A businessman had two sons. While he showered the younger son with affection and gifts, he neglected the older son shamelessly. It was completely baffling and no one knew why he did it. While the older son could do nothing right, the younger one could do nothing wrong.

When the boys grew up, they were asked to manage the father’s business. But there was a world of difference in the management practices the father expected his boys to follow. The elder son was initiated into the nitty-gritties of the business.

A Tale of Two Sons [Illustration by Shinod AP]
A Tale of Two Sons [Illustration by Shinod AP]

From morning till late in the evening, he was on his toes, trying to figure out how the business ran. His father was a hard taskmaster, who pushed him relentlessly so that he would give the business all he got. Within a few years, he was able to master the ropes of the business and even expand it.

What about the younger son? He had had the luxury of a higher education. He didn’t have much to do except have a good time at his father’s expense.

After some years his father felt obliged to hand the younger son his share of business. He was confident that his favourite son would be a brilliant success. If the elder son could be a successful businessman without the benefit of higher education, surely the younger one, who was more gifted, would do much better.

Within a few years, the results of his decision became evident. Uninterested in business, the younger son kept up his spending spree and thus went bankrupt.

But, the elder son’s far smaller share of business had expanded and he had proved himself to be a good decision maker.

Ashamed at the turn of events the father met the elder son and ranted against the younger one.

“What a scoundrel that boy has turned out to be. I gave him everything he wanted, and he ruined it all ! How could I have possibly known that he would turn out like this? A pleasure-loving, incompetent wastrel,” he wailed.

The elder son, who was listening to all this quietly, suddenly announced his plan to set up an independent venture. “I want to strike out on my own,” he said.

“Why?", asked the dumbfounded father who was hoping to start afresh with the elder son at the helm of affairs.

“I blame one person for the way my brother has turned out, and it’s not him. You can’t blame children for the faults of their parents, can you?", asked the elder son. And then he left his father’s house.

437 words | 4 minutes
Readability: Grade 6 (11-12 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales