The Three Answers: A Story about Differences

July 24, 2019
Today, we bring you the story of a couple who tried to find solutions to their problems by asking neighbors who experienced different situations. The good thing is that, in the end, they learned more than they expected.

This story about differences is an adaptation of a story by Leo Tolstoy. Once upon a time, there was a town where there were harsh winters with daily snowfalls and temperatures that made all the residents shiver.

In that place lived a couple who had no children. The two of them felt very cold all the time, and no matter how warm they were, they rarely ever accumulated enough heat to feel comfortable. Both were fed up with this situation, but they didn’t know what to do about it.

On the other hand, one of their neighbors had a large house and a huge family. He never complained about the cold and, on the contrary, enjoyed warm evenings during winter. When they noticed this, they couldn’t help but wonder why their neighbor didn’t feel cold like they did.

This story about differences tells that their neighbor responded kindly. Since it was very cold, he’d taken the precaution of reinforcing the walls and ceilings with a very warm kind of wood. Maybe that could also work for them.

Changing the house

The couple realized that their walls and ceilings were very fragile. That being said, they proceeded to save money for a good while until they had enough to reinforce their house with beautiful, warm wood.

Summer came and they began to feel unbearable heat. The only way to find relief was by leaving the house because the interior was basically an oven. They thought that maybe that was the price they had to pay to have a warm house during the winter.

However, this story about differences tells that, when winter came, they still didn’t feel the warmth they were expecting. Perhaps they weren’t shivering as they once were, but they were still cold. Upset with the situation, they went over to their neighbor’s house to get an answer.

A cabin covered in snow, just as the one in the story about differences.

A second answer

The couple talked about their situation with their neighbors. The neighbor thought for a second and told them that perhaps what they needed was a good stove. Maybe that way they could remove the reinforcing logs and be cooler during summer without having to endure the harsh cold in the winter.

The husband saw his neighbor’s stove and made sure to remember exactly how it looked so that he could buy the same one. It was huge and fabulous and gave off very nice heat. What the neighbor had told them was completely reasonable. Buying the same stove was for sure going to solve their problem.

This story about differences tells that, once again, the couple had to save up for a long time. In the end, they managed to buy a stove as big as their neighbor’s. That way, they removed the reinforcements and stacked them in their patio. In the following winter, for the first time, they didn’t feel cold due to all of the stored wood they had to burn.

Piles of wood.

A story about differences

Some time passed and summer arrived. As planned, the house felt fresh and comfortable. The couple was finally happy. Before the winter arrived, they stocked a good quantity of wood. After all, they needed to feed their stove constantly due to its huge size.

Then, winter came along with a new disappointment. The wood they had piled up only lasted for a couple of weeks. The husband then took some logs from the walls and burned them on the stove. He repeated the process several times. This story about differences tells that, evidently, the more wood they removed, the colder they felt.

There came a time when one of their walls was practically all gone. And they continued with the roof. The neighbor, who observed the situation, worried about the couple and went to talk to them. He explained that there was no point in destroying the house to feed the stove. And if they were to destroy their roof, the stove wasn’t going to be able to stop them from freezing.

The couple felt upset. They had followed their neighbor’s advice and failed to solve their problems. What was he going to advise them now? The neighbor then gave them a third response. His house was big and had large windows. That’s why they didn’t feel hot during the summer, and that’s also why he needed a large stove. And that’s where their differences relied on: they had borrowed solutions that were meant to solve other problems.

  • Tolstoi, L. N., & Arrizabalaga, D. N. (1907). Cuentos populares. Garnier.