From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
Winnie listens as the Tucks tell her everything that has happened to them. It seems like finally getting to talk about such a big secret is a huge relief.
They tell Winnie they came to Treegap nearly ninety years ago—eighty-seven, to be exact.
In the Tucks' story, they're the same ages then as they are now. Hmmm.
Here's how it all goes down.
They arrive in Treegap and pass by the woods, where all four of them drink from the spring. Oh, and their horse drinks, too, but not their cat. They mark the tree in the clearing with a "T" and keep on going. Totally normal.
The family settles down and starts living to the west of Treegap, but they slowly figure out that something strange is happening—they're incapable of getting hurt. Whether it's falling from a tree or getting shot, nothing sticks. They're always fine.
Oh, one other small thing: they're not aging. Two decades go by and they all look just the same. Pretty weird, right? That's not the kind of thing you can ignore.
The person who has the hardest time with this is Miles's wife. She looks her age (in her forties), but he most definitely doesn't. She thinks it's a sign of evil (kind of understandable) and leaves him. When he loses her, Miles loses their two kids, too.
To make things worse, the idea that the Tucks are evil spreads throughout their community, and they're forced to leave.
When they come back to the Treegap clearing, they see that nothing there has changed. The cut they made in the tree looks exactly the same. That means the tree hasn't aged either. (Cue spooky music.)
The Tucks are pretty smart cookies, and they realize that drinking from the spring made them stop getting older. After all, the same thing happened to their horse, but their cat did grow old and die.
Tuck decides to test how hardcore their situation is by shooting himself in the heart. (Don't try this at home.) Sure enough, this doesn't kill him. He's not even wounded.
Jesse finishes telling Winnie the story by explaining that at that point, the whole family knew they would never die. Pretty freaky.
And so they decided then and there that they had to keep it all a secret.
Mae tries to tell Winnie how dangerous the water is and how drinking from it fixes you in time. But why? None of them know. That's just the way it is.
And that, folks, means that Jesse actually is 104.