From the other side of the riverbank, Vardaman witnesses Cash's valiant attempt to hold the coffin securely on the wagon and to keep it from falling into the rushing water. Dewey Dell screams Vardaman's name as he watches Cash finally lose his grip. Vardaman hollers for Darl to chase the coffin downstream, and eventually meets Darl in the water to help him rescue Addie's coffin. Darl tries to rescue it but does not succeed. Vardaman asks Darl where Addie is, reminding him that she is a fish, and that he let her get away.
Even in the case of danger, Vardaman keeps his thoughts fixated on observing his brothers' individual reactions to the scenario, revealing his interest in understanding his family members and the world around him. Vardaman continues pondering the nature of existence and attempting to express it, likening Addie's coffin once again to a fish, this time because her coffin falls into the river.