Finally Mr. Butler goes unhappily back to his office where Parson Elder's son soon interrupts him. The young man has come to warn the Butlers that two Indians have been spotted around Paxton township. He explains that the Indians asked for True Son and were sent by some malicious men to Uncle Wilse's house. Supposedly the uncle was very considerate to the Indians and gave them two or three mugs of rum. However, the Indians told humiliating stories about white people that angered some of Uncle Wilse's friends. After sunset the Indians left, but soon after gunshots were heard and later one of them was found killed and scalped. It was suspected that the Indian had been ambushed from the side and back. At the news, Harry reacts with a range of emotion. He asks whether they know who shot the boy or whether the other Indian has been found yet, but neither question is answered.

After the messenger leaves, Harry Butler thinks for a while about what he should do. He decides that he cannot tell Johnny or his wife this information just yet, since it could worsen both of their sicknesses. Once this decision had been made the man can finally return to the only thing that helps relieve his anxiety: office work. With great satisfaction and solace, Mr. Butler goes over his finances, thinking what a shame it is that True Son cannot appreciate the pleasure of carrying out "honest work." We learn from his journal entry that the date is May 31, 1765.


Up until this point in the novel we have learned little about Myra and Harry Butler. True Son portrays them to be pathetic and overemotional in comparison to his Indian parents, but in these last two chapters we begin to understand the intense suffering and hardship the Butlers have strongly endured for the past eleven years. In shifting the focus from True Son's thoughts to those of his mother, Richter is able to give us a better idea as to what actually happened the day True Son was kidnapped. We learn that the Indians violently ambushed the peaceful white harvesters and took the boy; it was not as if True Son was given up or neglected by his white family. There are also many ways in which Myra's love for her son is displayed; the woman was so heartsick at the loss of True Son that she became seriously ill, and now, even though he rejects her harshly, Myra refuses to believe that her son has committed any serious wrongdoings. She desperately clings to the belief that her son will one day embrace her with love and respect.

In Chapter 10 we also see True Son's story through the eyes of his white father. Despite Mr. Butler's inability to relate his feelings to the boy, he sincerely loves him and clearly feels guilty for the boy's illness and unhealthy upbringing since he was the one who took True Son to the fields. Like Myra, Harry tries to keep faith in the belief that True Son will turn around one day; his wishful thinking is a kind of denial of True Son's passionate Indian loyalty. Mr. Butler also has an added burden on his shoulders since he is the head of the Butler family, and he must negotiate between his son and the angry white settlers whom he realizes have killed True Son's friend. In showing us the perspectives of True Son's white family, we realize that they are much more complicated figures than True Son would have us believe. Although the Butlers may be ignorant of Indian culture, they are not evil people. They simply love their boy and desperately want him to love them back.

Parson Elder's statement to True Son, "It is not only the white man … ", is important because it is the only point in the novel in which a character speaks out against the violence perpetrated by both Indians and whites. This message, however, expresses a crucial truth about the frontier and the novel itself. Although the whites were greedy settlers who encroached upon Indian land and murdered many Indians, they too did not deserve to have their innocent children massacred or kidnapped. The perpetual violence caused by both sides has simply led to more despair, and Parson Elder, although he clearly has a bias toward white culture, is one of the only characters to understand this fact. Of course, the Parson is not innocent of this violence; he, too, played a role in the Paxton Boys' massacre, an experience he deeply regrets. But one of the key points to The Light in the Forest is that, realistically, nobody is completely perfect. Most of the Indian and white individuals in the novel have both positive and negative aspects to their characters.