Chapter 14

There is nothing for the Tucks to do now but go to bed. Angus is concerned over whether the horse thief is an ordinary thief or someone who has a special reason. He has a bad feeling about the whole thing. Winnie is put to bed on the sofa, but she is very uncomfortable all night, because it isn’t her nightgown and it isn’t her bed. Her head whirls with thoughts about whether the secret is true and whether the Man in the Yellow Suit has told her parents. Then, her thoughts are intermixed with sounds of the frogs and the crickets and she begins to drift into sleep. Just at that moment, Mae comes to see how she’s resting. She apologizes for bringing Winnie back to their home, but says she didn’t know of any other way. She softly tells Winnie how nice it is to have her there and how she wishes Winnie belonged to them. Even Tuck himself comes out later to check on her and tell her that if she wants anything to just holler and he’ll come running. He leaves her with a kiss on the cheek and the comment that it’s been quite some time that they’ve had a natural growing child in the house.

His presence makes Winnie worry about what her father will do to them when he comes. Her final visitor of the night is Jesse He reinforces the point that she must keep the secret and how when she’s seventeen, she could drink some of the water and go away with him. He makes Winnie adore him and leaves her with many thoughts before she once again drifts off to sleep.


All of these nocturnal visits of the Tucks emphasize their innate goodness and compassion for others. They want to protect the world from the dangers of the spring water and they want to protect Winnie as well until she’s old enough to choose for herself. They have come to love her, but ultimately it’s up to her to do the right thing.

Chapter 15

The plot resumes in the Foster house where the Man in the Yellow Suit is explaining what he knows. However, he makes it very clear that he will not reveal this information until the Fosters give him something he wants: the wood and the spring of which they are unaware. He emphasizes that they have something he wants and he has something they want. He also smoothly infers that the Tucks are illiterate, rough country people and there’s no telling what they might do to Winnie. He intimidates them into writing up an agreement to give him the wood and then explains that he and the constable will ride out and bring back Winnie and the “criminals.” He even insists that Mr. Foster has no need to come along. With that, he concludes his evil deal.


The purpose of this chapter is to emphasize the Man in the Yellow Suit as a symbol of evil. His greed makes him bargain the life of a child for something from which he hopes to profit. He is intimidating and is ironically more of a criminal than the Tucks who have seemingly kidnapped Winnie. He is so good at pressuring the Fosters that they can’t say a word, and only give into his demands.