This is really an archtype - I kind of agree with Zylithan in that it feels a little generic, and more like a role as opposed to person. I don't' need to know his favourite animal, but I would like a little more.
As such, the plot ideas that build off this are the best part. Go to Comment
Interesting, though I am surprised that the uncle would have had the town destroyed without his true target being there. It seems like something that only makes sense to support the background, rather than something that makes sense.
Now, I have not seen the 'before' version and it is decent except for this one concern.
I really like this idea. Adds details to a culture, especially if it is a local adaptation instead of a world-wide affair. Perhaps these were adopted due to a specific spirit or group of spirits that happens to be haunting this region for generations.