We join Roland and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. As they shelter from the screaming wind and snapping trees, Roland tells them not just one strange tale, but two--and in doing so sheds fascinating light on his own troubled past.
In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother's death, Roland is sent by his father to a ranch to investigate a recent slaughter. Here Roland discovers a bloody churn of bootprints, clawed animal tracks and terrible carnage--evidence that the 'skin-man',
a shape-shifter, is at work. There is only one surviving witness: a brave but terrified boy called Bill Streeter.
Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Book of Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime, 'The Wind Through The Keyhole.'
'A person's never too old for stories,' he says to Bill. 'Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.'