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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

A Tale o Twa Brithers (A Yiddish Folk Tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

Eence a lang, lang time ago, fan the cream wis aye thick on the milk, in a sma toon bade a faither an mither wi twa loons. Een wis clivver an the ither een wis feel. Aabody thocht he wis jist a gype. Fan they wir bairns the feel loon wid sit at the fire aa day an eat breid, file his brither wid be aff at the skweel or wid be sittin wi his heid in a bulk. An that’s fu the clivver loon wis the pride an joy o his mither an faither.

Fan they wir auler, the feel loon still sat by the fire aitin awa as if there wis nithin better tae dee. But, the clivver loon lookit aboot himsel an saa fu peer the femlie wis. Sae he said tae his faither, “See here, if we dinna dee something we’ll aye be peer. I’m aul eneuch noo tae gyang oot intae the world an try an mak some siller. I’ll tchaave awa an bring siller hame sae we can bigg a new hoose like ither fowk bide in.”

Weel, his faither an mither wir fair prood o him an they gaed him butter, an breid an biskets, an aipples, an fit wee bit silier they could spare an sint him on his wye.

The laddie wis stridin doon the road fan he cam upon a dog. “Laddie,” says the dog, “waash me an comb me an gie me something tae ait an ae day I’ll dee something for you.”

Noo, this wis a clivver laddie an he wisna gyan tae be made a feel o, sae he says, “Awa wi ye, dog. My faither nor my mither wadna dee sic a thing an I’m nae gyan till either.
A wee bit alang the road he cam tae a pear tree. it wis a gie peer shulpit thing, gie withert an dry it wis. The tree spak,”Laddie, trim my branches, hyow the yird roon my reets an gie’s some waater an ae day I’ll dee something for you.” But the loon said, “Awa wi ye, tree. My faither nor my mither wadna dee sic a thing an I’m nae gyan till either.”

The laddie dannert on an cam tae a waal. There wis bricht green scum on the waater, dubs aawye, an the siller cup hingin aside it wis yirdit. The laddie wis thirsty, but the state o the waal pit him aff. Noo, the waal spak tae him. “Laddie, please dicht me clean. Scoor oot my siller tassie, an clean aff the dubs. Ae day I’ll dee something for you.”

But the loon cried,”My faither nor my mither wadna dee sic a thing an I’m nae gyan till either.” An aff the loon wint an cam tae a muckle toon. He stoppit at an inn an says tae the landlord, “I’d like fine tae work for ye. I’m nae seekin money, I’ll leave that tae yir sense o justice.”

“Fine,” said the landlord, “work for me for ae year, I’ll gie ye yir maet an, if yir a gweed worker, I’ll reward ye tee.”
The laddie vrocht hard for a year an the landlord wis fair pleased. He askit for wauges an the landlord said, “I’ll nae gie ye siller but gyang oot tae the stable an ye’ll find horse, an cairts, muckle kists an sma kists. Aul horses an young eens; new cairts an aul. Tak fativer ye like an gyang hame wi them an gweed luck tae ye.

The laddie wint tae the stable an wis fair teen wi fit he saa. Bein a clivver chiel he rowt up his sleeves an set tae work, takkin the best o aathing: the finest horse, fittit wi the best saiddle, the best cairt, loadit wi the biggest kists. He crackit his wheep an he wis aff.

He’d nae seener left the toon fan he saa a muckle pear tree fair loadit doon wi gowden pears. Wi the sun shinin on’t it wis as bonny a sicht as iver he’d seen. The laddie got aft the cairt, pullt doon a branch tae pluck a pear, but the branch sprung oot o his han. “Awa wi ye, ye vratch ye,” said the tree. “Fan I askit ye tae hyow the yird roon my reets, ye widna dee it. Ye think ye’ll get pears aff o me? Awa wi ye!”

The loon wis that affrontit he left like a cat wi a scaldit tail. He hadna gaen far fan he cam tae a bricht, gleamin waal wi bonny sparklin waater. “Jist the verra thing,” thocht the thirsty laddie. He booet ower tae lift the siller cup fan it sprang oot o his haun. “Awa wi ye, ye vratch ye, said the waal. “Fan I askit ye tae gie me a dicht an scoor my siller tassie, ye widna dee it. Ye think ye’ll get waater fae me?
Mair affrontit than afore the loon got back on the cairt an set aff as quick as he could. He wis aa but hame fan he saa a richt sonsie dog wi a blue collar covert in diamonds an pearls. The laddie stoppit the cairt an cried on the dog. It loupit up aside him on the cairt an he tried tae tak the collar aff o the dog. “Woof! Woof! Grrroowl!” yelpit the dog. “Awa wi ye, ye vratch ye. Ye widna waash or comb me or gie me something tae ait, but ye’ll steal my collar. Ye’ll get nithin fae me. Ae mair move an I’ll rip ye tae bits. Awa wi ye!”

The dog loupit aff the cairt an the loon wint hame richt sair wi himsel an wheepit intae the horse aa the wye.

Fan he got hame aabody wis beddit an the hoose lockit up. He banged an banged on the door, roarin oot, “Faither! Mither! Get oot o yir beds. Yir loon is hame bringin aa kines o gweed stuff. Set the table an I’ll teem the kists.”

His fowk raise up oot o thir beds an they wir that pleased wi themsels. The hale hoose wis lit up an aa the neebors invitit roon tae see fit the clivver loon hid teen hame.

