The hermit didn’t like visitors. What hermit does? Yet still they trooped to his house, knocking on his door and disturbing his solitude. Would you like to buy some cookies? Have you seen my lost dog? What’s that dragon doing on your doorstep? Argh! Why couldn’t they just leave him alone?
In the end he hired a sorceress to help him. He paid her with a dozen shed snake skins, a half-pound of spider webbing, and the husk of a shriveled potato. In return for these treasures, she bewitched the path which led to his house. Anyone who traveled upon it would be led into an eerie mist and wind up at their own doorstep instead.
However, it didn’t work out quite as well as the hermit hoped. The enchantment also worked on him, so that every time he stepped onto the path to venture out, he wound up back at his doorstep. This went on for about a month. He pulled at his hair and hollered for the sorceress, but she couldn’t hear him and she wouldn’t have been able to reach him if she did.
At last he realized he could just leave his house another way and avoid all that trouble. Of course, he soon trampled another path and the occasional straggler made their way to his door…