Our Military Life Blog

The Sign of the Beaver – Week 4

Matt and Attean have been building a tenuous friendship. While they are both learning from each other and discovering new things within themselves, it cannot last forever. Attean comes to Matt’s cabin one day, and invites him back to the village. His grandmother has invited Matt. She is surprised that he cared enough about Attean’s dog to save it. While they are spending time together more often, there are days where Attean does not come at all. Matt begins to wonder about the absences, but he has things that he must be doing around the cabin as well. At some point his family is going to come back, and he wants to make sure that he is ready.

Finally Attean comes one day and tells him that he is no longer going to be able to come. Matt begins to panic at first, but then realizes as Attean explains, that it is time for him to go in search of his manitou, his spirit guide. Matt begins to realize that this is the rite of passage, not only for him to become a man, but for Attean to be able to participate in the hunts. After he promises to come back, Matt feels better. But the present worry on his mind is his family. They STILL have not returned, and he is not sure where they might be. The different scenarios begin to run through his mind of what might have happened to delay their return. But winter is coming, and he must begin to prepare for the coming months. When he was with Attean in the village, he was fascinated by what would be considered “squaws work,” but would in the end help him to survive.

As the winter months prepare to move in, Attean and his grandfather come to the cabin and ask Matt to go with them when they leave to go on their hunting. The entire tribe is going, and while Matt is not one of them, he has been accepted for who he is. Matt wants to go, but knows that he must remain at the cabin for when his family does return. He cannot give up the hope that his family will return at some point. He does not feel comfortable leaving. When Attean tells them that they never coming back to the area, Matt is sad, realizing that he will never see his friend again. Attean brings Matt some maple sugar, and a few other things, as well as leaving his dog with Matt.

Matt wants to leave a gift with his friend too, but he knows that he does not have much to give. All the sudden he darts back into the cabin and comes back with the watch that his father gave him. It is his most prized possession. Attean is very honored by the gift, and even though he and Matt will never see each other again, they are both linked together through their friendship, no matter how much distance is between them.

Just when Matt has given up all hope of seeing his family again, they show up, in the middle of a snow storm!! Matt is excited to tell them all about his adventures and his new friend, Attean!

This week we are reading Chapters 19-25


  1. Why do you think Matt was so surprised to be invited back to the village?
  2. Did his time with Attean and what he learned in the village help to keep him alive?
  3. Why do you think Matt’s family was alarmed at first when he began to tell them about Attean?
  4. What was your favorite part of the story?