A traveling salesman is driving through the country one night on his way to Omaha when his car breaks down. He walks to a farmhouse and asks the farmer if he can spend the night there. Farmer says, “You can spend the night in the barn, but you better not be sleeping with my beautiful daughter. Six feet tall. Blonde hair. Tits out to here. But nobody can ever touch her!” Waggling a finger for emphasis. The traveling salesman is intrigued and vows to himself that he must, at least, meet this girl. At night, the traveling salesman sneaks out of the barn past the mutter of sleeping livestock, his stocking feet soaking up dew as he slips toward the house silent as the breeze. He climbs into a window to the farmer’s daughter’s room, and she’s even more gorgeous than the farmer described. They make passionate love — the union of two lonely souls. The farmer never catches them together, and the next morning the traveling salesman takes his sample case in one hand, a can of gasoline in the other, walks back to his car and heads for Omaha. Several months later, the farmer’s daughter starts showing her pregnancy. The farmer is horrified and tells his daughter she’s a disgrace before God and not fit to live under his roof. She weeps and packs a suitcase and buys a bus ticket to Chicago with the only few dollars she’s saved over the years. She finds a job waitressing at a Greek restaurant and the owner lets her sleep in the pantry at night. After a few days of this, the restaurant owner and his wife take pity on the farmer’s daughter and her swollen stomach sleeping on a cot among their onions and bags of flour and rice, so they give her an advance on her pay so she can rent a cheap apartment from a cousin of theirs. The farmer’s daughter’s belly grows heavy with child. Still, she works hard and comes to an arrangement with the restaurant owner and her landlord so she can pay her rent and her debt, feed herself, buy clothes for the baby, and accrue some savings. The restaurant owner’s wife and grown son arrive at her apartment one Sunday with a second-hand crib that belonged to the son many years ago. The farmer’s daughter tries to press a few dollars into their hands but they won’t hear of it, so instead she makes them coffee and tells them what little she remembers of her own mother. One day the farmer’s daughter goes into labor mid-shift, is rushed to a hospital, and gives birth to a beautiful blonde girl. She calls her father, the farmer, to tell him the news and that she’s named the girl after her late mother — but the farmer, still stricken with shame, is furious that this whorechild bears the same name as the blessed saint of a woman who raised her. The farmer’s daughter and her girl live frugally, but as five years pass, then ten, their economic situation improves. They can breathe more easily and move into a better apartment. The farmer’s daughter’s looks begin to fade from the constant toil and stress of financial hardship, but in her more lighthearted moments a trace of the beauty she once possessed resurfaces briefly. She has vague longings but chooses not seek the company of men, burying these longings with guilt and self-denial. Her girl grows tall and excels at school. The girl has many friends, since she is a sociable child, self-confident, and loves to laugh. She plays the violin and sometimes tells people she wants to become a veterinarian, though secretly she dreams bigger and her mother suspects this and encourages it. The girl is vaguely curious about who her father is, and her mother, the farmer’s daughter, tells her the truth: simply that when they’d met, he’d been the kindest man she’d ever known and that they’d never met again. The farmer’s daughter has, by this point, long since given up hope of ever communicating with her father again, and has made a sad but firm peace with this fact. Their life has been a struggle financially and emotionally, and sometimes her heart aches to think that her father’s stubbornness and poor health habits will see him dead before he ever meets his granddaughter — but the farmer’s daughter never once regrets having left behind her sheltered past and her controlling, ignorant father, and having created a satisfying life of her own in the city. The traveling salesman has, by now, been dead of venereal disease for some time.