Having danced wildly during his songs, the Centipede now teeters and falls off the edge of the peach. James yells for the Silkworm to start spinning and ties string around his waist. He tells his friends to pull him up if he tugs on the string three times. Then, James dives over the edge. The Ladybug cries that both James and the Centipede are lost. The others join her in crying, while the Old-Green-Grasshopper plays a funeral march on his violin. Suddenly, they feel three tugs on the string. Everyone hauls on the string and finally, James and the Centipede are back on the peach. The Centipede cries that his boots are ruined after his swim in the Atlantic. The Old-Green-Grasshopper shushes the Centipede. Night is falling, and he suggests they stay on top of the peach to keep watch.
Once again, James’s bug friends make quick assumptions rather than trusting that James’s plan could work. This is why they promptly mourn his death—in their mind, no one survives such a leap. Meanwhile, the Centipede’s silly annoyance with his wet boots after an extremely serious near-death experience again underscores that the novel is likewise a silly and nonsensical one.