Where the Red Fern Grows Chapter 18
The storm is worsening and all Billy wants to do is find his dogs. He hears whooping and realizes it is the other hunters. All of the other hunters came looking for them in the storm. Mr. Kyle takes control of the situation. He tells some of the hunters to make a stretcher for Grandpa and to carry him back to the campground. Meanwhile Mr. Benson appears out of the storm and tells them that he found the dogs; they are covered in ice, but they are alive. Billy starts to cry. Mr. Benson leads the way and they find the dogs. They look like "white wolves," as Billy says. They have a coon treed and it is a good thing, because Billy needs one more coon to win the hunt. Apparently, one of the other teams caught three coons just before quitting because of the storm. The dogs are covered in ice from head to toe and are walking around in a circle, not only to keep the coon from coming out of the tree, but also to keep from freezing to death. They are smart dogs and everyone is impressed. Perhaps they are the most impressed that Old Dan and Little Ann stayed by the tree in a freezing storm. Mr. Benson asks why they would do that and Mr. Kyle answers him:
"'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.'" Chapter 18, pg. 214
One of the hunters shoots the gun and the coon jumps out of the tree. The dogs kill it and the men head back to camp. All of the other hunters are gone and the only tent up is Grandpa's. He is inside resting his ankle and he wants to see Billy's dogs right away. Everyone is in good spirits and finally, the prize is given to Billy. Along with the gold cup, the men collected a three hundred dollar jackpot. Billy is speechless; this is more money than he has ever seen. He hands it over to Papa.
Grandpa goes into town with Dr. Latham. Dr. Latham does not want to wait to treat his ankle. Meanwhile, Papa and Billy drive the buggy home. They promise to take care of Grandpa's store for the night. After stopping at the store, Billy and Papa head straight home. Billy is excited to show off his gold cup.
Billy and Papa arrive home and are greeted by Billy's sisters and Mama. Billy gives the silver cup to his older sisters and the gold cup to his younger sister, just as promised. Mama is glad to have Billy and Papa finally home. When Mama sees the money, the color drains from her face. She is so thankful and says that God answered her prayers.
That night in the house there is a huge celebration. A delicious dinner of ham, fried potatoes, hot corn bread, fresh butter, wild bee honey, and huckleberry cobbler is served. Papa and Billy share their hunting adventures. Later, when Billy is about to go to sleep, he sees a light in his window. He sees Mama bringing the dogs a huge plateful of food. She pets them and says a prayer. Papa joins her. They are thankful for what the dogs have brought them. Billy hears his parents talking about how Grandpa is going to need help around the store because of his bad ankle. Billy thinks Mama and Papa want him to help Grandpa and that is fine with Billy. He turns over and goes to sleep.