The main character is Vitoria Lipan, the wife of a sheep farmer, who lives in the Moldavian village Magura Tarcaului.
She isn’t usually bothered when her husband, Nechifor, doesn’t return home from errands on time. Sometimes he stops to have a few drinks with friends before heading home and this can often last for days. At times she’s been suspicious of him having an affair with a woman from the valley, but he always returns home - home to her, to the hills and to the sheep.
But this time is different. He doesn’t come back and she has a feeling that her husband has died on his way to the city Dorna, where he was to purchase a flock of sheep. The priest tries to comfort her, but all the signs and all the things, which they for centuries have learned to sense, seem to be more reliable than anything priests have studied or been taught.
She then sets off to look for her husband. The road is long and hard but finally she discovers a trail he has left behind him and she wills herself to its doorstep.
She finds her husband’s body and is determined to find out who has committed this crime.
The Hatchet is a Romanian novel series written in 1930. Finnbogi Ísakson translated it and read it on the Faroese National Radio. The strong and assertive Vitoria Lipan has a special place in the heart of Romanian literature.