The Smart Brother
Narrated by Merga Debelo
Once upon a time, there was a father who had three sons. The youngest son was the cleverest and his father liked him the most, but he realised that his two other sons were jealous of him. Therefore, when he died, he left all his cattle to his two elder sons and only left one ox for the youngest son.
However the brothers were still jealous of him because he had one ox, so, one day they said, “We’ve got to slaughter your ox,” and because he was the youngest he couldn’t protest.
So he said, “Well, if that must be so, there’s nothing I can do, but please just give me the hide.”
So when they slaughtered the ox, he took the hide and went off, after drying it, and he was taking it to the market after dark, so he climbed a tree.
As it got darker a group of merchants came to sleep under the tree. So in the middle of the night he got up and started beating the hide with a stick. So when the stick cracked on the hide the merchants all thought thunder had struck the tree, so they ran off leaving their goods behind. So he picked up the goods and took them home to his brothers.
So they said, “Where did you get all these things?” and he said, “Oh, the price of hides is so expensive that I got all this for one hide.”
So they quickly slaughtered their cattle and went to the market, crying, “Hides for sale! Hides for sale!” and the people at the market said, “We don’t want your hides, you stupid people.”
They were very angry and they said to their brother, “You fooled us, so as a punishment, we’re going to burn your hut.”
The smart brother said, “If you’re going to do that, there’s nothing I can do, but please give me the ashes.”
So they burnt his hut and he took the ashes in a leather bag and went away to a rich man’s hut. And he asked the rich man if he could sleep in his hut and the rich man gave him permission.
Then, when he was going to eat, he said, “Look after this bag, it’s got a lot of valuables.”
So he had his dinner and went to sleep. In the morning he got up and started screaming, and the rich man asked him what was wrong, so he said, people had taken out all his valuables and put in ashes.
The rich man didn’t want his name and reputation to be ruined, so he said, “I’ll fill it up with anything you want,” and he filled it with wheat and tef (a grain grown in the highlands of Ethiopia) and all sorts of seeds.
So the brother went home and said, “Look, ashes have become very expensive, so look what I’ve bought.”
So the brothers went and burnt their huts as well and they took the ashes to the market and shouted, “Ashes for sale! Ashes for sale!” and everybody said, “How stupid you are, who’ll buy ashes?”
They were really furious and they decided to kill their brother. So they rolled him up in a basket and decided to throw him over the cliff.
So while they were carrying him to the cliff an old man came to them and said, “My cattle have run away, will you take them back for me?”
So they put down the basket and began running off.
The young boy called from the basket to the old man and the old man said, “What’s wrong with you?”
So the boy said, “They want me to become a king and I don’t want to be one.”
The old man said, “If I get into the basket will I become king?”
And the boy said, “Yes.”
So the old man let the boy free and got into the basket. When the brothers came back they picked up the basket and threw it over the cliff.
So the young brother took all the cattle back to his hut and his brothers said, “How did you get all this cattle?”
And he said, “There are many cattle at the bottom of the cliffs. If you jump off the cliffs in baskets, you will find some too.”
So they got into baskets and he threw them over the cliffs and he lived happily ever after.
This is meant to show that if you do bad deeds to people it will happen to you.
|< Prev||Next >|