My House is Too Small for Ramadan


Ramadan2014-promoWhen it’s Yom Kippur, Jewish people say, “Have an easy fast.” I’m not sure that’s appropriate when it comes to Ramadan… Anybody know?

Regardless of that, when I first began performing stories, someone asked me to create a “multicultural holiday program that will touch all the bases, but won’t offend anyone.” That year, Ramadan was in December, so I hit the jackpot. This year, Ramadan’s just begun, which means that the daily fasting is very very long.

There are many versions of “The too small house…” This one is mine.

You can hear the audio version (complete with audience participation), recorded live at the Park School in Cranston: My House is Too Small for Ramadan: Listen on iTunes

My House is Too Small for Ramadan

The man sat in the stiff-backed chair. His face was buried in his hands. “Wise woman. Wise woman,” he moaned. “My house is too small. My children are driving me crazy. My whole family has come for Ramadan. I don’t know what to do.”

The wise woman was thoughtful and then she asked, “Do you have any chickens?”

“Yes, I have chickens,” the man replied, somewhat surprised.

“Bring the chickens into the house.”

“What?” Now he was really surprised.

“Bring the chickens into the house.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“I’m sure,” she nodded.

So, he went home and brought the chickens into his house.

The next day he was back.

“Wise woman,” he said, giggling a little. “Wise woman. My house is too small. My children are driving me crazy. My whole family is visiting for Ramadan. I’ve got chickens all over the kitchen. What do I do?”

“Do you have any goats?”

“Yes, I have some goats.”

“Bring the goats into the house.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.” 

She seemed very sure. So the man went home and he brought the goats into his house.

The next day he was back.

“Wise woman, listen.” He cleared his throat. “My house is too small. My children are driving me crazy. My whole family has come for Ramadan. I have goats in the kitchen. I’ve got chickens in the bathroom. What do I do?”

“Do you have any cows?” There was no hesitation in her answer.

“Yes I have cows.” He was feeling a little angry. He thought he knew where this was going by now.

“Bring the cows into your house.”

“What?!”

“Bring the cows into your house.”

He didn’t bother to argue. He went home and brought the cows into his house.

The next day he was back.

“Wise woman. Listen.” He laughed nervously. “My house is too small. My children are driving me crazy. My whole family has come for Ramadan. I’ve got cows in my kitchen. I’ve got goats in the bathroom. I’ve got chickens in the bedrooms. What do I do?”

She paused a moment and considered. “Do you have any horses?”

The man’s eyes widened and his nostrils flared. “Yes, I have horses”

“Bring the horses into the house.”

“WHAT?”

“Bring the horses into your house.”

“Are you sure?” His voice was faltering.

“I’m sure,” she said, calmly.

“Okay,” he shrugged. “You’re the wise woman.”

So the man went home and he brought the horses into his house.

The next day he was back.

“Wise woman!” he stomped his feet and moaned. “House? Small. Children? Crazy-making. Family? Here! I’ve got horses in the kitchen. I’ve got cows in the bedrooms. I’ve got goats—I don’t know how they all fit— in the bathroom. I’ve got chickens running all over the attic! What do I do?”

The wise woman spoke quietly, “Take the cows, the goats, the horses and the chickens out of your house.”

“What?” The man was hysterical.

“Take the cows, the goats, the horses and the chickens out of your house.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, more for form’s sake.

“I’m sure,” she said, patting his hand.

So the man went home and he took the cows, the goats, the horses and the chickens out of his house.

The next day he was back. 

“Wise woman. Wise woman,” he said. His face was glowing. “My house is so big. My children are so quiet. And it is such a pleasure to spend Ramadan with my family. Thank you very much.”

She smiled. “You’re welcome.”

The End