Old Yeller


Chapter 9 to Chapter 12

Chapter 9

Travis is so scared by the hydrophobia plague that he can’t sleep. However, being a boy, he quickly forgets the next day about the danger because of all the work he has to do. That day, he has to mark the range hog piglets. The range hogs roam free all over the wild, and it’s up to the settlers to mark their hogs so that everyone knows whose is whose. Mama doesn’t want Travis to go alone because marking hogs is dangerous work, especially since they’re so wild and violent. Travis takes Old Yeller with him for protection.

Marking the new pigs can be difficult because the mature hogs don’t like anyone touching their piglets—or cornering them, for that matter. It can be a tricky process even for a grown man. However, Travis and Papa figured out an easy way to do it.

His method is to climb a tree and have Old Yeller shepherd the hogs in that direction. Then Travis lets down a rope, scoops up a pig, marks his ears, and lets him down. The squeals of the piglet and the smell of his blood make the other hogs wild with rage, but Travis gets all of the piglets marked in an hour without any trouble.

Old Yeller is helpful in herding the hogs to the tree, but it is quite a while before the dog understands that Travis wants the hogs out of the way. Travis has to spend another hour in the tree waiting for the hogs to go off into the bushes before he can safely climb down.

Chapter 10

Travis keeps a piece of each pig’s ear and counts 46 new pigs whose ears he marks by the time he can’t find any more. He figures that he is done with marking until Bud Searcy pays another visit to tell Travis that he missed some hogs on the other side of Salt Branch.

This is relatively unexplored territory for Travis, and he is excited to see it. He has heard of a bat cave around the area, and hopes to see the bats after marking the pigs.

He finds the hogs near a sand water hole where animals come to...

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Essays About Old Yeller