The stranger arrives early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow. He is wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his hat hides every inch of his face. Rude and rough, the stranger works with strange apparatus locked in his room all day and walks along lonely lanes at night, his bandaged face inspiring fear in children and dogs. Is he the mutilated victim of an accident? A criminal on the run? An eccentric genius? But no-one in the village comes close to guessing who has come amongst them, or what those bandages hide.