Za, an Italian youth, dreamed some day of leaving his small village and abandoning his boyhood occupations of summer truffling and winter shepherding. Father's remarriage was symbolic of the possibility of change in a staid tradition-bound life and though Za has formed deep attachments to the varieties of birds in the countryside, he saw no future in rooting in the dirt for the scarce, precious fungi. A year of night school and a fortunate partnership instruct Za in scientific agricultural techniques and with his friends, he devises a plan to stimulate the earth's production of truffles. In a kind of epilogue we are informed of the success of this venture. The story is not concerned primarily with building plot, but rather in revealing episodes in the life of an Italian village youth. It is told in a conversational style with scattered asides from the author which some readers may find amusing. Limited interest.