In a small town in Tamil Nadu, three brothers lived together in peace. Among the three, the youngest one was crippled and lame. After their father’s demise, the three brothers divided his property and assets among themselves.
The two brothers kept a good share of the property. They gave their disabled brother a scrubland, a dilapidated house, and some old bullocks to plow the land. Upset at this unfair partition, the youngest brother’s wife complained vehemently. Her husband pacified her by saying that God had given them that share and that He would bless them by pouring riches in through the roof.
After a heavy rainfall, the two brothers plowed their lands within two days. However, it took the lame brother four days to do so with his old bullocks. He asked his wife to fry some sesame seeds. He then threw those fried seeds all over his field. The fragrance of the fried seeds attracted a horde of ants. A massive army of little red ants marched into his fields. The ravenous ants didn’t spare a single sesame seed. However, an elderly ant felt it wasn’t fair to eat up all the fried sesame seeds. He ordered the young ants to pick all the good seeds from the two brothers’ fields and plant them in the youngest brother’s field.
A week later, the sesame seeds began sprouting in the youngest brother’s field. However, nothing grew in the two brothers’ fields. They asked their youngest brother what he had done to get such a good harvest. He replied that he had roasted some sesame seeds before scattering them in his fields. The following day, the two brothers did the same, only for the ants to destroy them completely.
That year saw the youngest brother harvesting four bushels of sesame. Keeping two bushels aside for his own use, he gave one each to his brothers.
On one moonlit night, the youngest brother’s wife went outside to make cow dung cakes. She spotted seven pots of gold on the ground. She ran inside to inform her husband. Irritated, he told his wife not to bring anything inside in the middle of the night, for God was supposed to bless them with riches through their roof.
Upset, she went over to his two brothers and told them about the seven pots. When the brothers opened the pots, all they could see were snakes and scorpions. They thought that their brother and sister-in-law were plotting to kill them.
To teach their brother a lesson, they closed the pots and threw them through his roof. The seven pots crashed down on the floor, scattering gold coins, rubies, emeralds, and jewels across the room. The couple was overjoyed to see the riches pouring in through their roof. The youngest brother’s wife gathered the jewels and put them on happily. Meanwhile, the two brothers waited outside for a while. They believed that the snakes and scorpions had killed their brother and sister-in-law. The drummers showed up at their place early next morning and started beating their drums. Disturbed by the racket, the youngest brother yelled at them, asking them to let him have a peaceful sleep.
The drummers and the two brothers believed that it was the dead brother addressing them. They were shocked out of their wits and ran away. Meanwhile, the youngest brother came out of the house and loudly inquired what the drummers were doing there. At this, the two brothers realized that their youngest brother was actually alive. They apologized for their misdeeds. The youngest brother took them home and showed them the seven gold pots with jewels and precious stones. He gave them two pots each and kept the remaining three for himself.
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Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at email@example.com to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and abridged from Fraternal Unity by Ettirajalu.