Audio Stories

A Story From: Israel
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins"]
For Ages: 8 to 10yrs., 10 to 14yrs.

Two Brothers Story

Two Brothers Story ~ Folktales Stories for Kids

This is the folktale, Two Brothers. It is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.  Kid-Tested, Kid-Approved  Short Stories with Positive Moral Messages. This story has been featured in the COMMON CORE Assessment and the UTAH SAGE Assessment. 

ONCE THERE WERE two brothers who inherited their father’s land. The two brothers divided the land in half and each one farmed his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had six children, while the younger brother never married.

One night, the younger brother lay awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “My brother has six children to feed and I have none. He should have more grain than I do.”

So that night the younger brother went to his silo, gathered a large bundle of wheat, and climbed the hill that separated the two farms and over to his brother’s farm. Leaving the wheat in his brother’s silo, the younger brother returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, not to mention grandchildren, while my brother will probably have none. He should at least sell more grain from the fields now so he can provide for himself with dignity in his old age.”

So that night, too, he secretly gathered a large bundle of wheat, climbed the hill, left it in his brother’s silo, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself.


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Retold by Elaine L. Lindy. ©2006. All rights reserved.


This story is passed down in both Hebrew & Arab versions. In the Hebrew version, King Solomon is believed to have built the first temple on the ground where the two brothers met and embraced.  In the Arab version, at the end of the story: "In the morning, each brother was amazed to find the heaps still equal, till Allah sent a prophet who informed them that their unselfish love was pleasing to the Almighty."

Among Hebrews, this story is often cited as a Talmudic legend taken from the Midrash, yet there is no mention of the tale in either the Talmud or the Midrash. According to the research of the late Professor Alexander Schieber of Budapest, the first time the story "Two Brothers" appeared in print was in 1851 by a French historian who claimed to have heard it from an Arab peasant. Some Jewish scholars believe the story is indeed of Talmudic origin, though for some reason it was not recorded, and that Arabs had preserved it over the centuries. It's equally plausible the story was originally Arabic (the story reflects the traditional reverence which Islam holds for the site of the Temple and its builder, King Solomon) and that it spread to the Hebrews, who then subsequently modified the tale. It's not uncommon in ancient times for legends and fables to interweave and to overlap from one culture to another.