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Housing Problem by Henry Kuttner

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"Housing Problem" is a 1944 speculative fiction short story by Henry Kuttner. It is about a couple who rent a room to a man with a very strange bird cage.

Feeling a Wee Bit Irish

Did you ever see the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People? It is an old Disney movie about leprechauns, and I couldn’t help but think about it while I was reading this amusing story. "Housing Problem" is better than the movie – especially with the awesome creepy tone it invokes with the covered bird cage! Good stuff, and maybe it will get you more in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day.

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

86/365 Leprechaun-on-leprechaun crime by Saintbridge, CC 2.0 license

Eddie and Jackie are going through a bit of a financial crunch, so they have recently rented out a room in their house. It is a small town, so they are grateful to have a tenant – even if it is the crusty old Mr. Henchard. No problem, they can deal with his gruff personality. The difficult part, however, is dealing with the covered bird cage he keeps in his room – the one with all the strange sounds coming from it! They are not prying people, they are just… concerned, so when Mr. Henchard leaves for a few days they have their chance – but will they be able to handle what they find?

Interesting Tidbits About This Story:

  • Page Count: 17
  • Word Count: 5,489
  • Special thanks to Free SF Reader for pointing out this story.

Where You Can Find Housing Problem:

  • This story was first published in the October 1944 issue of Charm magazine.
  • You can read "Housing Problem" online for free at
  • It is also included in the Henry Kuttner anthology of short stories The Last Mimzy: Stories.

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

If you liked "Housing Problem" then you will probably also enjoy “The Faery Handbag” by Kelly Link – the award winning story about a girl whose grandmother has a handbag with a whole village of fairies in it.