The Glow Worm


Our Story of the Week is a historical story from the writer Barbara Mercer.

Barbara started writing as a child. She told us that at the age of ten, her first attempt at a novel featured a hard-boiled US detective. She thought it was a disaster but her parents found it hilarious. Since then she’s had two novels published in the 1980s, Oxford Girls (1982-4) and The Lovers of David Christian (1984).

She has worked as a designer and editor in various publishing companies, with a specialism in art, photography, film and graphics. In 2015, she self-published a graphic novel, Luminous: The Haunted Life of Tintoretto. Barbara has also had two short stories read on Short Stories broadcast BBC Radio 4, Two Girls … One a Gazelle and The Wife’s Tale.

In the historical short story, The Glow Worm Barbara explores the love of a father, his religious struggle, and the hard choices he’s forced to make. If you’re interested in learning which famous author appears in this story read the behind the scenes of this engrossing story here.


Two of the younger monks came out of the little gate at dawn, running for their lives. The soldiers caught them. They ripped their woollen habits from them and put them on the fire, stripping them naked.

‘Pray to Saint Francis to get you a new shirt!’ the soldiers shouted, and then they laughed. The monks ran from them, crying and praying into the woods.

Later the monastery was a quiet place, and only the small birds and poets sang.Read more…