Study Guide

The Yearling Chapter 26

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Chapter 26

  • The Baxters' cow has another calf a week before Christmas, which makes it way easier for the fam to leave for a while for Christmas: the calf will take care of the milking for them!
  • Ory makes a giant fruitcake, and when she finishes, Penny gives her the fabric.
  • She bursts into tears of joy, and works for three days and nights making her dress. No helpful mice for her.
  • Buck stops by to tell them that Old Slewfoot killed one of their hogs, and Penny also finds out the Forresters are not coming into town for Christmas. Phew!
  • Everything is all set, and it's three days till Christmas…when Old Slewfoot strikes again, and this time he's killed their new calf.
  • Penny is mad.
  • Like, really, really mad.
  • He goes after him with Jody, and they track him all day.
  • Finally, they assume he'll be back to finish eating the calf that night, so they set a trap there.
  • They get home and conk out asleep, but get up early the next morning to check the trap.
  • Of course, wouldn't you know it—Slewfoot hasn't even come at all. Grrrr.
  • Penny is dead set on getting Slewfoot once and for all, so he tells Ory he's leaving to hunt him, and he's not coming home till he kills him.
  • Ory is devastated—it's Christmas Eve, and after all her hard work, they won't make it to the Christmas festivities after all? C'mon, have a heart, Penny!
  • Penny tells her to drive out to town on her own if they're not back in time. She's upset, but doesn't say anything. Sniff, sniff.
  • Jody and Penny pack up and head out.
  • They find Slewfoot's trail pretty quickly, and Penny shoots but doesn't kill him, so they keep on following.
  • They spend the night in an empty cabin by a creek, which belongs to a woman Penny dated before he married Ory—Nellie Ginright. Interesting.
  • She shows up the next morning, and once they explain their presence, she cooks them Christmas breakfast.
  • They head out afterwards, and find Slewfoot's trail easily. Da-dum. Da-dum. Da-dum-da-dum.
  • Finally, after a long chase and a huge battle with the dogs, Penny shoots Old Slewfoot and kills him! Woooooooo!
  • Thy can't figure out how to take his carcass home, but just then, the Forresters ride up, drunk as can be, and offer to help for half the meat. Yay?
  • They carry it back to the Baxters' house, and then all ride together into town to the Christmas festival. Is this really a good idea?
  • Buck decides to put on the bearskin, crawl into the church, and scare everyone—and it works, because obviously.
  • Penny and Jody are the stars of the party as they tell everyone about the hunt. Even Ory is proud of them.
  • But no one's very happy the Forresters are there, drunk. Luckily, pretty soon, they leave.
  • Suddenly, Grandma Hutto gets word that Oliver is back, and with Twink! She and the Baxters hurry to her house to keep them away from Lem.
  • When they get there, though—her house is on fire! What?!
  • They think the Forresters did it, when they heard Twink was with Oliver. On Christmas Day? Jerks.
  • Jody runs to tell Oliver, but when they get back, Grandma swears the fire was her fault, so he won't get into another fight.
  • It turns out he has married Twink, and Grandma decides to move to Boston to be closer to them. Phew—crisis averted. Well, except for the house fire.