Peter listens to the mermaids going to their homes and feels the water rising at his feet. Then he sees something small moving toward him through the water: it is the Never bird sitting on its nest. She wants to save Peter by giving him the nest, even though her eggs are still inside. Her motivations are a mystery, but perhaps “she was melted because he had all his first teeth.”
The Never bird and Mrs. Darling both love Peter for his baby teeth. Peter is unalterable because he forgets everything, or perhaps it is the other way around. He is like the cloud made up of all children, whose ranks change but who go on existing forever. He is as incorruptible as an idea, and as changeable as the sea.
The bird tries hard to tell Peter to swim to the nest, which she can’t bring any closer to his rock. But he can’t understand her, and they become quite irritated with each other. The bird works very hard to bring the nest right to Peter’s rock and then flies up. Finally Peter understands her. Nearby, a pirate’s hat is hanging from a wooden pole in the water; the hat floats well, and Peter places the Never bird’s eggs carefully inside the hat and sets it adrift. The grateful bird immediately lands on her eggs, and Peter uses the nest to float to shore. Soon, Peter and Wendy are home with the other boys.
Peter’s devotion to the idea of fairness is a cipher for his emotions, an inscrutable quality that could indicate either kindness or heartlessness. Perhaps Peter saves the Never bird’s eggs because he can see her care and anxiety, and because he can imagine how she would suffer if the eggs drowned. But perhaps he helps her simply because she helped him, because the rules of fairness require it. It is not necessary to feel anything in order to follow a rule.