Prix Renaudot, A peasant novel, this simple story of Mervale, a village of ten families in the Ardennes, and of the bastard child, Mourette, abused by all, a wilding left to make her way in the fields and forests. Primitive, ignorant, battered by the rebuffs and calumnies of the narrow peasant people, her first glimpse of another way of life is in the service of a Parisian artist's summer home nearby. To escape Mervale, she goes with him to Paris and the pattern is repeated, when she also bears a fatherless child. One alone is conscience-stricken for her inevitable fate, the kindhearted, elderly Firmin who discards his promise of chastity to God to enact greater Christian charity on earth in offering her marriage and a home. Sentimental, slight, but a sincere picture of the peasant people, their crude manner and speech, and great simplicity throughout.