The Lilac Fairy Book HTML version

The Rich Brother and the Poor Brother
There was once a rich old man who had two sons, and as his wife was dead, the elder
lived with him, and helped him to look after his property. For a long time all went well;
the young man got up very early in the morning, and worked hard all day, and at the end
of every week his father counted up the money they had made, and rubbed his hands with
delight, as he saw how big the pile of gold in the strong iron chest was becoming. 'It will
soon be full now, and I shall have to buy a larger one,' he said to himself, and so busy
was he with the thought of his money, that he did not notice how bright his son's face had
grown, nor how he sometimes started when he was spoken to, as if his mind was far
One day, however, the old man went to the city on business, which he had not done for
three years at least. It was market day, and he met with many people he knew, and it was
getting quite late when he turned into the inn yard, and bade an ostler saddle his horse,
and bring it round directly. While he was waiting in the hall, the landlady came up for a
gossip, and after a few remarks about the weather and the vineyards she asked him how
he liked his new daughter-in-law, and whether he had been surprised at the marriage.
The old man stared as he listened to her. 'Daughter-in-law? Marriage?' said he. 'I don't
know what you are talking about! I've got no daughter-in-law, and nobody has been
married lately, that I ever heard of.'
Now this was exactly what the landlady, who was very curious, wanted to find out; but
she put on a look of great alarm, and exclaimed:
'Oh, dear! I hope I have not made mischief. I had no idea--or, of course, I would not have
spoken--but'--and here she stopped and fumbled with her apron, as if she was greatly
'As you have said so much you will have to say a little more,' retorted the old man, a
suspicion of what she meant darting across him; and the woman, nothing loth, answered
as before.
'Ah, it was not all for buying or selling that your handsome son has been coming to town
every week these many months past. And not by the shortest way, either! No, it was over
the river he rode, and across the hill and past the cottage of Miguel the vine-keeper,
whose daughter, they say, is the prettiest girl in the whole country side, though she is too
white for my taste,' and then the landlady paused again, and glanced up at the farmer, to
see how he was taking it. She did not learn much. He was looking straight before him, his
teeth set. But as she ceased to talk, he said quietly, 'Go on.'
'There is not much more to tell,' replied the landlady, for she suddenly remembered that
she must prepare supper for the hungry men who always stopped at the inn on market
days, before starting for home, 'but one fine morning they both went to the little church
on top of the hill, and were married. My cousin is servant to the priest, and she found out