There was once a man who found his small cottage unsatisfactory. He felt it was too cramped and dingy and he became increasingly restless as he rocked in his chair each night and looked around and thought about it. Eventually, he sought the advice of the village elder.
“My cottage is too small and it makes me so unhappy” he complained “What do you suggest?”.
“Ah” replied the elder “What you need is a companion. Why don’t you get a chicken for company?”
The man thought about this as he wandered away and although he thought it strange, he knew the elder had the respect of the village so he borrowed a chicken and took it home.
The chicken, was noisy, however, and scratched around his home in an increasingly irritating way. Within a week, the man was back to visit the elder.
“I don’t like this chicken” he said “What can I do?”.
“Ah” said the elder “The chicken is fine. She just needs some company to settle down. Get another chicken and see how you go”.
The man was soothed by this advice and chose another chicken on the way home. But far from calming the other chicken down, this chicken seemed to rile her up. Together they clucked and scratched all day and night, disturbing the man’s sleep and sending him straight back to the elder.
“What do you mean that the second chicken will calm my chicken down?” he asked “They are both noisy and dirty together now!”
“Ah” said the elder “You need a duck to keep the chickens in check. Get one on the way home and see how you go”.
The man did as he was told and took the duck home with great expectations. He soon found, however, there was no calming down at all. The chickens pecked at the duck, the duck quacked and pecked at the man and all three animals tried to eat his lunch.
The man, increasingly exasperated, returned to the elder. “My home is being turned into a tip” he complained “The flock make noise all day and night and now they have turned on me and are trying to eat my food!”
“Not to worry” soothed the elder “You just need a dog to keep them all calm”.
The man was highly suspicious of this but duly went and got himself a dog and placed it in the small cottage.
Within minutes, his home had been almost completely destroyed. The dog chased the flock who retaliated with clucks and quacks, flying helter-skelter, upsetting the man’s furniture and destroying his temper.
The man marched the animals back to their owners, re-set his house to rights and looked around at his neat and silent little cottage with a glow of satisfaction.
“What a foolish elder” he thought as he smiled and rocked in his chair that night. “He had no idea! All I needed was a little peace and quiet”.
I don’t know where this story is from, but I love it. Any thoughts?