The Three Hermits


The three Hermits is a book that talks about  religious belief held by three old men referred to a ‘Three Hermits’ living in a solitude island without a name in a bid to save their soul. These three old men apparently don’t know how to pray formally as taught by Christians in the Lord’s Prayer and this prompts the bishop to teach the Hermits how to pray which they later forget.

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The Three Hermits

The three Hermits live in isolation in an island not accessed by many. They are three old men; one of them being small in body with a bent back but ever-smiling and his white beard turning greenish. The second old but stronger man is slightly taller, wears torn peasant coat with wide beard and his hear turning yellowish grey in color, he is kind and cheerful. The third man is also tall but very stern. He has long beards that reach to his knees and are as white as snow and at the same time long eyebrows that hang over his eyes. He only wears a mat that he ties around his waist.

The bishop learns about the three hermits through a fisherman boarding the same vessel on his way to Solovetsk from Archangel together with the Pilgrims and he insists to be taken to the island to see the old men, to learn how they are praying and how they intend to save their souls.  Upon reaching the island, the Bishop meets the three old men standing together at the shore as was told by the fisherman and he learns that they don’t know how to pray according to how he teaches. The three old men offer simple prayer in their own way; that is, ‘Three are ye, tree are we, have mercy on us’ pointing at the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, teaching and belief that Christians uphold. Their prayer insinuates that the Trinity are three in number, they are also three in number and so the Trinity to save their souls.

The bishop based on his calling to teach the word of God, offers to teach the three Hermits the Lord’s prayer and after several attempts and repetition, the three old men eventually masters the prayer to the extent that they could recite it themselves without his guidance. This success gives the Bishop satisfaction to have done his work as a servant of God whose duty is to teach all the people the will of God and how to pray. He therefore gets back to the vessel to continue with his journey as darkness approaches and leaves the three hermits reciting the new taught Lord ‘s Prayer by the shore.

As the vessel sailed along and as the moonlight flickered and spackled everywhere before his eyes, the Bishop who sat at the stern looking at the sea notices a white shining object  following the vessel which first appeared as a small boat, but later learnt that it was the three hermits  gliding along on the sea water who then raised their voice at ago and said that they had forgotten the Lord’s prayer that they were just taught and needed to be taught again. Bishop answered by saying that their own prayers would still be heard by God and instead the hermits should pray for all sinners. Only with this statement from the Bishop, the three hermits gets satisfied and walked back to the Island.

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Different religions have different beliefs and teaching about the supernatural powers of God as depicted by ‘The Three Hermits who survived alone, in a lonely island in a small mud hut awaiting their savior to come save their soul . This is a fiction story that Leo Tolstoy uses to teach that long prayers that people don’t understand, are not very important but rather even short prayers well understood by the person offering it reaches God just like the one the three hermits offered is answered by God. Bishops on the other hand are Gods servants who command a lot of respect from the society.

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