Parker, Gilbert-a man, a famine and a heathen boy
The story is set in Canada, particularly in Athabasca. It’s a cold and wild place, far from civilization. The main character is William Rufus Holly, a blond fat and lazy young man who has decided to become a missionary and goes to live with the Indians. This decision was taken after a nightmare during which he was so fat that he was in a carriage, carried by some oxen led by monkeys. Not to waste his life, he’s in Athabasca where he wants to convert the native people to Christianity. The red skin people expected the new comer to be older and speak their language, so they’re very surprised. Their chief is called Knife-in-the-wind. The Indians receive Billy’s gifts and at first are kind to him. But then an Indian with a cruel face, Silver Tassel, asks Billy the reason for his stay. He replies he wants to tell them about the Great Chief who died to save the world. But the Indians do not believe in his words, and to win their respect Billy has to face some tests. First, he has to rescue a boy called Wingo who has been dropped In the river. Then, during the famine, he has to get the nets out of the lake through the storm. Wingo decides to go with him, but they fall in the river. They’re rescued by other Indians, who think they’re dead. When Billy wakes up, he tries to bring Wingo to life. Finally, the boy opens his eyes. Since that episode, Billy begins to be respected by the Indians.