The Eldest Son
An Interesting Folktale
In a village, there once lived a young man with his one-year-old son. Unfortunately, his wife had died soon after giving birth to the boy, and as there was no one to look after the baby, the young man married again. His second wife accepted the child as her own, and the days went by happily. Soon, they had two more sons. All three children grew up together. The man's wife treated all three boys alike, and the two younger boys never realized they had a stepbrother.
Some years later, the man passed away. Now the responsibilities of the household fell upon the shoulders of the eldest son.
The young boy managed his duties so well that the family prospered. This made their neighbors envious. They decided to create a rift in the family.
So, they told the two younger brothers’, "Do you know your elder brother is actually your stepbrother?" The boys were shocked and ran to their mother and complained, "Why do you shower so much love on your stepson? We must get rid of him before he takes away our father's property." Their mother was a very intelligent and wise woman. She instantly had an idea, and said, "Don't you worry, my sons! I will drive your stepbrother out of this house tomorrow. Your father's property will only be yours."
That night she kept awake, waiting for her sons to fall asleep. When the boys had slept, she sprang up from her bed and began to scream, "Snake! Snake!" The three boys woke up with a start. "Where, Mother?" asked the eldest son. "I saw it in your mouth, son, and then it disappeared into your stomach," replied his mother. The eldest son was devastated to hear this. From that day on, he lost his appetite and sleep. He would lie idle on his bed the entire day. Soon, he became so weak that he could not even walk. Taking advantage of the situation, the jealous neighbors built a wall across the three brother's courtyard and captured the land. They even seized their farm and implements. Now the younger sons were worried. "Mother!" said one of them,"If our elder brother was not bed-ridden, such terrible things would not have happened!"
His mother nodded, smiling to herself that her younger sons had realized the importance of her eldest son. That night, she started shouting again, "Snake! Snake!" "Where is it, Mother?" murmured the eldest son. "It came of your stomach," replied the mother, "and slithered out of the house." "Really?" the eldest son cried of joy.
From that day, his condition started improving. Soon, he was up on his feet and back to work. "Who dared to capture my land?" he thundered. The neighbors were frightened. They pulled down the wall without a word. Then, they vacated the farm and returned the implements.
Thus, the eldest son brought back the smiles on his family's faces. And having learnt a valuable lesson, the three brothers lived in peace and harmony for a long time.