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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Vilas' Spring - The Story of the Brother Who Knew that Good was Stronger than Evil"

The Vilas' Spring - The Story of the Brother Who Knew that Good was Stronger than Evil

There was once a rich man who had two sons. The older son was overbearing, greedy, and covetous. He was dishonest, too, and thought nothing of taking things that belonged to others. The younger brother was gentle and kind. He was always ready to share what he had and he was never known to cheat or to steal.

"He's little better than a fool!" the older brother used to say of him scornfully.

When the brothers grew to manhood the old father died leaving directions that they divide his wealth between them, share and share alike.

"Nonsense!" the older brother said. "That fool would only squander his inheritance! To every poor beggar that comes along he'd give an alms until soon my poor father's savings would be all gone! No! I'll give him three golden ducats and a horse and tell him to get out and if he makes a fuss I won't give him that much!"

So he said to his younger brother:

"You're a fool and you oughtn't to have a penny from our father's estate. However, I'll give you three golden ducats and a horse on condition that you clear out and never come back."

"Brother," the younger one said quietly, "you are doing me a wrong."

"What if I am?" sneered the older. "Wrong is stronger than Right just as I am stronger than you. Be off with you now or I'll take from you even these three golden ducats and the horse!"

Without another word the younger brother mounted the horse and rode away.

Time went by and at last the brothers chanced to meet on the highway.

"God bless you, brother!" the younger one said.

"Don't you go God-blessing me, you fool!" the older one shouted. "It isn't God who is powerful in this world but the Devil!"

"No, brother," the other said, "you are wrong. God is stronger than the Devil just as Good is stronger than Evil."

"Are you sure of that?"

"Yes, brother, I'm sure."

"Well, then, let us make a wager. I'll wager you a golden ducat that Evil is stronger than Good and we'll let the first man we meet on this road decide which of us is right. Do you agree?

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