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Stanley sits there, looking at Big Thumb and all the flowers in the meadow around him. Pretty peaceful moment in an otherwise pretty violent book.
Before long, he realizes that there are probably more onions like the one he found the night before. He digs up one of the flowers, roots and all; and although the narrator doesn't say what the root is, it's pretty clear that he's found another onion.
Suddenly we find ourselves back in long-ago Green Lake – a hundred and ten years ago – sometime before the horrible events that led to the beginning of Kate's career of crime.
Sam and Mary Lou are hawking their onions in the street when a woman comes running out of her house in her nightgown. She's there to thank Sam. For what? Well, the woman's daughter had eaten some bad meat, and Sam's onion tonic had saved her life.
And that's all for the flashback. Back in the present, the boys live on onions and muddy water for the next two days. Zero is still sick, but he's definitely feeling stronger: nothing a little onion and rest combo can't cure.
Stanley decides to go back down the mountain to get the shovel and the jars. It's a long walk down, and Stanley is totally amazed that he was able to make it all the way up the mountain considering how tired and thirsty he had been – with Zero on his back, to boot.