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A Big Quiet House

A Yiddish Folktale from Eastern Europe

There was once a man who wished his small, noisy house was larger and quieter. He went to the wise old woman of the town and explained his need. She said, "I can solve your problem. Just do as I say."

The man agreed.

"If you have a chicken, some sheep, a horse, and a cow," she said, "bring them into the house with you."

"That's a silly thing to do," thought the old man. But he did it anyway. Now his house was already small, and with all those animals in it, there was no room at all. He returned to the old woman and cried, "I need more room! The animals are so noisy I can't think!"

"Take all those animals out of your dwelling," she replied.

When he had put all the animals comfortably back in the barn, the man went into his house. To his amazement, it suddenly looked remarkably bigger! Without the animals inside, his house was now quiet too!

A picture book version of this plot, A Big Quiet House by Heather Forest is available from August House Publishers.

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