Doug is sick. Like, really super sick. He's sweating, and he can't talk or get out of bed.
He's so hot the cicadas are screaming. (Nice touch, Bradbury.)
He's also having fever hallucinations: Colonel Freeleigh is a broken puppet with springs exploding out of him; John Huff falls down an endless corridor; Miss Fern, Miss Roberta, and the Green Machine are swallowed up by the grass; and Mr. Auffmann comes down the street carrying the Happiness Machine on his back.
Tom, who's not too thrilled about the idea of finding another sibling dead, is crying when Mr. Jonas comes by, so Mr. Jonas stops to ask him what's wrong.
Doug has, Tom explains, had a tough year—his best friend moved away and his metal army men rusted when he left them out in the rain.
Mr. Jonas gives Tom some wind chimes to hang in Doug's window and rides off, thinking.
That evening, he comes back and asks Doug's mom if he can go up and see him. Doug's mom says he's not awake, by which she means conscious, and Mr. Jonas goes away.
Doug's still inside getting his fever on, and it so hot that his parents move him out into the yard to sleep that night, hoping he'll cool off.
Pause for just a moment here: In 1928, if your kid had a fever, you could just put him out in the yard for the night to cool him off. This was way before after-school specials about stranger danger, obvs.
Mr. Jonas comes by in the night, sits besides Doug, and tells him, "Some people turn sad awfully young," which is both beautiful writing and another thing that is apparently not creepy for adults to do by 1928 standards.
He drops off two glass bottles (are they perhaps ketchup bottles?) and tells Doug to "drink with his nose" when he wakes up.One bottle is labeled GREEN DUSK FOR DREAMING BRAND PURE NORTHERN AIR; the other is the same, but with winds and fog from the Aran Isles, Dublin Bay, and Iceland.
He leaves them beside Doug's cot, telling him to remember that they came from the S.J. Jonas Bottling Company.
Doug's eyes open: He has been healed by the magical power of an adult taking him seriously. Go Mr. Jonas.
Later that night, Tom comes out, sees that Doug's better, and calls to his parents.
They all come outside and hover over Doug's cot, only to find that his breath smells like night and water and cool moonlight.
We think that sounds like a really cool smell, but we're not sold on the idea of having to stick our noses in somebody's mouth to find out.