A shapeless, senseless clamor. An old man starts playing the fiddle; his wife, in self-defense, bangs on a pot; the farm animals flee: so where will the story go? Well, the lot of them find themselves outside in a storm, there's some to-do about lightning striking a tree (i.e., don't huddle there), the old couple embrace and return home. . . only to find that the animals have preceded them. So now that we're back at the beginning, what about the fiddle-scraping and pot-banging? The old man, it turns out, actually learns to play the fiddle: stealing out of bed at night, he mimics the sounds of crickets and mice and tree-toads--and so, ostensibly, makes the animals happy. The point, we would have thought, would have been to play sweet notes instead of sour ones; but in this artificial reading-exercise you never can be certain.