The Three Brothers

And now for something completely different, a little story added to “Baba’s Corner” on my Web site. I hope to add a few more interesting tidbits soon, including a longer excerpt from The Silence of Trees.

The Three Brothers and their Father’s House

Baba often told us stories about three brothers, Bohdan, Stefan, and Ivan. Sometimes they got into trouble. Other times they went on adventures together. There was usually a moral to the story:

One day Bohdan, Stefan, and Ivan’s elderly father decided it was time to decide who would get their home when he died.

“Boys,” their tato said, “Only one of you can live in this house with your family. The other two must build houses of their own.”

He looked at his sons. Bohdan scratched his chin. Stefan bit his lip, and Ivan stared out the window.

“Pay attention,” their tato said sternly. “I have decided to give this house to the one who can go out and find something to fill this house completely.”

Since Bohdan was the oldest, he was sent first. “Go now and bring back your choice,” their father commanded. “Make me proud.”

Bohdan ran out to the barn and brought back the largest cow, confident of his choice.

Their father shook his head, “Son, this cow only fills up a quarter of the house.” He looked at Stephan. “It’s your turn, Stefko, make me proud.”

Stefko walked around the farm until he saw hay. Excited he filled the house with all the hay he could find, but the hay only filled up half the house.

After cleaning up his brother’s mess, it was the youngest brother, Ivan’s turn. Ivan went outside and sat on a stump watching the sun set.

“If only I had more light to see what else was around that I had to choose from,” he said aloud.

At that moment, Ivan knew he found his answer. Triumphant, Ivan entered the house with a candle and lit it. The light filled the house, and his tato smiled.

“Ivan,” his tato said, “You have made me proud. Light does fill the house completely, and so it will be yours.”

We would often talk about what other things Ivan could have chosen to fill the house, and the only things that ever seemed to work were things like love, light, laughter, music. My baba said this was because material things will not fill our homes or our hearts. In life, as in stories, the intangible gifts are the most precious.

Copyright 2008 Valya Dudycz Lupescu, All Rights Reserved

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya.

2 thoughts on “The Three Brothers”

  1. Ian Thomas Healy says:

    That’s a lovely little tale, Valya. It feels like a parable.


  2. Valya says:

    Thanks, Ian.

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