The Hermit (Maupassant)

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The Hermit
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man accidentally slept with his unknown daughter, causing him to leave his life in Paris and become a recluse on a hill, where he shared his story with a visitor.

A group of friends visited an old hermit living on a hill and discussed the reasons why people chose to live in solitude. One of the friends, the narrator, shared his experience of meeting two recluses, a man and a woman. The woman lived on a deserted hill on the Corsican coast, while the man lived on a hill called the Hill of Serpents.

The Narrator — narrator; curious, friendly, and understanding.

The friend visited the man on the Hill of Serpents and they became friends over time. One evening, the man shared his story of why he chose to live in solitude.

The Recluse — middle-aged man with white hair and a black beard; disillusioned, weary, and regretful.

He had been living a carefree life in Paris when he accidentally slept with a young woman who turned out to be his daughter. He had not known about her existence until he saw his own photograph in her room.

I had climbed into my daughter's bed.

Devastated by the incident, the man decided to leave Paris and give half of his fortune to his daughter. He wandered along the coast until he found the Hill of Serpents and decided to live there. The friend who had been visiting him expressed his sympathy and understanding for the man's actions.

Gad, what a view!

The following year, when the friend returned to the Hill of Serpents, the man was no longer there and had not been heard from since.