Mr. Tibbs shucked and bound the bundles of bracken and broken twigs in coarse runs of fat hairy twine. He stacked them some still wet with snow one atop another in the lopy wheelbarrow. A flustered assemblage of dried grass, clippings from the oldest trees in the garden, and the spinelike rice straw he collected by bicycle from the surrounding farms.
Four long years now had that witch, Mr. Groveland, brought ruin to his garden. Leaving footsteps and crushed hemlock in the flowerbeds or felling his favourite trees in the yard just for fun. It wasn’t a question of whether he could kill his neighbour. It was if the pyre would prevent Groveland from coming back once again. The local council had been quite direct in their letter that Tibbs should attempt to settle the dispute privately.