Download Freak the Mighty Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapters 15 and 16 Summary

Freak and the Fair Gwen spend Christmas Eve with Max, Grim, and Gram. After a wonderful supper and time spent listening to Grim tell stories about Christmases when he was a kid, everyone gathers to open gifts. Grim receives a woolly sweater from Gram, and Gram gets a bracelet made of shells from Max. Max gives Freak a thoughtfully chosen “gizmo” made up of “a whole bunch of little screwdrivers and wrenches and even a magnifying glass.” Gram gives the Fair Gwen a beautiful, dark red scarf that matches the blouse she is wearing. Finally, when it is Max’s turn to open a gift, he chooses the one from Freak.

The gift to Max from Freak, of course, is unique, packed in a pyramid-shaped box covered with the Sunday comics. Freak excitedly tells Max to take all the paper off first because as there is a “special way to open it.” Following the arrows drawn on the sides of the pyramid, Max gets to a sign that says, “PRESS HERE AND BE AMAZED.”

When Max pushes at the spot indicated, all four sides of the pyramid, which is made of pieces of cardboard taped and clipped together into a mechanical masterpiece, fold down at the same time. Inside the pyramid is a book Freak has made—it is a dictionary of all his favorite words, with definitions that evidence his distinctive brand of quirky humor. Getting that dictionary from Freak is Max’s favorite part of Christmas.

That night, Max is dreaming about “a little snowman who looks like Freak” when he is awakened by the sound of someone breathing. A giant hand covers his face, and the voice of Killer Kane ominously whispers, “I came back...like I promised.”

Max listens, “paralyzed,” as his father whispers that he has come to get his son, whose mind has been “poisoned against” him. Killer Kane swears that he “never killed anybody” and announces that they are leaving on an “adventure.” He forces Max out into the snow without even giving him time to get a jacket. Everything seems “just make-believe” to Max, and he does not...

(The entire section is 546 words.)