THE OLD MAN AND HIS SONS

Once upon a time there was a peasant who had three sons. One day he called them and said:

Now I am very old and I haven’t strength anymore. So I decided to divide my property now that I am alive. One of you will get the rooster, the other will have the sickle and the third will take the cat. These aren’t that much, but if you’ll know how to use them wisely, you’ll earn a lot. My dear sons, try to find the right place to show them, places where people have never seen them. Then you’ll see, you’ll live happily. After the father’s death, the oldest brother took the rooster in his arms and set off to go and seek his own fate. But he didn’t earn a thing everywhere he went because everyone had seen roosters and knew what a rooster was. The roosters stood on the roof-tops in all the cities and crowed in the yards of the houses in all the villages. None of them flashed a glance at the rooster the boy had. But at last he found his fate and the land he wanted. He went to an island and the people that lived there had never seen a rooster before.

- Look what a wonderful bird it is! – said the boy to the island inhabitants. – It has a red crest on its head, and beautiful claws on its feet. It sings every night three times and always at the same hour. The first time it sings at two o’clock, the second time at four o’clock and the third time at six o’clock. If it sings during the day, it means that the weather will be bad later.

The island people liked so much what they heard about the rooster, and they waited all night long to hear the rooster sing. When the time came, the rooster began to sing. When it dawned, they asked the boy if he would sell the rooster and how much it cost.

- Give me as much gold as a donkey can carry, - answered the big brother.

- That is so cheap, - said the island people.

So they bought the rooster and listened to it singing every morning. When he got back home, the two other brothers were so surprised when they noticed that their brother had earned so much gold. Then the middle brother said:

- I am going to seek my fate too, maybe I’ll take gold in exchange for the sickle. So he took his sickle and set off to go and find his own luck. Wherever he went, all the peasants had in their hands sickles like the one the boy had. But he found his own fate in the end. He arrived at an island and its inhabitants had never seen a sickle before. When it came the time to harvest the wheat, they took the cannons into the fields and shook the wheat spikes down when shooting the cannon balls. But the cannon balls passed sometimes passed near the spikes and didn’t shake them. So they did damage to the harvest and deafened people with the noise they did. The second brother went in the field and began to harvest the wheat so quickly and quietly that everyone was very surprised and asked him to sell the sickle.

- Give me as much gold as a horse can carry and you’ll take it, - said the middle brother.

After he took the horse packed with gold, he turned back home satisfied with what he had achieved. At last it was the youngest brother’s turn, so he took the cat and set off to find his own fate. In the beginning it happened the same to him like it was for the two others, because he could see cats everywhere he went to. Later the fate knocked at his door too. He sailed to a remote island where no cat had been there before and the island was full of mice. They climbed to the tables and entered in the cupboards, the island people suffered too much from them and they could never catch all the mice. Neither the King in his palace could escape from the mice. They scratched everything with their teeth. The little brother let the cat go and she began the hunting at once. The cat could kill off the mice in the two large halls at the King’s palace. So the King decided to buy the cat and gave as much gold as a camel could carry for that. So the little brother brought home much more gold than the two others had. The mice that the cat had killed off at the King’s palace were not enough, so the cat got tired of that. Its throat got dried and it was thirsty. The cat looked up and meowed: ‘‘Mew! Mew!’’. When they heard that terrible meow, the King and his courtiers ran away from the palace. The next day, the King gathered his courtiers and they began to think of a plan on how to get rid of the cat. At last they came to a solution: ‘‘we’d better suffer from the mice than keeping here a monster. Now we are used of the mice’’ –said all they. Then the King sent a courtier with the order that the cat had to leave the palace.

- If the cat won’t agree to leave, then we’ll do it by any means, - said the King to the courtier.

The cat didn’t like the order of the King. When the courtier asked the cat to leave at any cost, it began to meow again: ‘‘Mew! Mew!’’

The courtier thought it was: ‘‘No! No!’’ He turned back to the King and told him the cat didn’t want to leave his palace.

It doesn’t want to leave?! –King shouted. – Get it out!

He gave order to take out the balls in the court and shoot at the palace. All those shootings covered the palace in flame and smoke. When the fire reached the room where the cat was staying, it jumped quietly out of the window and left the palace. They shot the palace with cannon balls till there was nothing left of it.