Once upon a time there lived a man who had nearly as many children as there were sparrows in the garden. He had to work very hard all day to get them enough to eat, and was often tired and cross, and abused everything and everybody, so that people called him ' Father Grumbler.'
By-and-by he grew weary of always working, and on Sundays he lay a long while in bed, instead of going to church. Then after a time he found it dull to sit so many hours by himself, thinking of nothing but how to pay the rent that was owing, and as the tavern across the road looked bright and cheerful, he walked in one day and sat down with his friends. ' It was just to chase away Care,' he said; but when he came out, hours and hours after, Care came out with him.
Father Grumbler entered his house feeling more dismal than when he left it, for he knew that he had wasted both his time and money.
' I will go and see the Holy Man in the cave near the well,' he said to himself, ' and perhaps he can tell me why all the luck is for other people, and only misfortunes happen to me.' And he set out at once for the cave.
It was a long way off, and the road led over mountains and through valleys ; but at last he reached the cave where the Holy Man dwelt, and knocked at the door.
' Who is there?' asked a voice from within.
' It is I, Holy Man, Father Grumbler, you know, who has as many children as sparrows in the garden.'
' Well, and what is it that you want ?'