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Brother is ashamed of having a five-year-old brother that can't walk.
(If Doodle is five now, that makes Brother about eleven, since Doodle was born when he was six.)
As such, Brother decides to teach Doodle to walk down at Old Woman Swamp.
It's springtime. The flowers have a smell of sadness.
Doodle doesn't understand why he should learn to walk. Brother says it's so he won't have to lug Doodle around anymore.
Doodle says he can't walk – his mother, and all the other people have told him he can't.
Brother tells him he's sure he can walk.
The first time Brother lifts him to standing, Doodle falls, "as if he ha[s] no bones in his little legs" (3.7).
Doodle warns Brother to be gentle. Brother says, "Shut up. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to teach you how to walk" (3.9).
It seems impossible. They try and try and Doodle keeps falling.
Brother doesn't give up because he wants to be "proud" of Doodle (3.12). He's unaware "that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death" (3.12).
(Hmmm. How can pride bring both life and death? Read on and you'll see. Also be sure to check out "Pride" in "Themes.")
When Doodle seems at the point of giving up, Brother asks him if he still wants to be pulled in the go-cart when both of them are old men. This always motivated Doodle to keep trying.
After "many weeks of practicing" Doodle finally stands up (3.14).
They are both super-excited.
Keeping their secret from the family until actual walking is accomplished, Brother and Doodle practice and practice.
When "cotton-picking" time comes around they decide to show the family, even though Doodle can only take a few steps at a time.
They promise the family "a most spectacular surprise" on Doodle's sixth birthday, October 8.
Aunt Nicey says they need to give a surprise on scale with "the Resurrection" (3.15). (In Christian theology, the Resurrection is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead.)
On Doodle's birthday morning, Brother brings Doodle around in the go-cart, and asks the family to turn around, and promise not to look. When Doodle gets to his feet, Brother lets them have a look.
Doodle walks to his seat at the table.
Everybody is crying and hugging Doodle.
Aunt Nicey is "thanks praying in the doorway" and Brother goes to her and makes her dance with him until she steps on his toe "with her brogans [thick, heavy shoes]" (3.16).
When the family learns that Brother taught Doodle to walk they hug him, too.
When Daddy asks Brother why he is crying, he can't tell him. Brother is crying because he's teaching Doodle to walk for his owns selfish reasons. He's a "slave" to "pride," and is "ashamed of having a crippled brother" (3.18).
A few months later Doodle is walking like a champ. The go-cart is stored in the barn next to the coffin. It will still be there when the narrator remembers Doodle in the future.
Brother and Doodle go everywhere together.
They begin "lying" to "pass the time" (3.20). Doodle starts the lying, and gets Brother hooked on it.
Brother thinks (in the future) that if they had been overheard they "would have been sent off to Dix Hill" (3.20). (Dix Hill refers to the Dorothea Dix Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. So, we know the story is probably set near Raleigh.)
Doodle's "lies" are the best (3.21). The characters in his stories all have wings and they fly instead of walking.
Doodle and Brother have plans for the future.
They will live at the swamp, earning a living from the sale of "dog-tongue" (a plant probably used for medicinal purposes in the time and place of the story's setting.)
They want their parents to live with them at the swamp.
Doodle gets it in his head "that he could marry Mama, and [Brother] could marry Daddy" (3.22).
Brother is pretty sure this isn't the best plan, even though Doodle's description of it is "so beautiful and serene" that Brother agrees (3.22).