Sayings & Stories of the Desert Fathers
There were two old men who dwelt together for many years and who never quarreled.
Then one said to the other:
“Let us pick a quarrel with each other like other men do.”
“I do not know how quarrels arise,” answered his companion.
So the other said to him:
“Look, I will put a brick down here between us and I will say ‘This is mine.’ Then you can say ‘No it is not, it is mine.’ Then we will be able to have a quarrel.”
So they placed the brick between them and the first one said:
“This is mine.”
His companion answered him:
“This is not so, for it is mine.”
To this, the first one said:
“If it is so and the brick is yours, then take it and go your way.”
And so they were not able to have a quarrel.