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I have been trying to recall a short story for a while now, one which I read in 2009-2010 but is possibly older (it was part of a children's story collection whose name I cannot recollect, although I don't think that the themes discussed in the story are those commonly observed in children's stories). I believe that the story incorporates the following:

  1. A man from Norfolk. This stands out to me vividly — the man was described as old and wearing a straw hat. I am 100% sure that the man was from Norfolk, and the story almost certainly begins with a short discussion of the mysticism of the seemingly mundane British County. He also lives in a small house.

  2. The protagonist is a journalist or reporter of some kind. The protagonist is male, married (his wife is referred to in the story) and likely an editor for a local newspaper.

  3. The protagonist goes to meet the strange man. I know that their interaction is described, but can't remember exactly why or how they meet — I think the most likely reason is that the protagonist forgot something small at the man's house, but although the old man is not scary, the protagonist is still wary around him.

  4. The story takes place in autumn/winter. This is because the trees are described in the story, although I can't for the life of me remember whether they were described to have red leaves or no leaves at all.

  5. The story glorifies the English Countryside. The small villages dotting England were discussed and the beauty of the wooden houses was also talked about.

I'm greatly sorry for the little information, but I was very young when I read it and it left a strong impression on my mind, likely because I found it out of place and different from the other stories. There are two other stories from the collection which I can recall — one was an excerpt from the book Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window and another one which involved talking foxes and bears.

Apart from this, I think that the story involved a post-office and the man might have been trying to send a letter (although I may be completely incorrect on this one).


As per this page, I have added a few more points which may help in identification of the story:

  • I don't think that the collection was particularly old (likely not pre-2000) and the book was certainly not in any stage of decay for sure.

  • The collection was very thin — and after more thought I think that it might be an old elementary/middle school textbook! Since I read it in India (where English as a subject mostly consists of reading short stories assigned throughout the year) I assume that the story might be in a textbook as the binding of the book was either a simple saddle stitch or a perfect binding. Of course, I'm not sure, but this seems likely.

  • If it helps, the size of the collection was about 150-200 pages, and bigger than the average paperback — probably 6x10'', I would guess. Very thin, and large pages commonly found in picture books.

  • Welcome to Lit.SE! This is a good first question. If you are so inclined, you can take a look here too if there might be some details you can add. – Skooba Jul 24 at 18:57

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