Study Guide

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Chapter 3

By Neil Gaiman

Chapter 3

III

  • Two days later the boy's dad gets a used Rover to replace the Mini that the opal miner killed himself in, and the boy gets a letter telling him he's won twenty-five pounds from the Premium Bonds. He's just excited that he's gotten a letter.
  • That afternoon their ancient gardener Mr. Wollery digs up a jar of old coins worth several pounds dating before 1937. The boy spends all afternoon polishing them until they shine. What a day—he wins a lottery, they find buried treasure in the garden… what next?
  • That night he has a terrible dream where the big kids at school team up with his grandfather and other old guys to bully him and stab him with sharp pencils. They hold him down and force something hard, sharp and metallic into his mouth.
  • And when he wakes up, he really is choking on a silver shilling. Creepy.
  • Then, when he goes outside, his sister is really mad at him because she thinks that he was throwing coins at her and her friends from the bushes. Okay…
  • Confused, he starts to walk down the drive, when he sees Lettie waiting for him. Phew, someone to talk to.
  • He tells her about all the weird stuff with the coins, and she just says that it's obvious: someone is trying to give people money, but they're doing it badly, and it's going to stir something up that should be sleeping. (This is getting good.)
  • Walking to her house for breakfast, Lettie starts telling him all about the other people on their street who had strange, horrible dreams about money last night. How does she know all this?
  • This all kinda sorta has to do with the opal miner, and tt's causing a lot of trouble on their street.
  • They show Old Mrs. Hempstock the coin that he woke up choking on, and she can tell that even though it says 1912 on it, it didn't exist yesterday (by seeing the electrons—they were too smiley…). She also remembers when the moon was made.
  • Lettie talks Old Mrs. Hempstock and her mother into letting her take the boy with her to bind the thing and send it back to sleep. Her mother says it tastes like a she, to be careful, and that they'll need a hazel wand. Old Mrs. Hempstock thinks it'll be trouble.