Do the Little Extra

There is an old folk tale about someone whose house was very crowded. Now only did he have is wife, daughters and sons still living with him but also their spouses. He was a loving and caring man and he knew times were hard, but pretty soon the noise and bustle were wearing him down, to say nothing of trying to make peace between everyone. Just getting breakfast together for the whole family was practically a military campaign! He had to wake up early with his wife and make sure everyone had what he or she liked, that it was cooked properly, served properly, and the person’s whose turn it was really washed the dishes.

But it was so tiring! He and his wife really did love everyone, but it was just getting to be too much. So one day his wife suggested that he ask the local wise man for advice and, galvanized by the idea, the weary homeowner went there that same afternoon.

However, the wise man’s advice seemed to make little sense. “What you need to do,” he said, “is to finish fixing up the attic and make take that shed near you house, attach it to the house, make it waterproof and safe enough for someone to sleep there, and put a bed in it. Then you invite your two cousins and put them in the new shed. Then see if your brother and his wife can move into the attic.”

Even though he trusted the wise man, the kind man didn’t see how this would help.  But he did it, and pretty soon he did almost nothing but cook for people, tell people to clean up after themselves and charge rent. This went on for three more months! At the end of his patience, the kind man sought advice again. 

He was told, “Tell your cousins and your brother to go home. When they have left, tell your eldest daughter and eldest son to take their spouses and live in the attic and the new shed.” The kind man did so, and the next day he returned. “Oh! it is so much easier now!” Thank you!”

The point of this story is: when you have something to do, do a little extra. Then, when you only have to do the work you usually do, it will be so much easier.


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