Where the Red Fern Grows Chapter 2
Billy starts the tale of his boyhood days. He explains that when he was ten years old, he wanted two coon hounds. His Papa and Mama say that he can't have them because they are too expensive. They offer to get Billy a collie from Old Man Hatfield but Billy is not happy with this suggestion; he will only be happy if he gets coon hounds. Billy is very upset with his parents' refusal to buy him the dogs. He lives in the Ozarks, one of the best hunting places in the world and he doesn't even have a dog to hunt with.
Billy occupies his time during the day roaming through the valley, observing the tracks of many different types of animals. He is especially interested in the tracks of the river coon. His longing for the dogs gets worse and worse. It even gets to the point where he cannot eat or sleep normally. Mama tries to get Papa to do something about it, but Papa insists that they just don't have the money for coon hounds. To make Billy a little bit happier, Papa buys him three small steel traps. Billy is overjoyed. He sets his traps immediately the next morning in the barn and the first thing he catches is Samie, his cat. The animals in the barn along with Billy's sisters howl and yell at the sight of Samie in the trap. This is not the last time that Billy catches Samie in the trap. Samie is very nosy and watches Billy's every move, so he gets caught in the trap many more times. Eventually, Samie runs away. He returns every now and then, but he is never the same.
Billy begins to learn to trap away from the family's animals. He goes behind the fields and starts to trap opossums, skunks, rabbits, and squirrels. The only animal he cannot catch is the ringtail coon. Billy is determined to catch this mischievous animal that eats the bait from Billy's traps without ever getting caught.
Soon, the newness of the traps wears off and Billy is back where he started - wanting nothing but hunting hounds. He asks his parents again and they say, "no." He decides to run away, but that decision reverses quickly when Billy hears a wolf in the forest. It is now the opening of hunting season. Sometimes, as Billy is going to bed, he hears a hunter with his hounds out in the forest. The sound of this makes Billy ache, as he longs to be that hunter with those hounds. He even stays up all night listening to the sounds. His sleep is greatly affected and this begins to worry Mama. Papa tells her not to worry as the summer is approaching and Billy is going to help him in the fields and learn how to become a farmer. After all, Billy's father thinks Billy only needs some sunshine and some good exercise. Billy is excited about this new opportunity to be a farmer and to ultimately grow into a man.