World of Tales
Stories for children, folktales, fairy tales and fables from around the world

The two brothers and the white-bearded old man

European Folktale

Once upon a time there were two brothers. They decided to start venturing from town to town and from village to village to to seek happiness. Along the way they saw an old man with white beard heading towards them.

The old man stopped and asked the boys where they were headed. When he found out he told them:

"I want to help you." He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a handful of golden coins. " Which one of you wants these?" he asked.

"I want them." replied the big brother immediately. The old man hand in his other pocket and pulled out a precious gem, shining like the sun, and asked again:

"Which one of you want to have the gem?

"I want it." hasty answered the big brother and the old man gave him the gem. Then the old man put down the sack he was carrying on his back and said:

"Now who is gonna help me bring this sack to the village?"

The big brother said nothing. On the other hand the little brother pulled up his sleeves and bended down to help him. The old man smiled and said:

"Take it with you, my boy, along with everything that is inside."

"No it's not mine."

" Take it, take it." said the old man. "It's my gift to you."

The little brother opened the sack. And what did his eyes see? The bag was filled with precious gemstones. He stood up to thank the old man, but he was nowhere to be found.

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