Hermit might be a strong word.

Last year, when covid really put the boots to us and shut everything down, I finally got around to reading the book about Christopher Knight, aka the North Pond Hermit. It was a fascinating read, from start to finish. He was extremely resourceful, and admittedly a thief of epic proportions. But was he really a hermit?

Technically, a hermit is defined as "...a person who retires from society to live in solitude, usually for religious reasons". Christopher Knight certainly didn't fit this description. He was more damaged by society, and probably had undiagnosed mental issues, but by definition, not a hermit.

Well, what about 'River Dave' Lidstone?

You know, maybe not. Was he on a religious quest? Maybe, but he hasn't said so. However, he made a wonderful little life for himself in the woods, and was doing absolutely no harm of any kind to anyone. So having his home burned down suspiciously in the middle of his incarceration is no religious quest either.

Since all this came to light, people have been coming out every corner of everywhere to help this guy out. Offers of food, land, a place to live, etc. But the biggest help of all just came through from a tech billionaire that couldn't just watch all this bad stuff, happen to this otherwise good guy.

Who is the mystery billionaire bankroller?

Enter Alexander Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies. He, through a friend of River Dave, gave a personal check for $180,000 for Dave to build a new home, according to the BDN. Dave was obviously overwhelmed that complete strangers want to help him...

How can I express myself and my gratitude towards something like that? I start to tear up whenever I think about it. For an old logger who always had to work, for anyone to give you that type of money, it’s incredibly difficult for me to get my head around.

What's in store for 'River Dave' next?

Sadly, Dave thinks his life as a hermit is over. He feels maybe everything he's been hiding from his while life, is just the sort of thing he needs in it now, at 81 years old. Things like a real home, friends, family.... All things you and I take for granted. Hopefully Dave finds these things comforting after all these years.

But I still can't keep feeling like society killed a unicorn. Dave was living his best, peaceful life out in the woods, not harming anyone. Bureaucracy dragged him out of the woods, and selfishness burned down his house. All while Dave just keeps smiling and thanking everyone for all their support, with no complaints. We should all be like Dave.

Here, meet Dave yourself. He's quite the character....

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