The feel loon left the ingle-neuk tae see aa the ferlies the brither hid brocht back. But fan the sun cam up things didna look jist sae gweed. The bonnie fite horse wis jist a rickle o beens, an the new cairt wis seen tae be jist a pucklie sticks an plunks nailt thegither. The sonsie kists wir jist aul boxes. the clivver loon jist coudna unnerstan but said, “Nivver mine, open the kists. They’re ful o gowd an siller!”
His faither opent the kists an poort oot the contents. Fat cam oot? Rottans, an dubs an dung. The hoose wis clairtit! The mither wis greetin an the faither set aboot the clivver loon wi the breem. An the neebors? Fit else? They laucht an Iaucht an wint hame still lauchin. The clivver loon jist stood there feelin a richt gype. An the feel brither said, “Dinna hit him. It’s maybe nae his faut. Let me gyang intae the world an I’ll see if I can mak some siller.”

The faither said, “Dinna be feel, man. He’s far clivverer nor you an he cam back wi nithin but trouble.” But the feel loon could be thrawn fan he likit an
sae his mither said, “Och, fit odds will it mak? Jist let him gyang.”
Sae the loon wis gaen a poke o bried, a bottle o waater an a wee bit siller, an aft he wint. As he wis gyan alang he met a peer vratch o a dog. The dog gaed his han a lick an said, “Laddie, wash me an comb me an gie me something tae ait an a suppie waater an ae day I’ll dee something for you.”

“Michty aye,” said the loon an cleant up the dog an gaed it some bried an a drappie o waater an gaed on his wye.

An seen he cam tae an aul waal. There wis bricht green scum on the waater, dubs aawye, an the siller cup hingin aside it wis yirdit. The waal said, “Laddie, please dicht me clean. Scoor oot my siller tassie, an clean aff the dubs an ae day I’ll dee something for you.”

The feel loon rowt up his sleeves an yarkit an breenged till the waater wis sparklin an aathing else shinin. Fin he wis deen he set aff eence mair.

An syne he cam tae a gey, peer, shulpit tree. Gey withert an dry it wis. The tree said, “Laddie,trim my branches, hyow the yird roon my reets an gie’s some waater an ae day I’ll dee something for you.”

Eence mair the laddie wint at it. He pruned the branches, hyowed the yird tae let the reets get breath an gaed the tree some waater. Syne he set aff again.

It wisna lang afore he cam tae the same toon that his brither hid bin at an got a job for a year wi the same maister. Fan his year wis up he askit for his wauges an the landlord said, “I’ll nae gie ye siller, but gyang oot tae the stable an ye’ll find horses, an cairts, muckle kists an sma kists. Aul horses an young eens, new cairts an aul. Tak fativer ye like an gyang hame wi them an gweed luck tae ye.”

The feel loon wint tae the stable an fan he seen aathing he said, “He wis a gweed maister, he trustit me sae I’ll nae let him doon. I’ll tak the aul horse an cairt an twa sma kists. That’Il dee fine.” Weel, he wis feel so aabody said, an he pickit the orraist trock in the stable an set aff hame wi them.

He’d nae seener left the toon fan he cam tae a muckle pear tree fair loadit wi gowden pears. The feel loon thocht he wid like tae eat een sae he said till the tree, “Pear tree, pear tree, kin I pull a pear fae yir branches.
An the pear tree said, Laddie, pull as mony as ye like for it wis you trimmt my branches.” Sae the loon pluckt ae pear an wint on his wye.

He wis beginnin tae feel thirsty fan he cam upon a bricht, gleamin waal. An the loon said, “Waal, micht I hae a drink o yir glitterin waater?” Faniver he spak the waater stertit tae sperkle an the siller tassie loupit intae his han. “Laddie,” said the waal, “drink yir fill. You cleant me up an ye can hae a drink an tak the siller tassie as a keepsake.”

The loon took the tassie, thankit the waal an set aft eence maim. He’d nae gaen far fan a dog cam rinnin towards him. Noo, this wis a weel-groomt, bonnie dog an it hid on a blue collar covert wi diamonds an pearls.

The dog spied the loon an loupit on tae the cairt sayin, “Bow! Wow! Loon. I’ve something for ye. Jist you tak the collar wi the diamonds and pearls. That’s for giein me a gweed waash an feedin me.” Sae the loon took the collar wi the diamonds an pearls, gaed the dog a gweed pat an drove on hame.

Fan he got hame he wis loadit doon wi gweed things. It wis nicht an gey dark sae he jist sat doon on the doorstep an waitit till the sun cam up.

In the mornin he chappit at the door an cried, “Mither! Faither! Yir feel loon’s hame. Spread oot the sheets an I’ll teem my kists on tae them.”

His mither an faither got up, but his mither said, “Sheets an tableclaiths! Awa wi ye, min! Harn secks are gweed eneuch for aa you’ll hae teen back!” But fan the kists wir opent an the contents teemed oot, the hale hoose wis ful o gowd an siller, licht reflectit aff the treesures, an diamonds an pearls wir lyin aawye!

His mither an faither wir fair astonisht an faither cried, “Noo, fit een o my loons is the gype an fit een clivver?” An sayin that he began tae clout the clivver loon, but the feel loon gart him stop an syne the femily wir aa happy thegither an een o the weel-aff femilies o the land.

The gweed loon leads a gweed life
Drinkin honey by the tassie:
But we skim oors fae aff the knife
We’ll hae tae work harder, lassie!



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