The day after Asta, a peasant woman, dies, Asta's son and the village priest, Father Quinel, bury her.
After the burial, the cruel steward, John Aycliffe, tells Asta's son he must use his ox to pay the death tax. This will leave Asta's son with no way to work—which he's required to do. Injustice much?
Asta's son feels desperate. Father Quinel tells him to come to church to pray, but instead he runs off into the forest, trips and hits his head on a stone, and lies there in the cold rain. So that makes things better.