Once upon a time… there was a monk who decided to gather his few belongings and go on a trip. to visit his old master, who was very old, indeed! After various days of travel through forests and fields without having come upon any village nor dwelling, his provisions where at an end when he finally saw a small ramshackle hut in the distance and since there was a cow on the meadow in front of it, he imagined that it must be inhibited and decided to ask for some food and shelter for the night. He was greeted by a haggard farmer and his wife, who happily invited him inside their hut and shared some milk, cheese and stale bread with him. Glad nonetheless to have had a meal, the monk thanked the friendly couple and asked them how they fared in life.
“We have this old cow you saw outside and she gives us milk… we can make some cheese of it and trade it with some bread, so we can survive.” the farmer told him. In the mean time his wife had prepared the bed for him and soon they all went to sleep. The next morning, while they were having milk, cheese and stale bread again for breakfast, the monk spoke: “I was thinking the whole night what I could do for you to thank you for your hospitality, and I came up with this conclusion and this is my advice: You should kill the cow as soon as possible.” And with that said, he thanked the battled farmer and his wife again, wished them farewell and went on his way. The two of them looked at each other in shock… this was the last advice they would have expected but since they held monks in great regard they reluctantly did as he had advised them to do and slayed the cow.
One year passes and the same monk was on his way back from visiting his master when he decided to check on the friendly couple who had given him food and shelter the year before. As he came to the spot where the crumbling hut had been, instead he saw a small, but very pretty farm with a few cows and two pigs and even some chickens running around between them on the meadow, also a small barn had been built. When the monk approached to greet the farmer, the farmer immediately recognized him and called his wife to set the table for them. They were both very excited and while they were consuming a simple, but excellent meal the farmer told him: “Indeed you gave us the best advice! After we slayed and butchered the cow, I decided to go to the market, to sell the meat we wouldn’t keep for ourselves and there I met new people and new occasions which helped us to improve our existence and to strive a bit more everyday! The poor old cow with her milk allowed us to survive somehow, but now we are finally living for meal!”