The Two Travellers
A Berta Story
Before you read the story
- Do you share with others when you have plenty?
- Do you share with others when you have just enough?
- Do you know someone who does not like to share?
- Why doesn't that person want to share?
Tef is a cereal that grows in Ethiopia
A shamma is a white shawl worn by Ethiopian men and women
Now read the story
Once, there were two brothers. One of them was rich, but the other was poor. The rich brother liked money. He did not like to give it to people. And he never gave money to his poor brother.
Sometimes his poor brother's wife and children were hungry, but the rich brother never helped them.
"They are your children, not mine," the rich brother said. "You must feed them yourself."
Sometimes, travellers came to the rich brother's house.
"Go away," he said to them. "I am a poor man. There is nothing for you in my house."
His poor brother was always kind to travellers.
"Come in, my friends," he said to them. "Our house is poor, and we have very little food, but please, take it. Eat. You are welcome."
One evening, the sun was going down. The rich brother was sitting in his house. His wife was cooking his favourite dinner.
"It's chicken," the rich man thought. "Good. I like chicken."
Someone knocked at the door. The man went to open it. Two strangers stood outside.
"We are poor travellers," they said. "We are tired, and it will soon be dark. Please, sir, can we come in, and stay the night with you?"
The rich brother thought about his chicken.
"I don't want to share my dinner," he thought. "I want to eat it all myself."
"No," he said rudely. "You can't come in here. Go and find my brother. He's a fool. He always gives things to beggars."
And he shut the door.
On the same evening, the poor brother and his wife were sitting sadly beside an empty pot.
"There’s no dinner for us tonight," the poor man's wife said to him. "We must go hungry to bed."
They heard a knock on the door. The poor brother opened it. Two strangers stood outside.
"We are travellers," they said. "We are tired and ..."
They were still talking when the poor man cried, "Come in! You are welcome! Sit beside the fire. But my friends, I’m sorry. We have no food tonight. I can't give you anything to eat. And there’s only water to drink. Wife, give some water to our guests!"
The strangers smiled at the poor man.
"We don't need your food," they said. "Look, here is food for all of us."
They took food out of their shammas and shared it.
"Stay here with us tonight," the poor man said. "You cannot go now. It's dark already."
The travellers looked round the hut. It was very small.
"We will sleep outside, beside your door," they said. "We will go on our journey early in the morning. We will not see you again. Thank you for your goodness to us. You welcomed us kindly. You had very little, but you wanted to share it with us."
The two strangers went outside to sleep. The poor man and his wife slept too.
In the morning, the poor man's wife opened her eyes.
"Husband! Wake up!" she cried. "Look!"
Her husband sat up and looked round. His small hut was full of good things! There were sacks of tef and barley, and pots of oil and honey. A bag of money was beside his bed. Outside, he could hear the noise of sheep and goats, cows and bulls.
"Those good men, our guests, have made us rich!" the poor man said.
"They were not men," his wife said. "Didn't you look at their faces, dear husband? They were good spirits. God sent them to us. I know they came from God."
Listen to the story: