Tuck Everlasting

by

Natalie Babbitt

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Winnie Foster Character Analysis

The ten-year-old protagonist of the novel. When the reader first meets Winnie, she's deliberating about running away to escape the stifling care of her mother, father, and Granny, whom she believes pay her too much attention. She tells all of this to a toad on the other side of the fence outside her house, adding that she wants to make a difference in the world. Though Winnie loses her nerve overnight because she's afraid of being alone, she does decide to take a walk in her family's wood. There, she meets a young man named Jesse drinking from a stream, and she's immediately attracted to him. Jesse, his brother Miles, and his mother Mae whisk Winnie away and tell her a fantastical story about becoming immortal after drinking from the stream. Winnie doesn't believe them, as she's not one for fairytales or fantasy stories, but nonetheless agrees to go with her kidnappers to their homestead. There, Winnie is shocked to discover that the Tucks live a happy yet disordered life that’s completely different from her own. She vacillates between being scared and feeling as though the Tucks are dear friends as she gets to know them. Through several conversations with Angus and Miles, Winnie confronts the fact that she's going to eventually die. She begins to believe Angus that being immortal is a curse, though Jesse invites her to drink the water when she's 17. The next morning, the man in the yellow suit shows up and threatens to make Winnie drink the water so she can help him sell it. Mae clubs the man over the head, killing him. Winnie knows that the man was going to do a horrible thing but also believes that killing is wrong. She decides to help the Tucks break Mae out of jail by taking Mae's place, which she believes is a way of making a difference in the world. A few weeks later, she gives the water that Jesse gave her to the toad. Decades later, Angus discovers that Winnie chose not to drink the water and died at age 78 after getting married and having children.

Winnie Foster Quotes in Tuck Everlasting

The Tuck Everlasting quotes below are all either spoken by Winnie Foster or refer to Winnie Foster. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Purpose of Living Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Square Fish edition of Tuck Everlasting published in 1975.
Prologue Quotes

No connection, you would agree. But things can come together in strange ways. The wood was at the center, the hub of the wheel. All wheels must have a hub. A Ferris wheel has one, as the sun is the hub of the wheeling calendar. Fixed points they are, and best left undisturbed, for without them, nothing holds together. But sometimes people find this out too late.

Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Three Quotes

"I want to be by myself for a change." She leaned her forehead against the bars and after a short silence went on in a thoughtful tone. "I'm not exactly sure what I'd do, you know, but something interesting--something that's all mine. Something that would make some kind of difference in the world."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), The Toad
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Five Quotes

But she realized that sometime during the night she had made up her mind: she would not run away today. "Where would I go, anyway?" she asked herself. "There's nowhere else I really want to be." But in another part of her head, the dark part where her oldest fears were housed, she knew there was another sort of reason for staying at home: she was afraid to go away alone.

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker)
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Six Quotes

Winnie had often been haunted by visions of what it would be like to be kidnapped. But none of her visions had been like this, with her kidnappers just as alarmed as she was herself. She had always pictured a troupe of burly men with long black moustaches who would tumble her into a blanket and bear her off like a sack of potatoes while she pleaded for mercy. But, instead, it was they, Mae Tuck and Miles and Jesse, who were pleading.

Related Characters: Winnie Foster, Mae Tuck, Miles Tuck, Jesse Tuck
Page Number: 31-32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eight Quotes

"Just think of all the things we've seen in the world! All the things we're going to see!"

"That kind of talk'll make her want to rush back and drink a gallon of the stuff," warned Miles. "There's a whole lot more to it than Jesse Tuck's good times, you know."

"Oh, stuff," said Jesse with a shrug. "We might as well enjoy it, long as we can't change it. You don't have to be such a parson all the time."

"I'm not being a parson," said Miles. "I just think you ought to take it more serious."

Related Characters: Miles Tuck (speaker), Jesse Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster, Mae Tuck
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

But she felt there was nothing to be afraid of, not really. For they seemed gentle. Gentle and--in a strange way--childlike. They made her feel old. And the way they spoke to her, the way they looked at her, made her feel special. Important. It was a warm, spreading feeling, entirely new. She liked it, and in spite of their story, she liked them, too--especially Jesse.

Related Characters: Winnie Foster, Mae Tuck, Miles Tuck, Jesse Tuck
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Closing the gate on her oldest fears as she had closed the gate of her own fenced yard, she discovered the wings she'd always wished she had. And all at once she was elated. Where were the terrors she'd been told she should expect? She could not recognize them anywhere. The sweet earth opened out its wide four corners to her like the petals of a flower ready to be picked, and it shimmered with light and possibility till she was dizzy with it. Her mother's voice, the feel of home, receded for the moment, and her thoughts turned forward. Why, she, too, might live forever in this remarkable world she was only just discovering!

Related Characters: Winnie Foster, Mae Tuck, Miles Tuck, Jesse Tuck
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Ten Quotes

"Jesse, now, he don't ever seem too settled in himself. Course, he's young." She stopped and smiled. "That sounds funny, don't it? Still, it's true, just the same."

Related Characters: Mae Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster, Jesse Tuck
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

It sounded rather sad to Winnie, never to belong anywhere. "That's too bad," she said, glancing shyly at Mae. "Always moving around and never having any friends or anything."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), Mae Tuck, Angus Tuck
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

"Life's got to be lived, no matter how long or short," she said calmly. "You got to take what comes. We just go along, like everybody else, one day at a time."

Related Characters: Mae Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster, Angus Tuck
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twelve Quotes

"Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together. This water, you look out at it every morning, and it looks the same, but it ain't. All night long it's been moving, coming in through the stream back there to the west, slipping out through the stream down east here, always quiet, always new, moving on."

Related Characters: Angus Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster
Related Symbols: The Boat and the Pond
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Winnie blinked, and all at once her mind was drowned with understanding of what he was saying. For she--yes, even she--would go out of the world willy-nilly someday. Just go out, like the flame of a candle, and no use protesting. It was a certainty. She would try very hard not to think of it, but sometimes, as now, it would be forced upon her. She raged against it, helpless and insulted, and blurted at last, "I don't want to die."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), Angus Tuck
Related Symbols: The Boat and the Pond
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

"If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I'd do it in a minute. You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road."

Related Characters: Angus Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster
Related Symbols: The Boat and the Pond
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventeen Quotes

"It'd be nice," she said, "if nothing ever had to die."

"Well now, I don't know," said Miles. "If you think on it, you come to see there'd be so many creatures, including people, we'd all be squeezed in right up next to each other before long."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), Miles Tuck (speaker), Angus Tuck, The Man in the Yellow Suit
Related Symbols: The Boat and the Pond
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Nineteen Quotes

"Not Winnie!" she said between clenched teeth. "You ain't going to do a thing like that to Winnie. And you ain't going to give out the secret." Her strong arms swung the shotgun round her head, like a wheel. The man in the yellow suit jerked away, but it was too late. With a dull cracking sound, the stock of the shotgun smashed into the back of his skull. He dropped like a tree, his face surprised, his eyes wide open.

Related Characters: Mae Tuck (speaker), Winnie Foster, The Man in the Yellow Suit
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty Quotes

And then Winnie said something she had never said before, but the words were words she had sometimes heard, and often longed to hear. They sounded strange on her own lips and made her sit up straighter. "Mr. Tuck," she said, "don't worry. Everything's going to be all right."

Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-One Quotes

Winnie pulled her little rocking chair up to her bedroom window and sat down. The rocking chair had been given to her when she was very small, but she still squeezed into it sometimes, when no one was looking, because the rocking made her almost remember something pleasant, something soothing, that would never quite come up to the surface of her mind. And tonight she wanted to be soothed.

Related Characters: Winnie Foster
Related Symbols: Winnie's Rocking Chair
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

"You mean, if he dies," Winnie had said, flatly, and they had sat back, shocked. Soon after, they put her to bed, with many kisses. But they peered at her anxiously over their shoulders as they tiptoed out of her bedroom, as if they sensed that she was different now from what she had been before. As if some part of her had slipped away.

Related Symbols: The Boat and the Pond
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Was Mae weeping now for the man in the yellow suit? In spite of her wish to spare the world, did she wish he were alive again? There was no way of knowing. But Mae had done what she thought she had to do.

Related Symbols: Winnie's Rocking Chair
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-Two Quotes

"I mean, what'll they say to you after, when they find out?"

"I don't know," said Winnie, "but it doesn't matter. Tell your father I want to help. I have to help. If it wasn't for me, there wouldn't have been any trouble in the first place."

Related Characters: Winnie Foster (speaker), Jesse Tuck (speaker), Mae Tuck, Angus Tuck, Winnie's Mother, Winnie's Father
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-Four Quotes

Leaving the house was so easy that Winnie felt faintly shocked. She had half expected that the instant she put a foot on the stairs they would leap from their beds and surround her with accusations. But no one stirred. And she was struck by the realization that, if she chose, she could slip out night after night without their knowing. The thought made her feel more guilty than ever that she should once more take advantage of their trust.

Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Tuck Everlasting LitChart as a printable PDF.

Winnie Foster Character Timeline in Tuck Everlasting

The timeline below shows where the character Winnie Foster appears in Tuck Everlasting. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Nature and the Cycle of Life Theme Icon
Morality, Choices, and Friendship Theme Icon
...very connected. First, Mae Tuck left for Treegap to meet her sons, Miles and Jesse. Winnie Foster, whose parents own Treegap wood, decided to think about running away, and a stranger... (full context)
Chapter One
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...core. Even though the Fosters own the wood, none of them, even the 10-year-old child Winnie, goes there. Winnie's not even curious about it, which the narrator suggests is because her... (full context)
Chapter Three
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At noon that day, Winnie sits on the closely cropped grass inside her fence, talking to a toad outside. She... (full context)
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Winnie tells the toad that because she's an only child, the adults want to look at... (full context)
Chapter Four
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...sunset, the man in the yellow suit saunters up to the Fosters' fence. He watches Winnie trying to catch fireflies and calls out to her after a few minutes. He tells... (full context)
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The man in the yellow suit insists that if Winnie's lived here so long, she must know everyone. Winnie says that she doesn't and suggests... (full context)
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After a moment of silence, Granny, Winnie, and the man in the yellow suit hear a tinkling bit of music coming from... (full context)
Chapter Five
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The next morning, Winnie wakes up early and decides that she's not going to run away. Though she reasons... (full context)
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Though it's already a hot day, Winnie finds it's cooler in the wood. Surprisingly, the wood is very pleasant. Green and gold... (full context)
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Winnie wanders for a while longer, thinking about the melody, and then she notices something moving... (full context)
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Sternly, Jesse asks Winnie what she's doing in the wood. Winnie insists that the wood belongs to her and... (full context)
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Winnie asks if the water is good to drink, but very seriously and quickly, Jesse says... (full context)
Chapter Six
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Winnie has thought often about being kidnapped, but this is nothing like what she imagined. Jesse... (full context)
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...to a small stream. Mae stops and decides that they'll catch their breath and tell Winnie why they're kidnapping her. They sit for a moment and Winnie is suddenly overcome with... (full context)
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Hearing the melody, Winnie begins to calm down and she thinks that when she gets home, she'll tell Granny... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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What Mae, Jesse, and Miles tell Winnie is the strangest thing she's ever heard. They explain that 87 years ago, they all... (full context)
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...it'd be awful if everyone in the world found out about the stream. Mae looks Winnie in the eye and says that if she drank the water now, she'd stop growing... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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Winnie doesn't believe in fairy tales; she doesn't even really like Granny's story about elves. She... (full context)
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Addressing Winnie, Mae says that they need her help in keeping the secret. She says that they'll... (full context)
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...and ride along, eating bread and cheese. Jesse swings from trees and shows off for Winnie. Winnie feels as though she finally has friends and reasons that she is running away,... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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Winnie is exhausted long before noon. Miles carries her for a while and she sleeps in... (full context)
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When Mae and Winnie reach the house, Angus is there and demands to see the "real, honest-to-goodness, natural child."... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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The narrator explains that Winnie has grown up in a house that's orderly and clean. Winnie's mother and Granny are... (full context)
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Though Mae says after giving Winnie the tour that this is all, Winnie sees so much more. She notices bits of... (full context)
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In the loft, Mae explains that Jesse and Miles aren't home much. Winnie asks what they do when they're gone, and Mae says they get jobs. Miles can... (full context)
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Winnie thinks that moving all the time and not having close friends sounds sad, and she... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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The Tucks and Winnie have supper. They eat sitting in the parlor, which Winnie has never done before. She... (full context)
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Winnie puts her fork down and announces that she wants to go home. Kindly, Mae says... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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As Winnie follows Angus to the pond, she feels brave again with the thought that the man... (full context)
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Angus and Winnie drift in silence and watch the sunset. After a bit, Angus says that after the... (full context)
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Suddenly, Winnie understands what Angus is saying. She'll die one day, without a question. Feeling helpless, she... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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As Mae makes the sofa into a bed for Winnie, Angus and Jesse discuss the possible motive of the horse thief. Angus has a bad... (full context)
