Every boy and girl has a farm when they are born. It is a beautiful place, their very own, where they can play and have fun and forget about the world outside. This is a story about three little boys, but it could just as well have been three little girls, or a mix of both. This is the story of those three boys and their farms.
The first little boy was born and he had a farm. He played with it and was happy as he started to grow up. He had fun with his animals: there was a wild horse, a raging cow and flocks of beautiful birds of all colors. The little boy thought: "this is the most wonderful place of all!" But one day, as he was growing up, someone came to visit him on his farm. It was an older lad, and he showed the little boy his animals, who were calmer and seemed to be better tamed. And so the boy thought: "I don't want to look silly with my wild animals, I should do the same". So he tamed his animals and the horse became a little quieter, the cow a little calmer and the birds a little less colorful. "There" said the boy "now I won't stand out".
And so he grew up some more, until one day more people came to visit him on his farm. They were all well dressed, and the little boy felt a bit scared, but they smiled at him and told him they were from a school, and would show him how to tame his animals efficiently so that he could ride his horse and milk his cow and gather the eggs from his birds. Not quite knowing what else to do, and not really having a choice, the little boy let them show him. And so the horse became even quieter, the cow even calmer and the birds even less colorful. The boy would have noticed, but his mind was elsewhere, busy with learning all the things that the school people wanted to teach him.
And so he grew up still more, until one day even more people came to visit him. They were even better dressed than the school people and the boy, not so little any more, was scared once again. They didn't smile as much, but told him that they were from the working world and that he had to follow them away. Not quite knowing what else to do, and having no other choice, the boy went with them. He was gone for such a long time that the animals grew sad. He hardly ever came by his farm any more, and so they became sleepy. The horse and the cow stood still, and the birds became grey like pigeons. One night, after the boy had been gone for so long that the animals could hardly remember his face, the horse stopped moving completely. It stood so still that it turned to stone. The next day the boy did come by. He saw his stone horse but didn't cry; he was a grown man now, and didn't care. He was well dressed, like everyone else. After he left, the other animals, having seen his reaction, gave up hope and turned to stone as well. The grown man remained gone for so long that the grass on his farm froze over, and everything became awfully cold. The man shivered inside but didn't care: he was so grown up now that he had a little boy of his own to take care of.
And so the second little boy was born and had a farm. He played with it and was happy as he started to grow up. He had the same animals as his Dad had had, except that these were his own: a wild horse, a raging cow and flocks of beautiful colored birds. The second little boy thought: "This is the most wonderful place of all!" One day though, like his Dad before him, he began to have people visit him on his farm. He was a bit scared and didn't know what to do, so he got the idea of talking with his Dad and taking a look at his father's farm to see how he had managed things. When he got there, he was horrified: everything was frozen over and quiet, and all the animals had turned to stone! "How awful!" the little boy cried "I'll never let this happen to my farm!"
And so he grew up some more, until one day the people from the school came to visit him, like they had visited his Dad. They talked to him in the same nice way, and he followed them. His mind however was always on his farm. He listened to them by day and, like with his Dad, his animals became quieter and tamer. By night though, he would sneak back onto the pastures of his farm and play with his animals until they were happy and wild again. The people from the school didn't understand: how could he learn from them and still have such a wild, un-tamed farm? They started to get angry with him, and explained to him that this wasn't how he was supposed to do things, but the little boy (who wasn't so little any more) didn't care.
And so he grew up still more, until one day the serious people from the working world came to visit him. They noticed his wild farm and were surprised, but still told him that he had to come with them. The young lad, who wasn't little at all any more, laughed at them and told them to go away. He had his farm. And so the serious people went away. The young man was happy, and kept playing in his fields. He could now spend his days and his nights there, and it was as wild as ever. "How wonderful!" he sang.
But, as he wasn't paying attention, the gates to the pastures slowly creaked shut around him. The grass slowly grew tall, and snaked around his legs, and kept him there. It happened too slowly for him to notice, but the young man eventually became trapped on his own farm. He romped around and was happy inside, but to the other people around him he began to fade away. Eventually the boy noticed how alone he was, and was sad. He looked back at his farm but there were only animals whom he couldn't talk to. He looked around for the serious people but they were long gone. And so the young man continued to play, half-heartedly, until one day a young lady came along. Her farm was reasonably wild, even though she had followed the serious people when she was younger. They talked and laughed, and liked each other a great lot.
And so the third little boy was born and had a farm. He played with it and was happy as he started to grow up. His animals were as wild as his Dad's had been, horse cow and birds. When the little boy had his first visits on his farm, he decided to talk to his Dad to see how his father had managed his pastures. The older man told him all about how his own father had let his farm freeze over, and proudly showed him his wild animals. The little boy was delighted, and the older man was just as happy to finally have someone to play with. And so for a time the two played together with their animals all day, having a whole lot of fun.
But one day the school people came to talk to the little boy, who, like his Dad before him, was scared by them. Not knowing what else to do, and not really having a choice, he followed them. He listened to what they told him by day, and by night when he got home his Dad would be waiting on his farm with the animals, and they would play together. But the little boy's animals were becoming a bit quieter than his Dad's, and the older man was sad to see this. The boy however saw his father's animals, as wild as ever, and didn't know what to feel. "Why hasn't my father tamed his horse and cow and birds?" He wondered. The two would still play together but not as long and not as often.
One day the serious people came for the boy and, although he was scared, he followed them. His animals became even quieter but he still tended to them, not wanting to have them turn to stone like he had heard about. The old man was sad when he saw his son's animals quiet down, because he knew they wouldn't be able to play together any more. He was trapped and his own farm, and began to fade again, until one day he disappeared altogether. The boy, now a young man, looked all around for his father but couldn't find him anywhere. The young man cried and thought about what to do. Should he let his animals roam free and risk becoming trapped in his pastures like his Dad? Or should he leave them aside for a while and let them turn to stone? He turned around in bed every night for months as he thought it over in his mind.
Finally, he decided to start by sitting down and writing his thoughts out as a fable.