She complained about the neighbours’ children who were talking too loudly in the corridor between the flats. She complained that the staircase had been cleaned with a three day delay last week. She complained about the garlic smell in the house yesterday. She complained about the neighbours’ guests, who had come back home late and let the door shut loudly. She complained about a dog that had shaken the water out of its fur on a rainy day. This had left brown stains on the wall next to the door.

“I would like to tell you something”, her neighbour said to her one day. “If you continue like this for a while, you will become a hard and bitter old woman who nobody likes, who everyone avoids and to whose funeral no one will go.”

From that day on she was polite to all her neighbours.

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