That night, Tad dreamed of something other than being cold and hungry. There were none of the familiar nightmares about his parents’ deaths or aimless wanderings through the back alleyways of the small city.
He was on the street again with his brother, laughing at the sorcerer as he brushed snow off of his fancy hat. It was all replaying in slow motion, from all angles: the sorcerer’s mumbled words, the look on Westley’s face as the magic started to take effect, the terrible sucking sound as he transformed from a boy of 14 to a tiny lizard, lost and frightened in the snow. It played forwards, then backwards, then forwards again. But why? Why was he seeing this, again and again? Tad began to consider the possibility that he might be dead and in hell at last.
But wait! There, in the sorcerer’s hand! It was the hat, the very hat that Tad had stolen. The dream went slower and slower until he could see it. It lasted only an instant, but once Tad saw it, there was no doubt in his mind. That poor little newt which scurried away looking for someplace warm to hide was just that — a newt! His big brother wasn’t dead at all. He was in the hat!
The realization jolted him awake. The hat was still in his hands, warm and safe. He understood, now, and he knew exactly what he needed to do.