Two Brothers (Korean Folktales – 2)


In times gone by there lived two brothtrs whose loving ways were the talk of the valley where they lived. They took care of their widowed mother and upon her death they divided everything evenly.
Together they worked diligently from sunup to sundown to produce the most they could from their fields. It never failed that come autumn they had the largest harvest in the valley.

One late autumn evening, after they had spent the afternoon sacking and dividing the last of the rice harvest, the older brother thought, “Brother has lots of expenses since he just got married a few months ago. I think l wiIl put a sack of rice in his storehouse and not tell him. I’m sure he would never accept it if I offered it to him.” So, late that night, he carried it to his brother’s storeroom.

The next day, while tidying up his own storage, the older brother was surprised to find he still had the same number of sacks of rice as he had before taking one to his brother. “That’s odd,” he said, shaking his head, “I’m sure I took a sack of rice to Brother’s house last night.” He counted his sacks again. “Well,” he said, scratching the back of his head, “I’ll just take him another one tonight.”

So, late that night. he carried a sack of rice to his brother’s house.

The next morning, he was again shocked to find he had the same number of sacks as before. He shook his head over and over and decided he would take his brother another sack that night.

After a late dinner he loaded the rice and set out for his brother’s house. It was a full moon and he could see the path quite clearly. Soon he saw a man carrying something bulky coming down the path.

“Why, Brother!” they both called out at the same time. The two brothers put down their sacks and laughed long and hearty for they both understood the mystery behind their unchanging number of sacks of rice. The younger brother thought his older brother could use the rice because he had a larger family.

Author: Suzanne Crowder Han ( 1991- Korean Folk & Fairy Tales)

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