When Crispin's mother dies, he buries her with the priest by the Stromford Church.
Crispin is falsely accused of theft and is declared a wolfs head, so he runs away from the village. He meets a travelling entertainer named Bear who forces him into his servitude. However, they become fast friends and equals.
Bear's destination is Great Wexley, and as they make their way there, they perform in small villages earning money.
When Bear and Crispin arrive at Great Wexley, they head straight for a tavern owned by Bears friend. A strange man visits the tavern regularly and converses with Bear. Crispin isn't permitted to listen to these conversations.
One night bear leaves the tavern late. Crispin decides to follow him and is led to another tavern where the strange man, along with other men, listens to another read off a parchment. He realizes they are committing treason with the words being said and tries to warn them when he notices soldiers. As the soldiers begin their attack, Bear helps them all over a stone wall. He isn't able to get over in time.
Crispin breaks into the fortress to save his friend. By knife, he forces John Aycliff, the evil steward of Stromford that declared him a wolf's head, to let him and Bear leave. Aycliff goes back on his word, and Crispin and Bear end up surrounded by guards at the city gates. Bear and Aycliff duel in the circle of guards, and just as it seems Bears time is over, he throws Aycliff into the guards' swords. They leave the village, elated they have escaped.