From the Italian, this deals with the conflict between peasants and gentry in a remote, mountainous, sheep-raising country. It is the merest skeleton of a novel, scarcely longer than a short story, but complete and so skillfully compressed and limited to only necessary scenes that it can afford to treat fully, poetically and simply what remains. A shepherd Argiro loses in a fatal accident the oxen he owns jointly with the rich Filippo Mezzatesta. Though it was not Argiro's fault, none of the Mezzatestas will repay him. Argiro's family borrows and scrapes and finally is able to send their youngest son to be a priest. One of the Mezzatestas also has a son destined for the priesthood but the boy has failed. Bitterness between the families becomes more acerb, and, in the complex of miseries and injustices, Argiro's oldest son sets fire to the mountain, destroying the Mezzatesta sheep and cattle and distributing those that survive to the poor before the carabinieri catch him. It is a brief, beautifully told small story, full of the vivid sights and scenes of a hard, rural life.