The truth always sounds fantastic. The Hermit, with his lack of responsibilities, his interest in everyone's affairs, and his admiration of himself, was the happiest person in the neighbourhood. If only it weren't for them bloody birds. 'Ow they did go on, waking you up at five o'clock in the morning, shrieking and hollering after dinner when you wanted a doss. Then there was that one that went on 'alf the night, as though all day wasn't enough. Skizz! He viciously whizzed a stone in the direction of a dazzling song among the water-rooted hazels, and out darted a small brown bird, singing as he flew away. "Gar," muttered the Hermit. "Shut up."