very serious matter. Thitpan calls for vengeance against his brother's death. True Son's mother and sisters are clearly worried, but Cuyloga and Half Arrow's father feel that they must take part in the battle since their sons had been Little Crane's companions. True Son's mother protests Half Arrow and True Son's joining the fight since they are only boys, but Cuyloga tells her to stay in her place. He says that if True Son does not fight it will look as if he does not have loyalty to the Indians. In the end he gives True Son the choice of coming and with a burst of excitement True Son accepts the offer.

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