The Hermit and the Well is a story is based on an actual event in Thich Nhat Hanh's life.
As a young boy, amidst the suffering and destruction that the war had brought to Vietnam, Hanh had a profound transformative experience after seeing a reproduction of a Buddha statue on the cover of a magazine. Moved by the Buddha's serene expression and peaceful appearance, he decided to become a monk. Through his ensuing school years, his interest and commitment deepened and led to visits of temples and other places of worship including a class fieldtrip to a hermit living in the mountains.
Thich Nhat Hanh entered a Buddhist monastery at age 14.