“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches.
I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: "You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”
“I buried Little Ann by the side of Old Dan. I knew that was where she wanted to be. I also buried a part of my life along with my dog.”
“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In 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.”
“It's strange indeed how memories can lie dormant in a man's mind for so many years. Yet those memories can be awakened and brought forth fresh and new, just by something you've seen, or something you've heard, or the sight of an old familiar face.”
“Men," said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love."
After these words were spoken, a thoughtful silence settled over the men. The mood was broken by the deep growling voice I had heard back in the washout.
"It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have - a wonderful world.”
“I'm sure the red fern has grown and has completely covered the two little mounds. I know it is still there, hiding its secret beneath those long, red leaves, but it wouldn't be hidden from me for part of my life is buried there, too.
Yes, I know it is still there, for in my heart I believe the legend of the sacred red fern.”
“There is a little good in all evil.”
“Old Dan must have known he was dying. Just before he drew his last breath, he opened his eyes and looked at me. Then with one last sigh, and a feeble thump of his tail, his friendly gray eyes closed forever.”
“What I saw was more than I could stand. The noise I heard had been made by Little Ann. All her life she had slept by Old Dan's side. And although he was dead, she had left the doghouse, had come back to the porch, and snuggled up by his side.”
“I found her lying on her stomach, her hind legs stretched out straight, and her front feet folded back under her chest. She had laid her head on his grave. I saw the trail where she had dragged herself through the leaves. The way she lay there, I thought she was alive. I called her name. She made no movement. With the last ounce of strength in her body, she had dragged herself to the grave of Old Dan.”
“With a heavy heart, I turned and walked away. I knew that as long as I lived I'd never forget the two little graves and the sacred red fern.”
“Men," said Mr. Kyle, "people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love--the deepest kind of love.”
“Some time in the night I got up, tiptoed to my window, and looked out at my doghouse. It looked so lonely and empty sitting there in the moonlight. I could see that the door was slightly ajar. I thought of the many times I had lain in my bed and listened to the squeaking of the door as my dogs went in and out. I didn't know I was crying until I felt the tears roll down my cheeks.”
“I suppose there's a time in practically every young boy's life when he's affected by that wonderful disease of puppy love. I don't mean the kind a boy has for the pretty little girl that lives down the road. I mean the real kind, the kind that has four small feet and a wiggly tail, and sharp little teeth that can gnaw on a boy's finger; the kind a boy can romp and play with, even eat and sleep with.”
“I'd like to take a walk far back in the flinty hills and search for a souvenir, an old double-bitted ax stuck deep in the side of a white oak tree. I know the handle has long since rotted away with time. Perhaps the rusty frame of a coal-oil lantern still hangs there on the blade.”
“It’s a shame that people all over the world can’t have that kind of love in their hearts,” he said. “There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have—a wonderful world.”
“I wanted so much to step over and pick them up. Several times I tried to move my feet, but they seemed to be nailed to the floor. I knew the pups were mine, all mine, yet I couldn't move. My heart started aching like a drunk grasshopper. I tried to swallow and couldn't. My Adam's apple wouldn't work. One pup started my way. I held my breath. On he came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine. The other pup followed. A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot. I heard the stationmaster say, 'They already know you.' I knelt down and gathered them in my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried.”
“In his fighting heart, there was no fear.”
“HAD no idea what was in store for me. To begin with, everything was too perfect”
“No, Billy, not every time. He only answers the ones that are said from the heart. You have to be sincere and believe in Him.”
“My heart started acting like a drunk grasshopper.”
“Everything was going along just fine until Mama caught me cutting out of the circles of tin with her scissors. I always swore she could find the biggest switches of any woman in the Ozarks.”
“I don’t see how anything like that can keep a coon in a tree,” I said. “It’ll keep him there all right,” Grandpa”
“Looking to the mountains around us, I saw that the mysterious artist who comes at night had paid us a visit. I wondered how he could paint so many different colors in one night; red, wine, yellow, and rust.”
“On hearing this remark, my heart jumped clear up in my throat.. I thought surely it was going to hop right out on the depot platform. I looked up and tried to tell him who I was, but something went wrong. When the words finally came out they sounded like the squeaky old pulley on our well when Mama drew up a bucket of water.”
“It's hard for a man to stand and watch an old hound fight against such odds, especially if that man has memories in his heart like I had in mine. I had seen the time when an old hound like that had given his life so that I might life.”
“On my way home I didn't walk on the ground. I was way up in the clouds just skipping along.”
“People have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love-the deepest kind of love.”
“I couldn't understand these town people. If they weren't staring at a fellow, they were laughing at him.”
“WILSON RAWLS was born on a small farm in the Oklahoma Ozarks. He spent his youth in the heart of the Cherokee nation, prowling the hills and river bottoms with his only companion, an old bluetick hound. Rawls’s first writing was done with his fingers in the dust of the country roads and in the sands along the river, and his earliest stories were told to his dog. Not until Rawls’s family moved to Muskogee and he could attend high school did he encounter books. Where the Red Fern Grows has become a modern classic and has been made into a widely acclaimed motion picture.”
“Nobles and peasants marry early. Businessmen tend to wait.”
“All Being within this order, by the laws
of its own nature is impelled to find
its proper station round its Primal Cause.
Thus every nature moves across the tide
of the great sea of being to its own port,
each with its given instinct as its guide.”
“People who were perfectly sane on Tuesday sometimes go nuts on Wednesday.”
“In our absence, the violet early evening light pours in the bay window, filling the still room like water poured into a glass. The glass is delicate. The thin, tight surface of the liquid light trembles. But it does not break. Time does not pass. Not yet.”
“Hey, how 'bout those Cubs'"-the bad male impersonation was back-" 'let's play some golf, smoke some cigars. Here's my penis, there's yours-yep, they appear to be about the same size-okay, lets's do some deals.”
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