Roland Deschain and his friends encounter a ferocious storm on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells not just one strange story, but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.
In his early days as a gunslinger, in the year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Roland calms the boy by reciting a story from the “Magic Tales of the Eld” that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.