‘Hermit Wanted’ by Mick Jackson

‘[Giles and Ginny] created a deer park and commissioned a couple of follies and a croquet lawn with peacocks strutting around it, and employed plenty of staff to do all the cooking and cleaning and to treat [them] with the kids of respect they felt their considerable wealth deserved.’

It’s hard to choose just one story from Mick Jackson’s ‘Ten Sorry Tales’, which was left in my pigeon hole by a much better, kinder teacher a few years ago. The whole collection is worth a look, and it is the book most often stolen from my classroom – high praise indeed.

This story is about a well-heeled couple who decide that the one thing their estate lacks is a hermit. Despite attracting few applicants they eventually fill the position, providing food and shelter with the simple request that their hermit must remain ‘as quiet as the grave’. All goes well until Giles and Ginny find ‘a new distraction’ in the form of ‘an heir to the throne’.

in ‘Ten Sorry Tales’, Faber, 2005