Where the Red Fern Grows Chapter 1
Billy, now a grown man, leaves work in the Snake River Valley, in Idaho, on a beautiful spring day. He hears dogs fighting and cannot help but to get caught up in the dog fight. During the fight, Billy witnesses one specific dog that is the target of all of the fighting. The dog fends off all of the other dogs and it reminds Billy of a time when he was younger, when a certain dog had given up his life for Billy. Billy feels badly for this dog, and decides to save the dog from the other dogs. He can see the dog is hurt badly and is starved. He also notices that this is not an ordinary hound - it is a hunting hound. When Billy looks at the dog's collar, he sees that his name is "Buddie," and it looks as though a little boy scratched the name in the collar. This brings back many memories of Billy's boyhood and the love he once had for his own dog.
"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." Chapter 1, pg. 3
Billy takes the dog home, feeds him, bathes him, and gives him a place to sleep. The next night, Billy sets the dog free. He feels something for the dog, and wouldn't mind keeping the dog forever, but he knows that it is wrong to pen up a hunting hound.
After the dog leaves, Billy makes a fire and sits in his rocking chair. He thinks about the two red hounds he once had. He looks over to his mantel and sees two cups resting there. He takes them down, stares at them, and reflects on the many wonderful memories of his boyhood days.