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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar"

The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar

There were once three brothers who lived in the same village. One of them was very rich. He had houses and fields and barns. He had nothing to spend his money on for he had no children and his wife was as saving and hardworking as himself. The second brother was not so rich but he, too, was prosperous. He had one son and all his thought was to accumulate money and property in order to leave his son rich. He schemed and worked and slaved and made his wife do the same.

The third brother was industrious but very poor. He worked early and late and never took a holiday. He couldn't afford to for he had a wife and ten children and only by working every hour of the day and often far into the night could he earn enough to buy food for so large a family. He was a simple man and a good man and he taught his children that the most important thing for them to do in life was to love God and be kind to their fellowmen.

Now it happened that once, when our Lord Christ was on earth testing out the hearts of men, he came in the guise of a beggar to the village where the three brothers lived. He came in a brokendown cart driving a wheezy old horse. It was cold and raining and night was falling.

The Beggar knocked at the door of the richest brother and said:

"I pray you in God's name give shelter for the night to me and my horse."

"What!" cried the rich man, "do you suppose I have nothing better to do than give shelter to such as you! Be off with you or I'll call my men and have them give you the beating you deserve!"

The Beggar left without another word and went to the house of the next brother. He was civil at least to the Beggar and pretended that he was sorry to refuse him.

"I'd accommodate you if I could," he said, "but the truth is I can't. My house isn't as big as it looks and I have many people dependent on me. Just go on a little farther and I'm sure you'll find some one who will take you in."

The Beggar turned his horse's head and went to the tiny little house where the poor brother lived with his big family.

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