The author uses the form of the first person narrative. His hero – a thirty-year-old Lieutenant Thomas Glan recalls the events that occurred two years ago, in 1855. The impetus was the letter that came by mail – in an empty envelope lay two green bird feathers. Glan decides for his own pleasure and just to pass the time to write about what he happened to experience. Then somewhere around a year he spent in the north of Norway, in Nordland.
Glan lives in a forest lodge with his hunting dog Aesop. It seems to him that only here, far from the city bustle, alien to him, watching the slow life of nature, admiring the colors of the forest and the sea, sensing their smells and sounds, he is truly free and happy.
One day he waits for the rain in the boat shed, where the local wealthy merchant Mac with his daughter Edward and the doctor from the neighboring parish also take cover from the shower. The incidental episode almost leaves no trace in Glane’s soul.
Meeting on the pier of the postal steamer, he pays attention to the young pretty girl Eva, who mistakes for the daughter of a village blacksmith.
Glan extracts food by hunting, going to the mountains, takes cheese from the reindeer herders. Admiring the majestic beauty of nature, he feels himself inseparable part of it, he eschews the society of people, reflecting on the vanity of their thoughts and actions. Among the riot of spring, he experiences a strange, disturbing feeling, which sweetly disturbs and intoxicates the soul.
Edward and the doctor visit Ed. The girl is delighted with how the hunter built his life, but it will be better if he starts dining at their house. The doctor examines the hunting gear and notices the figure of Pan on the porcelain, men talk for a long time about the god of forests and fields, full of passionate love.
Glan recollects that he seriously took a great interest in Edward, he is looking for a new meeting with her, and therefore goes to the house of Mack. There he spends a boring evening in the company of the host’s guests, engaged in card games, and Edward does not pay attention to him at all. Returning to the lodge, he notes with surprise that Mack at night makes his way into the house of the blacksmith. And Glan himself eagerly welcomes the shepherdess she met.
Glan explains to Edward that he is engaged in hunting not for the sake of murder, but to live. Soon the shooting of birds and animals will be prohibited, then you will have to fish. Glan with such ecstasy talks about the life of the forest, that this impresses the merchant’s daughter, she has not yet heard such unusual speeches.
Edward invites Glan to a picnic and in every possible way emphasizes his attitude towards him in public. Glan feels uneasy, trying to smooth out the reckless tricks of the girl. When the next day Edward confesses that he loves him, he loses his head with happiness.
Love captures them, but the relationships of young people are difficult to form, there is a struggle of self-love. Edward is capricious and self-willed, the strangeness and illogic of her actions sometimes leads Glana out of herself. Once he jokingly gives the girl to remember two green feathers.
Complicated love experiences completely exhaust the... Glen, and when Eva falls in love with him into the lodge, it brings relief to his restless soul. The girl is simple-minded and kind-hearted, he is nice and calm with her, she can express her sore feeling, even if she is not even able to understand him.
In an extremely excited state, Glan returns to his lodge after a ball arranged by Edward, how many bites and unpleasant moments he had to suffer that evening! And he is experiencing frenzied jealousy for a doctor, a lame opponent has a clear advantage. From annoyance, Glan shoots his foot.
At the doctor who treats him, Glan tries to find out whether he and Edward had a mutual inclination. The doctor clearly sympathizes with Glan. Edward has a strong character and unhappy temper, he explains, she expects a miracle from love and hopes for the appearance of a fairy prince. Powerful and proud, she is accustomed to everything in the top, and hobbies in fact do not affect her heart.
Mack brings to the guest house, the baron, with whom Edward from now on spends all the time. Glan is looking for solace in Eve’s society, he is happy with her, but she does not fill his heart or his soul. Mack finds out about their relationship and dreams only about how to get rid of the opponent.
At the meetings with Edward, Glan is reservedly cold. He decided that he would not let himself be fooled by the willful girl, the dark fisherman. Edward is hurt to learn about the connection between Glane and Eve. She does not miss the opportunity to sarcast him at his expense about an affair with someone else’s wife. Glan was unpleasantly surprised to learn about the true state of affairs, he was confident that Eva was the daughter of a blacksmith.
Vengeful Mack set fire to his lodge, and Glan is forced to move to an abandoned fishing shack near the pier. Upon learning of the departure of the baron, he decides to mark this event with a kind of salute. Glan puts powder under the rock, intending, at the time of the ship’s departure, to set fire to the wick and to arrange an unusual spectacle. But Mac guesses about his idea. He adjusts so that at the time of the explosion on the shore under the rock is Eve, who dies under the collapse.
Glan comes to the house of Mack to inform about his departure. Edward absolutely calmly perceives his decision. She only asks Aesop for her memory. It seems to the head that she will torture the dog, then caress and then whip it. He kills the dog and sends Edward his corpse.
Two years have passed, but it must be the same – nothing is forgotten, the soul is aching, it is cold and melancholy, thinks Glan. What if you leave to hang out, hunt somewhere in Africa or India?
Epilogue to the novel is the novel “The Death of Glane”, whose events date back to 1861. These are the notes of a man who was with Glen in India, where they hunted together. It was he, provoked by Glen, who shot him right in the face, imagining what had happened as an accident. He does not repent of what he has done. He hated Glan, who seemed to be looking for destruction and got what he wanted.