Translated from the French. Alphonse Daudet, working as a journalist in Paris, moved to Provence where he lived in an old windmill. His colleagues predicted this would be a failure and he would soon be back. He sent them an account of his arrival at the mill and it was published and really caught on with the public. So he wrote other stories to follow; these were stories about his neighbours or stories he heard in the neighbourhood and reproduced second hand. The have become a permanent feature in French literature.