1. "The sin of grabbing a frog from the garden and putting it into a bowl..."
This allusion to a willful sin parallels that of Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. As a result of his transgression, Nicholas is expelled from the joys of going to the beach; moreover, he is kept out of the garden, just as Adam and Eve were. He is told,
"You are not to go into the gooseberry garden...."
"Why not?" demanded Nicholas.
"Because you are in disgrace," said the aunt loftily.
2. After Nicholas pretends that he is attempting to enter the gooseberry garden, he steals the key and enters the lumber room, knowing that the aunt will be occupied with trying to prevent him from entering the garden since she believes he wants in. Instead, he delights in his flights of fancy about the tapestry that he discovers. When Nicholas is in the lumber room for some time, his aunt becomes concerned that he may have stolen into the garden. She searches and calls to him, but there is no response. Finally, the aunt accidentally slips into the rain-tank and calls frantically for help. Although Nicholas hears her, he methodically puts things back into place, locks the lumber room, and returns the key to its hiding spot. The aunt is still calling for help when he finishes. As he approaches the garden, Nicholas rejects her as who she says she is, refusing her permission to enter because he was told that he could not enter.
In another allusion to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Nicholas tells the aunt,
"...you may be the Evil One tempting me to be disobedient. Aunt often tells me that the Evil One tempts me and that I always yield This time I'm not going to yield."
3. Rather petulantly the aunt insists that he go for a ladder. Nicholas asks if there will be strawberry jam for tea-time, and the aunt replies affirmatively.
"Now I know that you are the Evil One and not aunt," Nicholas insists, stating that he has looked and there are four jars in the cupboard, but the aunt has declared there are none, so she does not know. "Oh, Devil, you have sold yourself!"
Nicholas delights in repaying his aunt for her meanness in not allowing him to accompany the other children. Instead of her having stolen anyone else's soul, Nicholas implies that the aunt has foiled herself.
4. Then, Nicholas leaves the aunt helpless in the water tank. He knowing that there is a
...luxury in being able to talk to an aunt as though one was talking to the Evil One...
but he should not overdo such speech. Consequently, the aunt is not rescued until a kitchen maid seeks parsley in the garden and hears her. Ironically, it is Nicholas who plays the devil, but he likes to think of his aunt in this way.