If you go to Galina now, people will tell you different things about Luka’s disappearance. In one version of the story, the village woodcutter, waking from a dream in which his wife has forgotten to put the pie in the oven and served it to him raw, looks through the window and sees Luka wandering down the road in his nightgown, a white scarf tying his chin to the rest of his head so that the mouth will not fall open in death, his red butcher’s apron slung over one shoulder. In that version, Luka’s face is as loose as a puppet’s, and there is a bright light in his eyes, the light of a journey beginning. The woodcutter stands with the window curtains flung open, his legs stiff with fear and lack of sleep, and he watches the butcher’s slow advance through the snowdrifts that are running across the dead man’s bare feet. Others will tell you about the baker’s eldest daughter, who, getting up early to warm the ovens, opens the window to let the winter air in to cool her and sees a grounded hawk sitting like something ancient on the fallen snow of her garden. The hawk’s shoulders are dark with blood, and when it hears her open the window it turns and looks at her with yellow eyes. She asks the hawk, “Is all well with you, brother—or not?” and the hawk replies, “Not,” and vanishes.

From The Tiger’s Wife By Téa Obreht.