You can live on the same farm, in the same house with your uncle for eleven summers, eleven winters, and still not know him. You and your older brother, Wayne, can work in the fields alongside him and Father and Nels—the other old, old man on the farm—and still Uncle David can one day amaze you.
Every night in the winter room, used only in winter because then no work can be done outside, Mother and Father, Nels and Wayne and you—Eldon—gather around the wood stove with the mica windows in its door and listen to Uncle David tell stories of long-dead Alida, or Crazy Alen, or Viking conquerors, and though these stories come from different times and far-off places, they belong, too, to the tight circles of your life. Stories make your days of animals and crops and seasons and family one with the world beyond.
But the night Uncle David tells the story "The Woodcutter" is different, and what happens then is terrible for him. And for Wayne.
"Stories are not for believing so much," Mother says, "as to be believed in."
Eldon's story of a year ends on a scene more powerful than the facts, more true than the facts.
—from the dust jacket
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