Summary and Analysis
Will notices that Jim has removed the lightning rod from the roof of his home. While he ponders Jim's vulnerability to the "storm clouds" of the Carnival, he senses the presence of a balloon afloat in the air. Jim, next door, senses its arrival too, and both boys simultaneously fling open their windows for a closer view. To their surprise, they discover that there is a balloon and that it is propelled by the Carnival's Dust Witch.
Although made of wax herself, she is supposedly able to shape the destiny of others. She is described as being deaf, dumb, and blind, yet she can "feel the bumps of the world." She is excellent at discovering the vulnerable spots in humanity. Bradbury's Dust Witch is highly reminiscent of the three monkeys that hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil. Ironically, she looks for evil wherever she can find it rather than avoiding it, as the monkeys do.
The boys watch the Dust Witch sail away in her balloon into the night's darkness but not before they realize that she has been searching for them and has left a strange, evil smelling mark on Jim's house. They wash the mark off the roof, knowing full well that if they are to be safe from this evil, they must stop the Carnival's Dust Witch.