A widow was served by maidens awakened by a rooster. They killed the rooster. The widow then woke them earlier.
Be careful what you ask for.
A neat Widow had two Maidens to wait on her. She woke them every morning when the cock crowed. The Maidens resolved the kill the cock who roused their mistress so early. They did this, but found matters worse. No longer able to tell time from the cock, the Widow woke them for work in the middle of the night.
A Widow who was fond of cleaning had two little Maidens to wait on her. She was in the habit of waking them early in the morning, at cockcrow. The Maidens, aggravated by such excessive labor, resolved to kill the cock who roused their mistress so early. When they had done this, they found that they had only prepared for themselves greater troubles, for their mistress, no longer hearing the hour from the cock, woke them up to their work in the middle of the night.
Samuel Croxall (The Old Woman and her Maids)
A CERTAIN old Woman had several Maids whom she used to call up to their work, every morning at the crowing of the Cock. The Benches, who found it grievous to have their sweet sleep disturbed so early, combined together and killed the Cock, thinking that, when the alarm was gone, they might enjoy themselves in their warm beds a little longer. The old Woman, grieved for the loss of her Cock, and having, by some means or other discovered the whole plot, was resolved to be even with them; for, from that time, she obliged them to rise constantly at midnight.
It can never be expected that things should be, in all respects, agreeable to our wishes; and if they are not very bad indeed, we ought in many cases to be contented with them; lest when, through impatience, we precipitately quit our present condition of life, we may to our sorrow find, with the old saying, that seldom comes a better. Before we attempt any alteration of moment, we should be certain what state it will produce: for, when things are already bad, to make them worse by trying experiments, is an argument of great weakness and folly, and is sure to be attended with a too late repentance. Grievances, if really such, ought by all means to be redressed, provided we can be assured of doing it with success: but we had better, at any time, bear with some inconvenience, than make our condition worse, by attempting to mend it.
Thomas Bewick (The Old Woman and Her Maids)
An Old Woman, who had several Maid Servants, used to call them up to their work at the crowing of the Cock. The damsels, not liking to have their sweet slumbers disturbed so early, combined together, and killed the Cock, thinking they might then enjoy their warm beds a little longer. But in this they found themselves mistaken, for the Old Woman, having lost her unerring guide, from that time roused them out of their beds whenever she awoke, although it might be at midnight.
We govern our lives by imagination rather than by judgment, mistaking the reason of things, and imputing the issue of them to wrong causes. We should endeavour to content ourselves in our present station, if it be not very bad indeed, for it seldom happens that every thing can be in all respects agreeable to our wishes. When we give full scope to the impatience of our tempers, and quit our present condition in life, we often find we have not changed for the better; but we are too fond of carving out our fortunes for ourselves, and wish to remove this or that obstacle which we imagine stands between us and our felicity: then, too late, we see how greatly we are mistaken in our notions, when we feel we have changed for the worse. Before we attempt any alteration of moment, we should, if possible, ascertain what state it will produce, and not suffer infirmity of temper to embitter our lives; but, above all, we should never aim at mending our fortunes by fraud and violence.
JBR Collection (The Old Woman and Her Maids)
A certain Old Woman had several Maids, whom she used to call to their work every morning at the crowing of the Cock. The Maids, finding it grievous to have their sweet sleep disturbed so early, killed the Cock, thinking when he was quiet they should enjoy their warm beds a little longer. The Old Woman, vexed at the loss of the Cock, and suspecting them to be concerned in it, from that time made them rise soon after midnight.
Crane Poetry Visual
Two Maids killed the Rooster whose warning
Awoke them too soon every morning.
But small were their gains,
For their Mistress took pains
To rouse them herself without warning.
Laziness is its own punishment.
Gherardo Image from 1480
Gallus et Ancillae
Anus quaedam domi habebat complures ancillas quas quotidie, antequam lucesceret, ad galli gallinacei (quem domi alebat) cantum excitabat ad opus. Ancillae tandem, quotidiani negotii commotae taedio, gallum obtruncant, sperantes iam, necato illo, sese in medios dormituras dies. Sed haec spes miseras frustrata est. Hera enim, ut interemptum gallum rescivit, ancillas intempesta nocte surgere deinceps iubet.