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The Brother And His Sisters

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The Brother And His Sisters

by Sir George Webbe Dasent

Genre: Folktale
Setting: Africa
Format of Original Source: Fable
Recommended Adaptation Length: 15 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation?


There were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her little brother, ‘because’, she said, ‘he was dirty’. Now, this beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother begged their mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her, for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, ‘she wouldn’t listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said’, and so she was married.

Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with their mother and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their way. When they got to the beach, the husband picked up a beautiful tortoise-shell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without telling his wife. When night came the boy told the husband that at home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith’s shop, and so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy.

In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped up as soon as he went in, and he said, ‘Boy, what is the matter with you?’ So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to go to sleep.

But the boy said, ‘Now mind, when you hear me snore I’m not asleep, but when I am not snoring, then I’m asleep.’


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