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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Best Wish - The Story of Three Brothers and an Angel"

The Best Wish - The Story of Three Brothers and an Angel

There were once three brothers whose only possession was a pear tree. They took turns guarding it. That is to say while two of them went to work the third stayed at home to see that no harm came to the pear tree.

Now it happened that an Angel from heaven was sent down to test the hearts of the three brothers. The Angel took the form of a beggar and approaching the pear tree on a day when the oldest brother was guarding it, he held out his hand and said:

"In heaven's name, brother, give me a ripe pear."

The oldest brother at once handed him a pear, saying:

"This one I can give you because it is mine, but none of the others because they belong to my brothers."

The Angel thanked him and departed.

The next day when the second brother was on guard he returned in the same guise and again begged the charity of a ripe pear.

"Take this one," the second brother said. "It is mine and I can give it away. I can't give away any of the others because they belong to my brothers."

The Angel thanked the second brother and departed.

The third day he had exactly the same experience with the youngest brother.

On the following day the Angel, in the guise of a monk, came to the brothers' house very early while they were still all at home.

"My sons," he said, "come with me and perhaps I can find you something better to do than guard a single pear tree."

The brothers agreed and they all started out together. After walking some time they came to the banks of a broad deep river.

"My son," the Angel said, addressing the oldest brother, "if I were to grant you one wish, what you ask?"

"I'd be happy," the oldest brother said, "if all this water was turned into wine and belonged to me."

The Angel lifted his staff and made the sign of the cross and lo! the water became wine from great wine-presses. At once numbers of casks appeared and men filling them and rolling them about. A huge industry sprang up with sheds and storehouses and wagons and men running hither and thither and addressing the oldest brother respectfully as "Master!

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