This is a story I read and loved as a child. Since I don’t have the book, I’ve told the story as well as I could remember it, but with a few of my own embellishments.
Once upon a time a poor farmer, his wife and five children lived in an average sized but nice farmhouse. But as all of us feel dissatisfied with some part of our lot in life, the wife began to complain to her husband that their house was too small.
“My house is so small, there is no room for a sneeze!”
“Go now to the wise man on the mountain and ask him what we must do to make more room in my house!” She nagged and complained so much, that the poor farmer couldn’t listen to her any more. He left the next day to see the wise man at the top of the mountain for advice.
The first trip to the wise man.
After a day’s journey, the farmer reached the small, quaint house of the wise man and told him of the predicament at home. The wise man, thought for a few minutes.
“You are to go home and bring the chickens into the house to live,” the stunned farmer heard from the lips of the wise man.
The poor farmer bowed and thanked the wise man and returned home to relay the strange words of the wise man to his wife. Being that the order came from the wise man, the wife said nothing and complied.
Within a week, there were 10 chickens racing around the house, getting into the food, nesting and laying eggs in very inappropriate places, and leaving excrement everywhere!
After the first week the wife ran screaming from the house.
“I can not live like this!” the wife cried and ordered her husband, “You must go back now to the wise man. The chickens are everywhere! I still have no room for a sneeze!”
Second Trip to the wise man
Again the poor farmer trudged up the mountain and asked the wise man for a new solution to his wife’s problem. The wise man, thought a few minutes and said, “Leave the chickens in the house, but bring the pigs into your house from the sty to live.”
Thinking this strange the poor farmer bowed, thanked the wise man returned home and relayed the wise man’s shocking new strategy to his wife. Shaking her head, she complied, hoping that soon her house would be bigger.
The chickens continued with their previous behaviors. Now there were three fat, noisy, smelly pigs chasing around in the house, laying about on the floor, sleeping, and sticking their noses into every piece of food around.
After four days, the poor wife ran screaming from the house.
“I can not live like this!” the wife cried and ordered her husband, “You must go back to the wise man. The chickens and the pigs are everywhere! I still have no room for a sneeze!”
Third trip to the wise man
The farmer wearily meandered up the mountain, wondering what the wise man might suggest this time. The new solution was one he certainly did not expect.
The wise man told the farmer, “Now, bring your cow in from the fields, into your home to live along with the other animals.”
With great dread, the farmer hesitated to go back home, but it was, after all, what the wise man had suggested. So the cow was brought into the house.
Less than three days, the wife ran screaming from the house.
“I can not live like this! The cow switches her tail and gets it in the food, she takes up so much space in the house, she’s noisy with her mooing. The pigs are worse than they were before, noisily running around in circles chasing each other and the children and eating everything in sight! The chickens are roosting in the rafters, laying eggs all over the place, pecking around on the floor under our feet. You must go back to the wise man. The chickens and the pigs are everywhere! I still have no room for a sneeze!”
Fourth trip to the wise man
Again the poor farmer trudged more wearily up the mountain. With much anxiety he repeated his wife’s words. The wise man, thought for a moment and said, “Now go home and remove all the animals from your home. Clean out the animal waste and clean up the messes they caused.”
Could this be the answer?
The farmer relayed the message to his wife. The words were hardly out of his mouth than the animals were sent scurrying out of the house. The next two days the husband, wife and children cleaned the house, swept the floor, washed the tables and chairs and windows and invested a lot of time to make the house their home again.
A home appreciated
The wife never complained again about the size of “their” home and was so proud of their newly cleaned home, she never even wanted to move. This home was their home now. She and her husband and the children lived there for many years and thereafter always had enough room for a sneeze.
Learn the lessons from your experiences then let them go
When we set up residence in our past with the feelings, pain, disappointments, anger and fear from it, we have less room to make a new life. Empty out the old life to make room for a new life with new experiences, new confidence, new knowledge and acceptance of who we really are or can become. Make your life YOUR LIFE.