The year is 1978, and Saul has arrived in northern Ontario. He finds a place to stay and then goes to the nearest workingman’s bar. At the bar, an older man buys him a drink and asks him to tell him a story. He adds that Ojibways are marvelous storytellers and that he’s met many Ojibways in his lifetime. He introduces himself as Ervin Sift.
A lot of time passes between the last chapter and this one. Saul is now a bitter young man. Ervin treats Saul very differently than others have treated him lately: he makes a generalization about Ojibways, but it’s not a derogatory one, and he’s otherwise kind and respectful.
Ervin proceeds to order Saul drink and food. For the next couple of months, he is Saul’s constant companion. Ervin, a local farmer, offers Saul work driving a truck and cutting firewood. He also helps Saul cut down on drinking. Finally, he offers Saul a room in his house. Saul learns that Ervin’s wife is dead, and that he has no children. Saul is grateful to Erwin, but he’s still restless for something new—something that will fulfill him.
Ervin clearly thinks of Saul as a kind of son. However, Saul has too many “inner demons” and repressed memories to settle down and accept Ervin’s love and friendship.