In 1910 while hiking through the wild lavender in a windswept, desolate valley in Provence, a man comes across a shepherd called Elzéard Bouffier. Staying with him, he watches Elzéard sorting and then planting hundreds of acorns as he walks through the wilderness.
Ten years later, after the war, he visits the shepherd again and sees the young forest he has created spreading slowly over the valley. Elzéard's solitary, silent work continues and the narrator returns year after year to see the miracle he is gradually creating: a verdant, green landscape that is a testament to one man's creative instinct.
Excerpt: By this time the 1910 oaks were ten years old and taller than both him and me. They were an impressive sight. I was left literally speechless, and as he didn't speak either we spent the whole day walking silently through his forest. When you remembered that it had all emerged from the hands and spirit of this one man...you saw that men could be as efficient as God in other things beside destruction.
With a new introduction by Richard Mabey
Illustrated by Harry Brockway