As Winnie climbs in the row boat, she hears the sound of an old bullfrog which, of course, reminds her of her Toad. Tuck points out that this time of night is feeding time for the fish who rise to the surface to eat the insects. He says that what is all around them is life - moving, growing, and changing. He explains how the sun sucks up some of the water and carries it to the clouds, which then rain into the stream, taking it all back again. He calls it a wheel, turning and turning, but never stopping. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Then, he gets the rowboat stuck and tells Winnie that the Tucks are the rowboat, stuck and unable to move on. They’re no longer part of the wheel.
When Winnie exclaims that she doesn’t want to die, Tuck soothes her with the thought that her time will not come for a long, long time. However, he says that dying is also part of the wheel, just like being born, and that no one can pick out the pieces they like and leave the rest. He says living is hard, but that he would climb back on that wheel in a minute if he could. He says his family isn’t really living; they just are like a rock at the side of the road Then, he warns her that if people knew about the spring, they’d come after it like greedy pigs and they wouldn’t know until afterward about the mistake they had made. He wants so badly for her to understand why the spring must be kept secret, but Winnie can only sit there in anguish. Then, they hear Miles calling out that someone has stolen the horse.
This is a very important chapter by how it explains life as a great wheel that turns and turns and that dying is as much a part of the wheel as birth and living. This is an important motif and theme of the story and it is one with which ten year-old Winnie has trouble coming to terms.
The horse has been stolen by the Man in the Yellow Suit and he rides it to the Fosters’ home. He sees that even though it’s almost midnight, the Fosters haven’t gone to bed, and he forcibly intrudes with his “happy” news that he knows where they have taken the girl.
This chapter is an interim one which furthers the plot and furthers the plan the Man in the Yellow Suit must be hatching to take control of the spring.