The Two Brotherspage 1 / 20
Once upon a time there were two brothers, the one rich and the other poor. The rich brother was a goldsmith, and a wicked man at heart; the poor one supported himself by broom-making, and was good and upright.
The poor brother had two children, twin boys, as like one another as two peas. These children ran backwards and forwards between their home and their rich uncle's house, and were often fed on the scraps from his table. It happened that, one day, the poor man having gone into the wood to gather brushwood, saw a bird, all of gold, and more beautiful than any he had ever seen before. He threw a small stone at it and hit it, but only one gold feather fell to the ground, and the bird flew away. He picked up the feather and took it to his brother, who examined it well, and then said "It is pure gold," and gave him a large sum of money for it.
The next morning, the same bird flew past him, as he was cutting off some of the upper branches of a birch-tree, and making further search, he came upon a nest in which lay a golden egg. He carried home the egg and showed it to his brother, who again said, "It is pure gold," and gave him its worth in money. Presently the goldsmith said, "I should very much like to have the bird itself." So the poor man went again to the wood, and this time he saw the bird sitting on the tree. He threw a stone at it, and the bird fell. He picked it up and took it to his brother, who gave him a large heap of money for it, and he returned home rejoicing. "I shall get on a bit now," thought the poor broom-maker.
The goldsmith, as will be seen, was clever and crafty, and he knew quite well what sort of a bird it was of which he had gained possession. He called his wife and said to her, "Roast this bird for me, and see that no part of it is lost; when it is ready I wish to eat it quite alone." For the bird was no ordinary bird, but of such a wonderful kind, that anyone who had eaten its heart and liver, found a gold piece every morning under his pillow. The wife prepared the bird and put it on the spit to roast. Now it happened that while the bird was still before the fire, and the wife was absent from the kitchen looking after other work, the two poor broom-maker's children ran in. They went up to the hearth and began turning the spit; just then two small pieces fell from the bird into the dripping-pan. "Let us eat those two bits," said one of them, "I am so hungry, and nobody will miss them," and so the children ate them. At that moment the wife returned, and seeing that they were eating something, asked them what it was.