If the end were a number, he thinks it would be the number three. There is a sense of finality he gets when he does things in threes, as if it the number could magically tie up all loose ends.
He takes care of sheep condemned to die with three staffs and three shepherds, and for a good long month, he waits for the sheep to show some gratitude, or even an inkling of thankfulness. Instead, they constantly wailed hate and anger towards him, so much so that it became tiring.
So he fires all three of his hired hands, breaks his three staffs, and waits for the sheep to die in one of three different ways. And for his efforts, the leftover sheep pay him the same amount as it costs to buy a slave, so in turn, he pretends to be a fool. He hides the money in the hands of a potter and pretends that he’s not angry, because as long as he finishes his own work, what the sheep do doesn’t matter.