Meryemdje, the widowed mother of Long Ali, grandmother of Hassan and Ummahan, and oldest woman in the village of Yalak, born in 1886. She denies that Old Halil, who had disappeared the previous fall, is dead and refuses to participate in the funeral service. She is proven right when he reappears. She takes an oath of silence. To prevent Adil Effendi, the moneylender, from seizing her belongings, she bundles them up and hides them under a log. She keeps watch for Effendi, but he never comes. Like all the cattle in the village, her family’s calf is hidden in a cave. Meryemdje visits the calf and breaks her oath of silence to give it soothing words. When another woman is hurt in a fight, Meryemdje prepares a healing ointment. She leads a mob of women against Sefer Effendi, the village Muhtar (headman), when they learn that he betrayed them. She backs down when the Muhtar brings out his rifle.
Halil Tayürek, who has his son hide him in a grain crib when he returns to the village. The villagers learn where he is hiding and come to the grain crib as a group. They force him to come out and persuade him they will not harm him. When they leave, he leaves the village despite a blizzard.
Hassan, the son of Long Ali and grandson of Meryemdje. He makes matches. He gives some to Taba before the local police take Taba to jail.
Memet Taba Effendi
Memet Taba Effendi, called Taba, an old man and venerated elder of the village. The villagers acclaim him a saint with mystical powers, which he comes to accept. When he is first arrested by the local police, he is let off with a warning to desist from assuming the role of a saint. The villagers decide that his release is further proof of his saintliness. After the police arrest him a second time, he escapes during a blizzard.