The narrator of this allegorical tale, journeying by foot across the barren plains of the lower Alps, has his thirst assuaged by the well water drawn by the shepherd Elzéard Bouffier. Thus begins the subtle parable that Giono weaves of the life-giving shepherd who chooses to live alone and carry out the work of God. Over forty years the desolate hills and lifeless villages which so oppressed the traveller are transformed by the dedication of one man. All with the help of a few acorns. Written in the 1950s, Giono’s brief story, which he hoped would help set in motion a worldwide reforestation programme, had a message ahead of its time. It has inspired many readers over the years to rediscover the harmonies of the countryside and prevent its wilful destruction. This edition is enhanced by Harry Brockway’s delightful engravings and by an afterword by Alyne Giono.
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