The Indian in the Cupboard

by Lynne Reid Banks

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Chapters 13–16 Summary and Analysis

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Chapter 13

The two friends are sent back to class. Omri takes Boone and Little Bear back, scolding Patrick in the process. Patrick defends his decision, explaining that the headmaster didn’t believe in what he saw anyway. He asks if he could be allowed to keep Boone, but Omri tells Patrick that he is incapable of treating Boone and Little Bear as people.

In art class, Omri, who is desperate to find some “fun” in his situation, takes the two figures from his pocket and places them on his drawing sheet. He explains to Boone that they are in art class. Revealing that he was good at art back in school, Boone proceeds to sketch a microscopic view of a town from his time. After complimenting Boone on his drawing, Omri attracts the attention of the art teacher. The teacher asks Omri for his work, and Omri passes Boone’s sketch to his teacher. Astonished, the teacher examines the details with a magnifying glass. Asking to be excused, Omri bursts into laughter as soon as he is outside.

After school, Omri quickly heads to Yapp’s, ahead of the expected wave of other children. He takes Little Bear and Boone out among the toys and arranges female figurines for Little Bear to choose from. They decide on one wearing a red dress. Upon paying at the register, Omri is accused of pocketing two other toys—an Indian and a cowboy. Omri asserts that they were his to begin with, but Mr. Yapp is skeptical. Luckily, Patrick arrives and vouches for Omri’s honesty by providing a description of the figurines. Omri whispers to Boone and Little Bear to act like plastic and shows them to Mr. Yapp, who confirms that they sell nothing like the two in his store. After leaving the store, Omri asks Patrick if he wants to stay the night at his house.

Chapter 14

Upon coming home, Omri finds the cupboard missing. He confronts Adiel, who has taken revenge on Omri for supposedly stealing his football shorts. Eventually, Patrick finds the missing shorts behind a radiator, prompting Adiel to reveal that he hid the cupboard in the attic. There, Omri and Patrick retrieve the cupboard but quickly realize that the key is missing. They clean and search the attic thoroughly but fail to find it.

After supper, Patrick and Omri sit in the living room to watch TV. They settle on a Western film, which Boone and Little Bear both watch intently. Later, as the Indians in the film die, Little Bear becomes agitated, while Boone compounds his irritation with insults. Before Omri even realizes what is happening, Little Bear has drawn his bow and shot Boone in the chest.

Patrick panics, but Omri tells him not to touch Boone. Omri picks Boone up carefully and brings him down to Little Bear. He commands Little Bear to see whether Boone is still alive. Listlessly, Little Bear affirms that Boone is indeed alive. After convincing Little Bear to pull out the arrow, Omri tells Little Bear to cover Boone with his chief’s cloak.

Patrick reasserts that they have to find the key in order to bring to life a proper medic for Boone. They go upstairs to Omri’s room. Little Bear smashes his chief headdress on the ground and runs to his longhouse.

Chapter 15

Omri and Patrick keep vigil over Boone. When Omri’s mother bids him good night, he finds out from her that Gillon’s pet rat has escaped and taken up residence underneath the floorboards. Omri and Patrick place Boone and Little Bear high up on the bedside table...

(This entire section contains 1304 words.)

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to keep them safe. Omri then realizes that the key must have fallen underneath the floorboards.

Little Bear talks to Omri and asks if he can dance to call the spirits to help Boone. Omri replies that Little Bear can help look for the key instead. Guided by the light from Omri’s bedside lamp, Little Bear journeys underneath the floorboards. When Omri hears what sounds like a small body running toward the hole, he reaches down with his open palm and, as soon as he feels Little Bear run into it, closes his hand—in time to protect Little Bear from the rat not far behind. Omri then opens his hand to find Little Bear carrying the missing key.

They bring back the army medic and have him examine Boone. After the medic provides some medicine and directions for treatment, they return him to his own time. Omri puts Boone under the care of Little Bear. He tells Little Bear that he should become blood brothers with Boone once the cowboy has recovered. The concept is foreign to Little Bear, but he accepts it in exchange for Omri bringing his wife to life.

Chapter 16

While Patrick falls asleep instantly, Omri stays awake, wondering what to do next. He has come to understand that keeping Little Bear would be impossible and decides sadly that he must soon send them home. When he wakes up the next morning, he takes the plastic Indian girl and brings her to life.

Little Bear gets along very well with the Indian girl, whose name is Bright Stars. He asks Omri for a wedding feast. Omri suggests that perhaps Little Bear might prefer to celebrate back in his own time, to which Little Bear agrees.

After Boone has recovered a few days later, they hold the brotherhood ceremony. While interested in the idea, Boone grows pale at the sight of the sharpened knife. It is not until after he is plied with food and alcohol that Boone offers his arm willingly. Little Bear and Boone slice into their arms, and Bright Stars comes in to bind their wrists together with hide.

In the midst of their celebration, Little Bear tells Omri that the best time to go is now, while they are all happy. Omri obliges and separates him and Boone, putting Little Bear and Bright Stars together. They say goodbye, and Omri returns them to their time. Left with nothing but plastic figures, Omri takes the key and gives it back to his mother. Returning to his room, he asks Patrick what he should do with the cupboard. Patrick suggests leaving it empty.


In these chapters, both Patrick and Omri and Little Bear and Boone reconcile with each other. Patrick returns to help Omri out of a difficult situation, and Omri does not hold a grudge against Patrick. Similarly, after Little Bear and Boone have an almost fatal disagreement, Boone retains no grudge against Little Bear. He is enthusiastic about becoming blood brothers, showing that, despite all their differences, the two feel a sense of kinship with each other. In fact, Little Bear indicates much earlier that he considers Boone a friend. He expresses great frustration, such as jumping and crushing his chief headdress, when he realizes what he has done to Boone. Later, he goes so far as to risk his life to help obtain medical assistance for the cowboy.

These chapters also conclude Omri’s growing moral awareness that if Little Bear and Boone are truly “real” people, he cannot keep them around like toys or pets—nor should he keep them from the time and place where they belong. This painful awareness is compounded by the fact that even simple or almost inconsequential things—such as watching a Western film or having a pet rat around—are capable of putting Boone and Little Bear in danger. Patrick follows in Omri’s footsteps, though he retains his longing and fascination for the magic of the cupboard, and respects Omri’s decision to return the figures to their time. He satisfies himself with the fanciful suggestion of keeping the cupboard empty, simply to retain the possibility of reviving the magic.


Chapters 10–12 Summary and Analysis