How the Little Brother Set Free His Big Brothersby Andrew Lang
Genre: Fairy Tale
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 30 Minutes
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely
In a small hut, right in the middle of the forest, lived a man, his wife, three sons and a daughter. For some reason, all the animals seemed to have left that part of the country, and food grew very scarce; so, one morning, after a night of snow, when the tracks of beasts might be easily seen, the three boys started off to hunt.
They kept together for some time, till they reached a place where the path they had been following split into two, and one of the brothers called his dog and went to the left, while the others took the trail to the right. These had not gone far when their dogs scented a bear, and drove him out from the thicket. The bear ran across a clearing, and the elder brother managed to place an arrow right in his head.
They both took up the bear, and carried it towards home, meeting the third at the spot where they had parted from him. When they reached home they threw the bear down on the floor of the hut saying,
‘Father, here is a bear which we killed; now we can have some dinner.’
But the father, who was in a bad temper, only said:
‘When I was a young man we used to get two bears in one day.’
The sons were rather disappointed at hearing this, and though there was plenty of meat to last for two or three days, they started off early in the morning down the same trail that they had followed before. As they drew near the fork a bear suddenly ran out from behind a tree, and took the path on the right. The two elder boys and their dogs pursued him, and soon the second son, who was also a good shot, killed him instantly with an arrow. At the fork of the trail, on their way home, they met the youngest, who had taken the left-hand road, and had shot a bear for himself. But when they threw the two bears triumphantly on the floor of the hut their father hardly looked at them, and only said:
‘When I was a young man I used to get three bears in one day.’
The next day they were luckier than before, and brought back three bears, on which their father told them that HE had always killed four.
Logic of this tale doesn’t quite hang together (the older brothers eventually turn into half-bears)…but there’s something fascinating about a half-bear creature, and the innocent who comes to rescue them. You might need to invent more action than is here, but there are some interesting surreal elements to work with.
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