In a South Austin neighborhood, Ray and his family excitedly moves into a small house standing in the midst of a big, green lawn. Beside their house is a strange, vacant lot where a house apparently once stood, and where a huge wide hole in the back lays mysteriously. As a young boy with a lot of new friends, Ray considers the empty lot as an exciting playground. But the tale behind the lot keeps the boy intrigued and frightened as he learns that the house that was once there was burned down years ago.
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) began writing when he was stationed in the Caucasus in the Russian army. After fighting in the Crimean war, he settled in St. Petersburg, where he wrote a number of stories which reveal an increasing disillusionment with society and the military. "The Empty Drum" is an antiwar story adapted from a Russian folk tale.