Old Yeller


Chapter 13 to Chapter 16

Chapter 13

Lisbeth does indeed turn out to be a big help. She helps fetch water and gather the corn, and has a good time laughing with Mama and Arliss. It hurts Travis’ pride to see him so easily replaced by a girl. He consoles himself by remembering that he can hunt, mark hogs and swing an axe, and she can’t.

While Lisbeth is a lifesaver for Mama, trouble is not far behind. The hydrophobia finds its way to the farm, first infecting Spot, who wanders home one day disoriented and stumbling, not even recognizing her own calf who wants to feed.

Mama thinks that Spot ate too much pea vine and has gone crazy, but Travis tells her that all of the pea vine is dead this time of year. They both suspect that Spot is infected, even though they’ve never heard of cows getting hydrophobia. Spot continues walking in wide circles.

Then a bull shows up. It is the roan from earlier in the story. It, too, is infected. He walks with his head hung low and wobbly, and is apparently in a worse condition than Spot.

The infected bull rouses Old Yeller, who gets up and immediately starts barking at the roan. Travis realizes that the dog can sense the disease that is in the bull and is baring his fangs at the bull to keep it away from the house. Now Travis knows that both the bull and Spot have hydrophobia. He calls Mama to bring his gun. The bull is heading toward Arliss. Mama runs to get Arliss. Travis gets his gun and shoots the bull between the eyes.

This chapter presents the final conflict of the story: the arrival of hydrophobia, which sickens any animal it touches. Old Yeller recognizes the disease and confirms Travis’ suspicions. Travis acts with logic and steadiness. He does not wait to see what the bull will do: It is plain enough that the bull must be killed before it infects others.

Chapter 14

They cannot leave the dead bull lying so close to the cabin because the stench will be overpowering and Mama fears that...

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Essays About Old Yeller