Jean Giono, the author of the short story upon which the movie is based, wrote the story after American editors in 1953 asked him to write a few pages about an unforgettable character. They intended him to write about a real unforgettable character, but he created the fictional Elezeard Bouffier. When the editors objected that no Bouffier had died in Banon, he donated the story to all humanity. It was soon after published by Vogue in 1954. Many people have assumed that Bouffier is a real person.