The boy is English and Mali is the Indian gardener. While Mali works the garden, he also works the boy's mind, instructing him in high principles and practical lore. The story centers on the bow that Mali used in his youth and manhood, which he has promised to pass on to the boy. He does so, and, with the mother's fearful permission, Mali and the boy plan a three-day trip into the Indian forest to search for the sambur. They planned one day to reach the forest, one day to search for their quarry and one day to return. When, by the afternoon of the second day, they had not found their prey, Mali called in halt. He had promised to return the boy on the third and they could not go further. The boy, lusting to hunt, shot a monkey and immediately bad luck ensued. Mali was caught in a steel trap, helpless to guide the boy home. Now the boy's great lesson truly begins. By a fortunate chance, he frees Mali, leads and then carries him home. Mali lives only long enough to know that he has kept his promise to return the boy on the third day. This has some of the same qualities that made Jack Bennett's Jamic an outstanding book for this age group in 1963. It is an honest portrait of a boy forced to the realities of maturity as well as an examination of the relationship of youth to age.