In the first chapter, "The Girl from Spirit Island," we see an island shown from the perspective of "voyageurs" who come to pick up furs for trading. Through their eyes we see an island whose population has all been killed by smallpox, whose people are laying dead in their blankets, wrapping around them, looking like they were laying in sleep, not in death. There is one person still living. Through the voyageurs' eyes we see a little baby girl whose clothes show she was beloved but whose mother and father both lay dead. Fearing they will be the next victim of the disease, the voyageurs leave in their canoes, but one man, who isn't as courageous as he perhaps could wish to be, decides he will tell his fearsome wife about the baby because if anyone would dare to save the baby from the jaws of death, she would dare.