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Main > Ukrainian folktales > Fairy tale "The Three Brothers"

The Three Brothers

There were, once upon a time, three brothers, and the third was a fool. And in their little garden grew golden apple-trees with golden apples, and not far off lived a hog that had taken a fancy to these apples. So the father sent his sons into the garden to guard the trees. The eldest went first, and sat and sat and watched and watched till he was tired of watching, and fell asleep. Then the hog crept in, and dug and dug till he had digged up an apple-tree, which he ate up, and then went his way. The father got up next morning and counted his apple-trees, and one of them was gone. The next night the father sent the second son to watch. He waited and watched till he also fell asleep, and the hog came again and dug up and ate another golden apple-tree and made off. The next morning the father got up again and counted his trees, and another was gone. Then the fool said, “Dad, let me go too!” But the father said, “Oh, fool, fool, wherefore shouldst thou go? Thy wise brethren have watched to no purpose, what canst thou do?”––“Hoity-toity!” said the fool; “give me a gun, and I’ll go all the same.” His father wouldn’t give him a gun, so he took it, and went to watch. He placed his gun across his knees and sat down. He sat and sat, but nothing came, nothing came; he got drowsy, was nodding off, when his gun fell off his knees, and he awoke with a start and watched more warily. At last he heard something––and there stood the hog. It began to dig up another tree, when he pulled the trigger and––bang! His brothers heard the sound, came running up, were quite amazed to see a dead boar lying there, and said, “What will become of us now?”––“Let us kill him,” said the eldest brother, “and bury him in that ditch, and say that we killed the hog.” So they took and slew him, and buried him in the ditch, and took the hog to their father, and said, “While we were watching, this hog came up and began digging, so we killed him and have brought him to you.”

One day a nobleman came by that way, and was surprised to see a beautiful elder-bush growing out of the ditch; so he went up to it, cut off a branch, made him a flute out of it, and began playing upon it.

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