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Characters in this story include Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Council. They are a kindly older couple who treat others with generosity and an open hand. When they are approached by strangers who need a place to stay, they are giving not only of their food and shelter but also of their time and energies, providing listening ears and kindness wherever and however they can. They are truly good people. (They also have a son named Ike who shows up very briefly in the text.)

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Mr. and Mrs. Haskins are those strangers who benefit from the Councils' remarkable generosity. Having been forced to leave their home after grasshoppers spoiled the crops and land, they were worn down and believed the world to be a "desolate and cold and hopeless" place until they had the good fortune to meet the Councils. They are incredibly hard-working, not taking for granted the help they receive, and they are driven to keep the "wolf of want" far from their door, making the most of each minute of every day.

Jim Butler is the man who owns the farm that the Haskins family rents. Unlike Mr. Council, he is unscrupulous and doesn't care a whit about other people; he only cares about the bottom line. He takes advantage of Mr. Haskins' hard work, exploiting the poor man in order to make a buck.

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