Once upon a time there was a poor farmer who toiled night and day tending for his crops and animals.
He worked so hard that his knees were worn and his back was crooked.
He decided to ask his wife to help him around the farm.
'How can I possibly help you?' replied his wife. 'We have five young children to look after and I am busy enough already!'
He returned to his work tired and miserable.
One day as he was ploughing the field, he had a brilliant idea.
'Wouldn't it be good if I had a machine that could plough the field for me?' he said to the field mouse who was sitting on the fence watching him.
'That would be good' said the mouse. 'But wouldn't it cost a lot of money?'
'I suppose it would' said the farmer. 'But it would help me so much. I might even find one that helps the animals to feed themselves! That would save me so much time.'
He carried on ploughing feeling quite excited but wondering how on earth he was going to find the money to buy such a machine.
That night, on his way home late from the milking shed, a fairy godmother appeared in the lane in front of him.
'I have heard about your troubles' she said, 'and I would like to help you'.
She waved her wand and as if by magic a bag of gold coins appeared at his feet.
'Go to the next village and look for a man with an orange hat. He has such a machine and may sell it to you'.
The following day he set off for the next village. He found the man with the orange hat sitting under a tree in the shade.
He told the man his troubles and asked about the machine.
'I do have such a machine' he replied, 'but I always use it in my factory. Why on earth would you want to use it on your farm? Let me have a think about it and I will call you tomorrow'.
Many days went past but the man with the orange hat didn't call the farmer. That was because secretly he thought that the farmer was bonkers.
A week later the fairy godmother appeared to the farmer again.
'Why don't you try the village after that? There is a man with a red hat there who may help you.
So the next day he set off.
When he finally arrived, he found the man with the red hat and was delighted when he said he would help.
But the man with the red hat just stole all his money and ran off.
Some weeks after as the farmer was sitting down to eat his supper there was a knock at the door.
The farmer opened the door and saw a lady with a hat.
‘I am the lady with the pink hat' she said 'and I have heard about your problem. I will help you and you only have to give me half of the money you gave to the man with the red hat.'
'That's fantastic' said the farmer.
When the machine arrived the next day, the man asked the lady with the pink hat if she would help him get it working.
'I will come back tomorrow and help you' she replied.
But she never did. That was because secretly she didn't know how it worked.
Sadly the machine rusted away and the farmer never got it working.
One day his fairy godmother returned and said there was one last person she could think of who might help him.
‘There is a village a long way from here where you will find a man with a blue hat. He has a brand new shiny machine even better than the others. You should try him.’
So off the farmer set.
After what seemed like an age, he arrived at the village far away and found the man with the blue hat.
The man with the blue hat showed the farmer his shiny new machine and the farmer like it very much.
‘I would like it very much’ pleaded the farmer.
But the man with the blue hat looked at him and said, ‘If you give me your farm and all the crops and animals as well as the gold coins then I will give it to you.’
The farmer said he would have to go away and think about it, but on his way home he said to himself,
‘What is the use of this lovely shiny new machine if I have no farm in which to use it?’ He decided not to buy the shiny new machine.
The next day the man with the blue hat came to the farm and demanded that the farmer give him his farm and all his animals and crops.
When the farmer refused, saying he never agreed to do that, the man with the blue hat called him a liar and a cheat and went off shouting bad things about the farmer at the top of his voice so that everyone in the village heard.
That afternoon, the farmer set off miserably to feed his animals.
When he got there he was so surprised to see that all of his animals had made little machines of their own and were busily feeding themselves and each other. They had even built machines to plough the fields, water the crops and pick the harvest and were helping to feed the animals in all the other villages.
‘We’ve been doing this all along’ they said, ‘but you never asked us to help.’
The farmer went home to his wife and they all lived happily ever after.
And the moral of this story is…?
Leave it up to the animals – they know best!
Illustrations by Grace
(0) Leave a Comment Chris Nash
has been involved in education for over 20 years as a classroom practitioner, local authority advisor, senior education consultant for Steljes Ltd and currently works as a freelance consultant and lectures in ICT and Teaching and Learning at Roehampton University.
Chris has been involved in pioneering teaching and learning through handheld devices since 2002 and has a passion for innovating with new technologies along with a deep pedagogical understanding of how these technologies can have a profound impact on the way we teach and learn.