It was indirectly Takao's fault when his father's pottery kiln started a fire. How would his father meet the order he had taken for twenty five tea sets? Mr. Kato, the dealer who had ordered them, was vengeful and threatened to turn all the merchants against father's business. Takao secretly took the family heirloom, his father's grandfather's sword, to the mysterious man who lived in darkness in the strange house on the hill. It was a daring thing for a small boy to do. But his initiative was rewarded when the pottery business was restored and Mr. Kato was exposed as an unethical opportunist. Style and story are a harmonious whole here -- a polished brief and believable episode which could work in very neatly with third or fourth grade studies of Japan. William M. Hutchinson, the illustrator, proves himself a master draughtsman here with controlled black and white line drawings. His drawings are a joy- hinting at the legendary loveliness of Japan, and rendering the urgency of one small boy's need to help his family.