THE LEATHERMAN by Dick Gackenbach


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Every 34 days, the Leatherman appears in Ben Pickett's home town. He walks in a circle ""through Connecticut and right on into New York State and back again,"" blacksmith Chauncey Hotchkiss discovered by following him. The townspeople gather to see him, the women feed him, Ben fears him. Who is this ""macabre traveller"" clad in a tent-like leather suit? Why does he walk his endless circle? Among his ""meager belongings,"" Ben sees when the Leatherman befriends him, is a faded photograph of a younger Leatherman and a ""young and beautiful girl"": is it because of her that he ""behaves so strangely?"" That's to be surmised, for neither the story--which ends on Ben's new-found contentment--nor the author's note (explaining that the real Leatherman lost his fortune and fianceÉ in France) put it in so many words. As retold, the tale is too extended to end on a sentimental sigh, and too encrusted with quaint old local color to carry much conviction anyhow.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Seabury