Our Military Life Blog

The Sign of the Beaver – Week 2

Matt is going to teach Attean how to read, but he has no idea how to even begin to teach him! It was obvious from his body language that he did not like the idea of being taught how to read, but seems resigned to at least follow his grandfathers wishes. As they work through the book “Robinson Crusoe”, there seem to be things that bother Attean, specifically, how they refer to the native people and the relationships between Crusoe and his companion.

While Matt is trying to teach Attean, it seems that Attean is willing to teach Matt a few things as well. His rifle was stolen (remember the travelling man that came through in our first weeks read), and so he has been relying on his fishing pole to eat. But Attean has been bringing rabbits and other bits of food for Matt while he recovers. Matt asks him how he killed the rabbit, as there was no evidence, and so Attean takes him out and hows him how to lay a trap. Matt is intrigued by his new acquaintance. While they obviously are not friends, they are spending more and more time together, out in the woods and exploring some of the surrounding areas. Attean shows Matt a dam that some Beavers have built and points out the sign of the tribe that hunts there. He also shows him how to make hooks for his fishing pole, a bow so that he can hunt with a bow and arrows, and how to track his way through a forest and find his way back home. Attean might not really care for Matt and who he is, but he is willing to share some of the knowledge that he has. Matt continues to teach him how to write and begin to read, but he is having to tread carefully. He does not want to offend the young boy, but he wants to fulfill his end of the bargain. He knows that his mother will make a better teacher when she arrives, but Matt is not sure how much longer they are going to be. The sticks his father gave him have been filled and he knows that they should be arriving soon.

Matt has been busy with his time, and is doing his best to survive without his father there. There is no doubt that without the intervention of Attean and his grandfather, he would have perished when he went after the honey.


This week we are reading Chapters 7-12


  1. Matt is taken aback with the reaction that Attean has to the story of Robinson Crusoe. What do you think?
  2. Attean begins to show Matt different ways to use what is around him instead of having to buy everything. Do you think that you could make a bow out of wood?
  3. What do you think of the fragile friendship forming between the two boys? Do you think there is some respect there for the differences in the ways that they were raised?