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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden"

The Little Lame Fox - The Story of the Youngest Brother Who Found the Magic Grape-Vine and Married the Golden Maiden

There was once a wealthy farmer who had three sons. The oldest was a selfish overbearing fellow. The second was a weak chap who always did everything his brother suggested. The youngest whose name was Janko was not as bright and clever as his brothers but he was honest and, moreover, he had a good heart and in this world a good heart, you know, is more likely to bring its owner happiness than wicked brains.

"That booby!" the oldest brother would say whenever he saw Janko. And the second would snicker and repeat the ugly word, "Booby!"

The father was proud of his three sons and happy to see them grow up strong and healthy.

"They're good boys," he'd say to himself, "and I'm a fortunate father."

Now there was one very curious thing about this farmer that nobody understood. One of his eyes was always laughing and the other was always weeping.

"What's the matter with your father's eyes?" people used to ask the sons.

The sons didn't know any more than any one else. One day they were in the garden discussing the matter among themselves.

"Why don't we just go and ask him?" Janko suggested.

"If anybody is to ask him, I will!" declared the oldest brother importantly.

So he went indoors to his father and said:

"Father, people are forever talking about your eyes. Now I wish you would tell me why one of them is always laughing and the other always weeping."

"My eyes, indeed!" cried the farmer, and in a rage he snatched up a knife and hurled it straight at his son. The young man dodged aside and fled and the knife stuck in the door jamb.

All out of breath the oldest brother returned to the others but of course he was ashamed to tell them what had happened. So he said to them:

"If you want to know what's the matter with father's eyes, you'll have to ask him yourselves."

So the second brother went in to the farmer and he had exactly the same experience. When he came out he gave his older brother a wink and said to Janko:

"Now it is your turn, Booby. Father is waiting for you.

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