Thomas Hardy is probably best known for his novels such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles, but he also wrote a great number of short stories. Many of them were based on stories told by people in the villages around where he lived in the south of England.
People are the same, whether they live in the town or the country, today or a hundred years ago.
From his hut a young shepherd boy watches, wide-eyed and afraid, a secret meeting between a woman and a man who is not her husband.
A young teacher, going home to marry a much older man, has a moment of madness that will change her life.
But we begin with a knock on the door at a lonely cottage. Inside, all is bright and cheerful, with music and dancing, and people enjoying themselves. Outside, the rain beats down, and the stranger following the footpath across the wild hills stares at the lighted windows. Should he go on, or can he stop for a while, to find rest and food and a seat by a warm fire?