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Winnie stays awake for a long time. The sofa isn't at all comfortable and Winnie feels... (full context)
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Winnie thinks of this over and over again until, finally, the sounds of the night are... (full context)
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A while later, Angus also comes out to check on Winnie. He offers to sit with her until she falls asleep, which surprises and touches Winnie.... (full context)
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...Jesse creeps down the loft stairs and kneels beside the sofa. Wide-eyed, he says that Winnie definitely has to keep the secret, but he also suggests that when she's 17, she... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
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Back in Winnie's family's cottage, the man in the yellow suit explains that he followed Winnie and her... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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Winnie wakes up very early and looks out the window. She admires the mist sitting on... (full context)
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Miles steers the boat to some lily pads and baits the hooks. Winnie studies Miles, whose face is thinner than Jesse's but whose body is more solid. Softly,... (full context)
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Miles hands Winnie her pole and she lets the hook down into the water. She remarks that there... (full context)
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Winnie slaps at a mosquito that lands on her knee and thinks that Miles is right;... (full context)
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Winnie reaches out and touches a lily pad. Then, Miles catches a trout and pulls it... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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When Miles and Winnie return to the house, Miles tells Mae that they didn't catch anything they wanted to... (full context)
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Angus asks Winnie how she slept. Winnie says she slept well and then silently wishes that she could... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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The man in the yellow suit looks around for a minute before addressing Winnie and telling her she's safe. Winnie thinks that there's something suspicious and unpleasant behind the... (full context)
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...ago and finally heard the melody coming from the Fosters' wood, saw the Tucks take Winnie, and heard their story. (full context)
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...the yellow suit what he's going to do. With a smile, the man says that Winnie's father gave him the wood in exchange for bringing Winnie home. Flushing, the man says... (full context)
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...instead of pigs." At this, Angus, Jesse, and Miles shout at the man, who grabs Winnie and roughly shoves her out the door. Winnie screams that she won't go with him.... (full context)
Chapter Twenty
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Winnie stands with her arms around Angus as the constable declares that the man in the... (full context)
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...he has to take Mae and put her in jail, and he needs to take Winnie home. Miles and Jesse promise Mae that they'll get her out, but the constable explains... (full context)
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The constable swings onto his own horse behind Winnie and Winnie again assures Angus that things will be okay. She sits up straight and... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One
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Winnie pulls a child-size rocking chair up to her window. She sits in it even though... (full context)
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Sitting in her rocking chair, Winnie thinks that she is different and experienced things that are “hers alone.” She finds this... (full context)
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Winnie hears hoof beats and a knock at the door. She creeps out of her room... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two
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After breakfast the next morning, Winnie heads outside. Her parents treat her carefully and while they normally would insist she stay... (full context)
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Winnie sits down and closes her eyes. A few minutes later, Jesse interrupts her reverie. Winnie... (full context)
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Winnie accepts the bottle and excitedly whispers that she can help. She says that after Mae... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three
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...and hottest of the year. Nothing stirs in Treegap, the wood, or the surrounding countryside. Winnie's mother and Granny sit in the parlor in a surprisingly unladylike state of disarray, sipping... (full context)
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At nine that night, Winnie wanders around her room. She's excited, but she also feels very guilty. She knows that... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Four
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Winnie is a bit shocked by how easy it is for her to leave the house.... (full context)
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At the back of the jailhouse, Angus hugs Winnie  tightly and Miles squeezes her hand before they all creep to the window. Winnie repeats... (full context)
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...heap on the ground. It begins to rain as Mae, Angus, Miles, and Jesse kiss Winnie. Jesse tells her to remember as he hugs her tight. Then, Miles boosts Winnie through... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Five
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...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... (full context)
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When the constable found her, Winnie was already sitting up. The constable looked astonished for a moment and then very, very... (full context)
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Though Winnie's family confines her to the yard, other children start to wander by. They're all impressed... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Epilogue
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...main street is the same, but it now has asphalt and many streets crossing it. Winnie's cottage is gone, but there's now a pharmacy, a dry cleaner, and a hotel. They... (full context)
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...the gravestones and notices a tall monument with "Foster" carved on it. Nearby, he finds Winnie's grave. Her headstone reads that she was a wife and a mother and died in... (full context)
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As Mae and Angus leave town, they discuss that Winnie died and feel sorry for Jesse, even though he knew long ago that Winnie wasn’t... (full context)