Rider, an incredibly strong and large negro who lives on "Roth" Carothers McCaslin's plantation, is bereaved by the death of his wife. He digs his wife's grave at great speed, and the visitors at the funeral wonder why he is digging his wife into the ground so quickly. That night, Rider believes he sees his wife's ghost. He returns to work at a sawmill the next day, but after chucking an incredibly large log down a hill, walks off the job and buys a jug of whiskey, drinking copiously. Rider goes to the tool room at the mill and confronts a man named Birdsong, who has been cheating negroes in dice for years. Rider cuts Birdsong's throat. The narrative shifts, and the story is now in the home of the local sheriff's deputy.