When he became a hermit, he thought of all the benefits of a life of poverty and chastity.
The prospect of a life of solitude was attractive to him as getting away from society and his past was the purpose of the exercise.
To try it out the Abbot sent him to the Tower, an ancient ruin on the edge of the monastery property. He was to spend three months there to see if this was the life for him.
He jumped at the opportunity. He saw it as diving straight in and was excited at the prospect.
To make it authentic once inside the monk who accompanied him and who never said a word the whole journey locked the door at the base of the tower and left him alone. He knew each week a box of supplies would be left for him.
Inside the tower, it was austere as he imagined. A single room at the top of the tower, a crude mattress on the floor, a table and chair and in one corner a small bookshelf crammed with meditative books.
A bucket inside the locked door he assumed was the toilet.
Left to himself the first thing that struck him was the silence. Outside nature did what nature did, birds chirped and small creatures that made noise did their best to shatter the never-ending silence.
He had been given a daily program to follow to help him adjust to his new life. Opening page one he read and began his three months.
Three months later the monk who delivered him came to collect him. In the past, the new monks were waiting by the door when he unlocked it to let them out.
This time there was no one there. He went up the stairs and found the monk on his bed. He was pale and obviously very ill.
The silent monk found cause to break his silence by reaching into his pocket and taking his mobile phone rang for help.