The brother's inheritanceThere were two brothers. One was very good and one was very bad, as quite often happens in a family. The father was quite old and about to die.
On his deathbed, the father said to his sons, “I wish both of you to be happy after my passing. Always be together and be peaceful. Be kind to each other. If one of you needs something, the other one should help him. I am distributing my property and land equally to each of you. Also I am keeping a large amount of money in the bank for both of you whenever you need it for an emergency.”
Since the older one was the kinder and wiser of the two, the father wanted him to be responsible for the money. He told the older brother, “Since the older one is more responsible for things in a family, you will be the one to judge when either of you really needs the money. At the time of your real need, you yourself will use it, and you will give the younger one money when he needs it.”
Soon the father died. Both the sons got large portions of land. The younger one was a real lazybones. He was a good talker but not a doer. The older one was a hard worker and he cultivated his fields. Since the younger one was not doing anything, eventually he became poverty-stricken.
The younger brother went to the older brother and said, “I am so poor. Can you not help me?”
The older brother said to him, “I can give you money, but your real problem is that you do not work. You have to work. Otherwise, people will ridicule you.”
The younger one said, “Certainly I will work. But first, can you not do me a favour?”
“What is it?” asked the older brother.
He said, “Your fields are now yielding a bumper crop, whereas mine are growing nothing. Can you exchange fields with me? You take my land and I will take yours. My land you will cultivate. Then, once it starts growing fruits and vegetables, at that time I will take it back and give you back your land. From that time on, I will be extremely careful and work as hard as you are working now. In every way I will become a good and diligent person.”
“All right,” the brother finally agreed, “Father asked us to be kind to each other, so I will do it. But remember, you promised that as soon as your fields are cultivated and everything is in proper shape, you will return my land to me.”
The younger brother said, “I promise you, I promise you!”
So the older brother started cultivating the younger one’s fields. One day he was feeling sorry for the younger brother. He said to himself, “True, my brother has got my land. But perhaps he will need a little more money since he is still poor. Let me go and give him half the money that Father has left for us.”
He went to his younger brother and said, “I feel that this is an emergency. Although I have given you my fields, it will take a long time for me to make your fields as fruitful as mine. So take half the money that Father has left for us.”
The younger one said, “I have some special news to tell you. You will be very pleased to know that I have sold all your fields. So you don’t have to worry about my money problems. Now I am really rich. You can do anything that you want to with my fields.”
The older brother buried his head in his hands.