Chapter 17 Summary

Miss Franny continues with her story: When Littmus came home from the war, he sat on the remains of his front porch and felt so alone he cried like a little baby. He missed his family, and the war left him feeling bitter. All of a sudden, Littmus got the idea that he would like to have something sweet, like a piece of candy. He thought that the world should have something sweet in it to combat all the ugly things. So Littmus set his mind to it and walked all the way to Florida, planning his next venture. When he got to Florida, he built a candy factory on Fairville Road. Littmus’s company was famous for the Littmus Lozenge, and its success led to the family’s fortune.

Opal and Amanda admit they have never heard of the Littmus Lozenge, and Miss Franny tells them that the candy has not been made in a long time. Then she pulls open the drawers to her desk, and the girls see that Miss Franny’s entire desk is full of candy. She offers the girls each a Littmus Lozenge, and Winn-Dixie has one too. The dog swallows his candy whole and wags his tail; the girls suck on their candies and think about the taste. Opal can make out the taste of root beer and strawberry, but there is some other flavor that makes her feel sad. Amanda also feels sad eating the candy, and Miss Franny tells them that there is a secret ingredient—sorrow—inside the candies. Miss Franny says that most children cannot detect the secret ingredient; Opal and Amanda must have had sorrow in their lives or they would not have noticed it. Opal admits that she has experienced sadness over moving from Watley, not having many friends, and losing her mother at a young age. But Opal cannot imagine what sorrow Amanda has experienced because her life seems so perfect. Amanda then says the world is full of sorrow and that the candy makes her miss Carson. But before she can talk about Carson, Amanda gets up and rushes out of the library.

Opal asks Miss Franny if she can take some Littmus Lozenges for her father and friends, and Miss Franny lets Opal stuff her pockets. Then Opal checks out Gone With the Wind to read to Gloria and heads over to her yard. On the way, Opal passes the Dewberry house. She remembers Gloria’s lesson and decides to wave at the boys. Dunlap waves back and Opal thinks, “Who was Carson?”