Early one morning Antipka was sitting sadly on the steps of his little wooden house, sunk in thought. He had plenty to be happy about: a cosy home which he had built himself, a nice plot of ground and a good crop of cabbages and sunflowers. And yet one thing made him miserable; he had married a bad-tempered woman. When he first knew her she seemed such a sweet young girl and then, immediately after the wedding, she became spiteful and irritable, and now Antipka’s life was absolute misery.
If he sat down on a chair before his wife had sat down it was sure to be the chair that she was foing to sit on; if he opened a window to let in a cool breeze she was sure to shut it again because it was so cold; and if he closed a window to keep out the icy wind she was sure t open it again because the room was so stuffy. He couldn’t do anything right.
Only this morning at breakfast she had asked him if he wanted another slice of black bread. He knew that if he said “yes” she would call him a greedy pig, and if he said “no” she would accuse him of not liking her baking, and so he had thought carefully before replying. His silence had annoyed her so much that she had broken the milk jug over his head, and he could still feel the bump. Life was becoming very difficult.
Just at the moment his wife busted out on the steps and stood there glaring down at him, her hands on her hips.
“Here’s a fine thing!” she stormed. “You sit out here day-dreaming while I have to slave away indoors. I have to do all the hard work while you have all the fun. Who’s going to do the washing-up and all the housework. I want to know? And who’s going to pick the cranberries for the jam making? You haven’t given it a thought…”