The farmer’s wife wanted to make noodles: long, straight, eggy noodles. But she found that her kitchen was too small for the long noodles and she was exasperated as she went in search of the farmer. “Dear,” he sighed, running his calloused hands through the sparse hair on the back of his head, “you know we don’t have the funds to enlarge the kitchen.”
“It’s the whole house,” she shrilled. “I can hardly move in the bedroom either, and you know how it is when your cousin comes over with his wife and ten children! People sitting on the floor!”
“I will go see Neighbor Wiseman today,” he promised wearily. Neighbor Wiseman was old enough to have seen most any trouble you could bring to him, so old that he usually suggested startlingly simple solutions. There was nothing complicated or expensive about his advice and the farmer trusted him. After unloading his problem he waited patiently while Neighbor Wiseman stared at the clouds.
“Errhrmm,” Wiseman cleared his throat and looked around vaguely for the farmer. “What you need to do is bring the chickens inside.” The farmer was a little surprised but he remembered how well he had been served by Neighbor Wiseman’s insights in the past.
The chickens pecked under the table, messed a few times, even laid surprise eggs, but his wife was still unhappy. The old man kept suggesting that they bring more animals inside until there was a goat eating the curtains, a dog napping on the bed, and a cow parked smack in the doorway looking out over the porch.
The farmer had to crawl out of a window to get out. “This is terrible advice! Our house is too small for all these animals and it is not helping!”
Neighbor Wiseman smiled and suggested one more change, “Ask your cousin and his family over for dinner.”
“We would love to,” the farmer said, “but they wouldn’t even be able to get inside the door!”
“You are ready to take out the animals,” Wiseman observed sagely. So they did. They pushed that lazy cow off the porch, banished the curtain-eating goat, woke the annoying dog, and shooed the constantly scratching chickens out to the yard. The farmer’s wife looked around her home and and smiled.
“I never knew how big our house is! And look at all these eggs!” Singing a cheerful little ditty, she got out her mixing bowl and some flour and started to make noodles.
So that is my paraphrase of a story I read with Olivia. It spoke to me in an every-day-ish way. I am currently the farmer’s wife sorting out the superfluous things that are crowding my house. It is one of my February goals, along with writing every day, so you can be quite sure you will hear more about it.
I have now removed several cattle from the boys’ bedroom and the traces of an annoying dog who spent time in the school room. Yesterday the flock of chickens in my reading room went to their proper roosts and now it is a restful room again.
Today? I will probably just make noodles.