Two weeks later, it already feels as though autumn is on its way and the "wheel" is turning again. Winnie stands at the fence, listening to the birds and admiring the blooming goldenrod across the road. None of the Tucks has been found, and Winnie is thrilled about this. She remembers how, soon after she wrapped herself in the blanket back in the jailhouse, the constable came in to put a shutter over the window and stared at the blanket. Winnie stayed awake all night and didn't get up to investigate a terrifying crash outside. In the morning, she saw that the gallows had blown over.
Notice how, though Winnie is still inside the fence, she's now more tuned into the natural world beyond it. This shows that she now understands that as she grows, she can mentally and emotionally leave the fence and become mature. The fact that the gallows blew over again speaks to the sentience of nature, and its desire to impose its own sense of morality on the human world that, in nature's opinion, got this one wrong.
When the constable found her, Winnie was already sitting up. The constable looked astonished for a moment and then very, very angry. He scolded her that she committed a very serious crime but was too young to be punished. He turned Winnie over to her father and for days, Winnie's parents asked her why she did it. Eventually, through sobs, Winnie told her mother that she did it because the Tucks are her friends and she loves them. This caused Winnie's family to rally around her and defend her to the other villagers.
When Winnie's family rallies around her after she explains that she loves the Tucks, it shows that her explanation isn’t a childish one. It seems to be something that all adults can understand and respect, which suggests that learning the value of friendship is something that comes with maturity for everyone.
Though Winnie's family confines her to the yard, other children start to wander by. They're all impressed with her and want to talk to her about her adventure. Now, she's interesting to them while before, she'd been too uptight to be a friend. Winnie is excited to start school this year because of this.
This turn of events sets Winnie up to use what she learned in the process of befriending the Tucks to become friends with children her own age, who will be able to provide her friendship and guidance for years to come.
Suddenly, the toad jumps out of some weeds right on the other side of the fence. At the same time, a big dog trots down the road and notices the toad. The dog begins to bark at the toad and ignores Winnie's cries to leave the toad alone. As the dog reaches out a paw to touch the toad, Winnie grabs the toad and pulls it inside the fence. She feels revolted for a minute but then remembers that the toad didn't actually feel disgusting. She strokes its back, tells off the dog, and races to her room. Winnie grabs the bottle of water that Jesse gave her and carefully pours it over the toad. She holds it for a long time and thinks that if she decides she wants to join Jesse, there's more water in the wood.
Winnie's ability to evaluate how the toad actually felt, not how she initially thought it felt, speaks to how much she's grown up over the last few weeks. Now, she can think logically and critically about things and come up with appropriate ways to care for other beings. Giving the water to the toad also suggests that Winnie won't choose to drink it herself, as well as that she does believe there are beings in the world who can benefit from immortality--just not her, and possibly, not any humans at all.