There was once a man who had three sons, and nothing else in the world but the house in which he lived. Now each of the sons wished to have the house after his father's death; but the father loved them all alike, and did not know what to do; he did not wish to sell the house, because it had belonged to his forefathers, else he might have divided the money amongst them. At last a plan came into his head, and he said to his sons, "Go into the world, and try each of you to learn a trade, and, when you all come back, he who makes the best masterpiece shall have the house."
The sons were well content with this, and the eldest determined to be a blacksmith, the second a barber, and the third a fencing-master. They fixed a time when they should all come home again, and then each went his way.
It chanced that they all found skilful masters, who taught them their trades well. The blacksmith had to shoe the King's horses, and he thought to himself, "The house is mine, without doubt." The barber only shaved great people, and he too already looked upon the house as his own. The fencing-master got many a blow, but he only bit his lip, and let nothing vex him; "for," said he to himself, "If you are afraid of a blow, you'll never win the house."
When the appointed time had gone by, the three brothers came back home to their father; but they did not know how to find the best opportunity for showing their skill, so they sat down and consulted together. As they were sitting thus, all at once a hare came running across the field. "Ah, ha, just in time!" said the barber. So he took his basin and soap, and lathered away until the hare came up; then he soaped and shaved off the hare's whiskers whilst he was running at the top of his speed, and did not even cut his skin or injure a hair on his body. "Well done!" said the old man. "your brothers will have to exert themselves wonderfully, or the house will be yours."
Soon after, up came a nobleman in his coach, dashing along at full speed. "Now you shall see what I can do, father," said the blacksmith; so away he ran after the coach, took all four shoes off the feet of one of the horses whilst he was galloping, and put him on four new shoes without stopping him. "You are a fine fellow, and as clever as your brother," said his father; "I do not know to which I ought to give the house."
Then the third son said, "Father, let me have my turn, if you please;" and, as it was beginning to rain, he drew his sword, and flourished it backwards and forwards above his head so fast that not a drop fell upon him. It rained still harder and harder, till at last it came down in torrents; but he only flourished his sword faster and faster, and remained as dry as if he were sitting in a house. When his father saw this he was amazed, and said, "This is the master-piece, the house is yours!"
His brothers were satisfied with this, as was agreed beforehand; and, as they loved one another very much, they all three stayed together in the house, followed their trades, and, as they had learnt them so well and were so clever, they earned a great deal of money. Thus they lived together happily until they grew old; and at last, when one of them fell sick and died, the two others grieved so sorely about it that they also fell ill, and soon after died. And because they had been so clever, and had loved one another so much, they were all laid in the same grave.
Odata, un batran traia intr-o casa tare frumoasa si mare, impreuna cu cei trei fii ai sai. Crescura baietii mari si cum pe batran il cam lasau puterile,se gandi sa lase casa mostenire numai unuia dintre ei,celui mai vrednic. Dar cui? Caci ii iubea la fel pe toti trei si ca sa vanda casa,lasand ca fii sai sa imparta banii,n-ar fi vrut,caci casa o primise si el de la parintii sai.
-Dragii mei,le spuse intr-o zi tatal. Mergeti in lume si invatati cate un mestesug.si acela care va fi mai mester in mestesugul lui,aceluia sa-i ramana casa.
-Asa o sa facem,tata!zisera feciorii.
isi pusera fiecare merinde in desagi si a doua zi in zori,fiecare o lua pe cate un drum,iesind din oras.
Primul,cel mai mare fecior,invata mestesugul potcovitului,ingrijind de caii imparatului.Cel de-al doilea se facu barbier si ajunse priceput in rasul multor barbi simandicoase.Praslea,cel mai mic invata arta armelor,devenind unul dintre cei mai buni luptatori cu spada.
Trecu ceva timp si iata-i intorsi acasa.Parintele lor ii primi cu bucurie,caci le duse dorul.si toti trei credeau ca fiecare din ei este mai indreptatit sa primeasca mostenirea.
A doua zi iesira cu totii in afara orasului..si iata ca tocmai trecea in goana un iepure.Atunci barbierul ii spuse bucuros:
-Ia te uita! Urechila vine tocmai la tanc!
si pana sa se apropie iepurele,pregati intr-un lighenas spuma de sapun.Apoi ,cu pamatuful plin de spuma intr-o mana si cu briciul in alta ,sari in spinarea lui Iepurila si-l rase fara nicio taietura.Pleca bietul iepuras scapat din mana barbierului ras chilug,de spuneai ca-i cine stie ce aratare.
Hei,tata,ce spui de arta mea de a rade?
-Mare minune,mai baiete!raspunse tatal,si de n-or fi ceilalti frati ai tai mai vrednici in meseria lor,sa stii ca a ta este casa!
Nu trecu mult timp si iata ca vad ei venind in goana o caleasca cu un boier in ea.Fugeau caii de le scaparau copitele.
-Iata si norocul meu,spuse potcovarul.
si luand repede ciocanul in mana dreapta si in cealalta mana niste caiele si potcoave,se repezi in fuga spre caii de la caleasca boierului si cat ai numara pana la trei,smulse potcoavele de la picioarele lor si tot in galop batu si altele noi.Apoi,tare multumit de trebusoara facuta,veni si-l intreba pe batran:
-Dar de mine ce ai de spus ,tata?
-Esti un om si jumatate,fiule!Zau,voi ma puneti in mare incurcatura cu iscusinta voastra!
Atunci vorbi si praslea.
-Dar bine,taicutule,pe mine nu vrei sa ma vezi ce pot?
Tocmai incepuse ploaia.Atunci fiul cel mic scoase sabia de la sold si incepu s-o anvarta printre stropii de ploaie asa de repede,incat ea ramanea mereu uscata.Ploaia se intetea;stropi mari cadeau cu nemiluita,dar Praslea se misca asa de repede,incat ramanea mereu uscat,de parca s-ar fi luptat cu un adversar nevazut sub un acoperis.
Cand pipaira lama spadei,vazura, uzi la piele,ca era la fel de uscata ca atunci cand o scosese mezinul din teaca.
-Ei, acum ce mai spuneti?intreba el.
si cu totii recunoscura ca pe drept,casa o merita el.
Dar pentru ca fratii se iubeau foarte mult,traira tustrei in casa parinteasca si castigara multi bani cu mestesugurile lor.
Iar tatal lor putea sa se considere cel mai fericit din lume.si cand ii veni randul sa paraseasca aceasta lume,o parasi multumit de fiii sai ca nimeni altul.