The Light in the Forest is a novel first published in 1953 by U.S. author Conrad Richter. Though it is a work of fiction and primarily features fictional characters, the novel incorporates historic figures and is based in historical fact related to the late eighteenth century and period of the American Revolutionary War.
The Light in the Forest is about the struggles of a white boy, John Butler, who was taken captive as a boy in Pennsylvania by the Lenni Lenape Indians and became assimilated.
The story opens in the autumn of 1764. John Butler, approximately fifteen years of age, has lived with the Lenni Lenape in Ohio since being taken captive eleven years earlier. His adoptive Lenape father, Cuyloga, renamed him True Son. He is assimilated and accepted as a full-blooded Lenape by that community. Along with other Native groups, the Lenape enter into a peace treaty with the British forces. The treaty required that the Indians had to return any white captives. True Son did not want to leave as he was fully assimilated and considered himself Lenape; he disdained white society. He tries to commit suicide in order to be free of the whites, but is unsuccessful. Accompanied by a young soldier, Del Hardy, True Son is taken to Fort Pitt, where he is met by Harry Butler, his blood father. Hardy accompanies the Butlers to their home in Paxton Township, near present-day Harrisburg.