My Side of the Mountain Chapter 11 & 12 Summary

Instructor: Brittany Cross

Brittany teaches middle school Language Arts and has a master's degree for designing secondary reading curriculum.

Every day Sam is learning new tricks for surviving on his own in the forest. In these chapters, he continues to train his falcon, Frightful, and makes her an amazing hunter. He also spends some time in the presence of another human being for the first time in a long time.

A Look Back

When we ended Chapter 10, Sam had just had a stroke of luck by coming across a deer shot by a hunter. By moving and covering the deer, he ensures the poacher cannot find his prey and keeps the deer for himself.

Chapter 11: In Which Frightful Learns Her ABCs

Determined to make use of every part of the deer, Sam sets to getting the deer hide tanned. His first product is a beautiful deerskin door to cover the cave opening in his tree. After smoking the deer meat, he continues to use the rest of the deer for other tools, including a bone for a spearhead to catch frogs.

Realizing he has grown several inches and will need new clothes, he plans to trap another deer. Using some of his homemade salt as lure to the animals, he sets a trap, but is thwarted by The Baron, the weasel who lives near his home. Eventually the deer trap works, giving Sam a second deer, and he begins making himself a deerskin suit.

Sam knows how useful deer can be for his survival.

Frog Soup

If you were living alone in the forest, what would you suppose a recipe for frog soup might include? Many of us may never have the opportunity to answer this type of question, but Sam sure did! His recipe for the best frog soup includes wild onions, carrots, and acorn flour all served up in a turtle shell bowl. As he continues to learn the land better and better, Sam's collection of makeshift pantry ingredients expands immensely to include: hickory nuts, walnuts, acorns, daisies, mushrooms, stores of smoked venison, and, of course, everything that the well-trained Frightful is now able to catch for him.

A Skilled Marksman

In his spare time, Sam works hard to train his falcon, Frightful. He first trains her to come to his arm upon his whistle. They start just a few feet away from one another and move to greater and greater distances, even 50 feet! The next step is training her to the lure by putting a chunk of meat on a piece of wood, covering it with feathers and deer hide, then throwing it high up in the air for her to swoop in and catch. During their training sessions, Frightful never misses a lure that Sam throws. Her first real catch comes when a sparrow flies near the lure and she grabs it in midair. Sam is so excited to have such a talented falcon!

Sam takes great pride in training his falcon, Frightful.

Chapter 12: In Which I Find a Real Live Man

A New Friend

While he may be technically alone in the wilderness, Sam does have the company of The Baron, his wily weasel companion, and Frightful, his falcon. While bathing in the spring one morning, he gets a new pal: Jessie Coon James, a raccoon nicknamed 'the bandit of the Gribley farm.' Since Jessie is a little too skinny, Sam knows he needs to help him out and he soon becomes part of their merry little group, proving his usefulness by helping to collect mussels from the stream. Spending time with these various animals, Sam is beginning to try and figure them out. He is starting to realize that even though they can't speak, they have their own forms of communication with him.

Hanging With An Outlaw

While out with Frightful one afternoon, Sam hears sirens in the forest. When he returns to his home he finds a man lying on the ground asleep. Assuming from the sirens and his unshaven appearance and torn clothes that he is an outlaw, Sam exercises caution before waking him. After waking him with a simple 'hi' Sam goes on to tell him, 'I don't know anything about you, and I don't want to. You don't know anything about me, and don't want to, but you may stay here if you like. No one is going to find you here. Would you like some supper?'

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