Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods - the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.
He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one - even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.
Donald Hall has created a gentle story, evoking a quiet time in American life that is irrevocably past. Using a special method which resembles the early American technique of painting on wood, Barbara Cooney has captured the sense of peace of early nineteenth-century New England and the bustle of Portsmouth Market.