B. Traven, the author of the classic Treasure of Sierra Madre among other novels, is an American and also a literary recluse who has successfully hidden himself in Mexico for decades. In these ten stories Traven reveals himself as a great minor storyteller, somewhere on that vast plateau under Tolstoy, Chekhov and Hemingway. Many writers, even Western pulpskinners, use his primitive sentence style expertly; he alone brings to it an absolutely convincing moral vision and twist of universal irony. Nothing is mentioned or described for its beauty, only for what it is; under bare words, bare things alone become their own poetry. Incongruously, Traven avoids realistic detail in favor of ethical reality. Of the ten stories, only the title story is ineffective and even that remains an immensely readable fantasy. (Another story ""Macario"" became an internationally prize-winning film.) Most of the stories take place in the Mexican provinces and are either straight contemporary fable or legend. For full effect they should be read all at one sitting...The publisher promises more in the offing, happily.