When Simplicissimus is young, he takes over shepherding for his father. He's proud of the position but doesn't always understand everything that comes along with it. His father explains what a wolf is to him, saying:
"Daddy, tell me how a wolf looks: for such I never saw yet."
"O thou silly blockhead," quoth he, "all thy life long wilt thou be a fool: thou art already a great looby and yet knowest not what a four-legged rogue a wolf is." And more lessons did he give me, and at last grew angry and went away, as bethinking him that my thick wit could not comprehend his nice instruction.
This explanation leads Simplicissimus to believe soldiers mounted on horses are wolves. He watches them destroy his farm and then flees from his family. He ends up living in the woods with a hermit.
Though the man seems inclined to turn him away at first, he decides not to. Simplicissimus stays with him for two years and learns many lessons about the world. He says:
Now though of a certainty it must have vexed him greatly to endure my troublesome presence, yet did he resolve to suffer me to be with him; and that more to instruct me in the Christian religion, than because he would have my service in his approaching old age: yet was this his greatest anxiety, lest my tender youth should not endure for long such a hard way of living as was his.
He thinks of the hermit throughout his life, even when he isn't living by the lessons he taught him. Later, after the hermit dies, Simplicissimus is captured and led before a high-ranking official. He believes he'll be killed or tortured.
When the priest introduces Simplicissimus to the Governor of Hanau, he explains that Simplicissimus had a relationship with the hermit. Simplicissimus recalls:
Furthermore, he related how the hermit had found all his joy in me because, as he often said, I was so like in face to his dear lady, and that he had often marvelled at my steadfastness and unchangeable will to remain with him, as also at many other virtues which he praised in me.
Governor Ramsay was the hermit's brother-in-law and this warms him to the narrator. Simplicissimus stays and moves through the Governor's social circles. His face reminds the man of his beloved sister and brother-in-law. If...
(The entire section is 612 words.)