Poor Schatz spends the entire day convinced he is going to die, all because of a misunderstanding. He only realizes he isn’t going to die when his father comes to understand the misunderstanding that has taken place. He immediately explains to Schatz that there are different measures of temperature used in different parts of the world, in the same way that miles and kilometers are used in various places to measure distance.
The nine-year-old boy, who has come down with the flu, overhears the doctor telling his father that his temperature was one hundred and two degrees. Unfortunately, he did not seem to hear the doctor saying that there was nothing to be worried about as long as the fever didn’t hit one hundred and four degrees. He also missed the part where the doctor explained that “there was no danger if you avoided pneumonia.”
His father does not realize that Schatz believes himself to be at death’s door, and even goes out for a while, leaving Schatz alone. It is only as the story is about to conclude that Schatz comes out with it and asks his father how long it will be before he dies. As soon as his father realizes how the misunderstanding has arisen, he explains that there are two different types of temperature measurement. At Schatz’s school in France, where his classmates told him that “you can’t live with forty-four degrees”, they were referring to degrees Celsius. The doctor, however, measured his temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, and since the boy did not know that there were two different systems, he had thought himself to be on death’s door. Before allowing himself to begin to relax, Schatz double checks with his father that he is sure about what he has said, and it seems that Schatz takes at least a day to recover emotionally from this misunderstanding.