This is a beautiful tale about courage, loyalty and honesty, set in France during the first World War.
In the woods of a village in France two girls named Coco and Marcelle find a blinded soldier who has escaped from the war.
Coco and Marcelle keep the soldier a secret and bring him food whenever they can, feeling this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to them. For once they know something that their older brother Pascal does not.
In return for their kindness, the soldier tells the sisters several tales. Each tale is different, but present in all of them is a donkey. Finally he tells them the true tale about his brother and a donkey made of silver, which he keeps in his pocket. Coco is fascinated by donkey.
The sisters realize that they cannot help the soldier by themselves. He wants to go home, and to do so he must pass a broad channel. They eventually tell their brother because they cannot figure out how to help the soldier cross the water without anyone seeing him.
This book can be read in different ways and like most of Sonya Hartnett's books it is as much a book for adults as it is a book for children.