Ruth May describes the scene in the village: everyone screams as they run away from the ants. Orleanna is holding Ruth May very tightly as she runs along, all the way to the boats on the river.
As we’ve seen so far, it’s Orleanna’s first instinct to protect her children; specifically her youngest child. The question of which child Orleanna must choose, however, will become more important later on.
Ruth May and Orleanna reach the river, where they see Adah. Orleanna moves to talk to Adah, and suddenly Ruth May feels someone else “had a hold of me.” She remembers Nelson advising her to “think of a good place to go,” so that she’ll be able to go there when she dies. Ruth May thinks of being a green snake in a tree, protecting the tribes of “Ham, Shem, and Japheth” together. Snakes are the safest of all creatures, she thinks.
This is an important bit of foreshadowing, as Ruth May feels a connection to a green snake. Ruth May’s perceptions of the world blur the line between dream and reality, and yet there’s a kind of spiritual truth in the way she can sympathize with all other beings, no matter how strange.