Five varied and interesting short stories by a young American writer hitherto published in the more persnickety literary journals. Miss Willard's strength at the moment (her potential for growth is certain) is an ability to touch on the mistier matters of the human soul and condition through the receptivity of an uncluttered innocence. In her most successful story, ""The Hucklebone of a Saint,"" a child exorcises life and darkness and echoes the defeats and triumphs of adults. Again for a child a moment of crisis and danger is immobilized in ""Graffito""; ""The Boy Who Ran With the Dogs"" entails the boy's abortive wait for a call; ""The Beautiful Sunday"" is a charming tribute to the spell of a journey; and the rifle story, which takes place in Norway, deals with a man who effects the rebirth of others by assuming the identity of God. This one is a bit more pretentious and diffuse. Miss Willard does best on home soft and hers is a welcome new talent, in a handsomely produced book, a specialty of this publisher.