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The Four Clever Brothers

By Itellyouastory

«Dear children,» said a poor man to his four sons, «I have nothing togive you; you must  go out  into the  wide world and  try your  luck.Begin  by learning some craft or another, and see  how you can get on.’So the  four brothers took  their  walking-sticks  in their  hands,  andtheir  little bundles on their shoulders, and  after bidding theirfather goodbye,  went all out at the gate together. When they  had goton some way they came  to four crossways, each leading to a differentcountry. Then the eldest said, «Here we must  part; but this  day fouryears  we will come  back to  this spot, and in the meantime each musttry what he can do for himself.»

So each brother went his way; and as the eldest was hastening on a manmet him, and asked him where he was going, and what he wanted. «I amgoing  to try my luck in the world, and should like to begin by learningsome art or trade,» answered he. «Then,» said the man,  «go with me, andI will  teach you to become the cunningest thief  that ever was.» «No,’said the  other, «that is not an honest calling, and what can one lookto earn by it in the end but the gallows?» «Oh!» said the man, «you neednot fear the  gallows; for I will only teach you to steal  what will befair game: I meddle  with nothing but what no one else can get or careanything about, and where  no one can find you out.» So the young managreed to follow his trade, and he soon showed himself so clever, thatnothing could escape him that he  had once set his mind upon.


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