The Four Skillful Brothers
Four brothers learn different skills, prove their abilities to their father, save a princess and receive rich rewards for it.
There was a poor man who had four sons, when they grew up he said to them, "Dear children, you must go out into the world now, I have nothing that I could give you; make up yourselves up and go abroad, learn a trade and see how you get along." So the four brothers took the walking staff, said goodbye to their father and went out together through the gate. After they had walked for a while, they came across one Way of the Cross, which led to four different areas. The eldest said, "Here we have to part, but today for four years we want to meet again at this point and try our luck in the meantime."
Now everyone went his own way, and the eldest met a man who asked him where he was going and what he was up to. "I want to learn a trade," he answered. Then the man said, "Go with me and become a thief." "No," he answered, "that no longer applies to honest trades, and the end of the story is that one is used as a clapper in the field bell." Oh," said the man, "you don't have to be afraid of the gallows: I just want to teach you how to get what no one else can get and where nobody can track you down." So he allowed himself to be persuaded, Ward the man was a trained thief and was so skillful that nothing he ever wanted was safe from him. The second brother met a man who put the same question to him about what he wanted to learn in the world. "I don't know yet," he replied. "So go with me and become a stargazer: nothing better than that, nothing remains hidden from you." He put up with that and became such a skilled stargazer that his master, when he had finished learning and wanted to move on, gave him a telescope and said to him, "With it you can see what is happening on earth and in heaven, and nothing can remain hidden from you." The third brother was apprenticed to a hunter and gave him such good instruction in everything that belongs to hunting that he became a trained hunter. As he was leaving, the master gave him a rifle and said, "It's not missing, what you're aiming for with it, you're sure to hit it." The youngest brother also met a man who spoke to him and asked what he was planning. "Wouldn't you like to become a tailor?" "I don't know that," said the boy, "sitting slouched from morning to night, sweeping back and forth with the needle and the iron, I can't think of." what,” answered the man, “you speak as you understand it: with me you will learn a completely different art of tailoring, it is decent and fair, partly very honorable.” So he let himself be persuaded, went along and learned the man’s art to the full the foundation. As he was leaving, he gave him a needle and said, "With it you can sew together whatever seems as soft as an egg or as hard as steel; and it becomes one piece so that no seam can be seen."
When the appointed four years were up, the four brothers came together at the same time at the crossroads, hugged and kissed each other, and returned home to their father. "Well," said the latter quite happily, "has the wind blown to me again?" They told how it had happened to them and that each had learned his own lesson. Now they were just sitting in front of the house under a big tree when the father said, "Now I want to put you to the test and see what you can do." two branches a chaffinch nest, tell me how many eggs are in it?” The stargazer took his glass, looked up and said, “there are five.” broods, is disturbed.” The skillful thief climbed up and took the five eggs from under the body of the little bird, which did not notice anything and remained sitting quietly, and brought them down to the father. The father took them, placed one at each corner of the table and the fifth in the middle, and said to the hunter, "You shoot the five eggs in the middle in two with one shot." The hunter aimed his rifle and shot the eggs, as father had asked for, all five in one shot. He was sure of the powder that shoots around the corner. "Now it's your turn," said the father to the fourth son, "you sew the eggs back together and also the young birds that are in them, and in such a way that the shot doesn't harm them." The tailor fetched his Needle and sewed as the father had asked for. When he was done, the thief had to carry the eggs back up the tree to the nest and lay them under the bird without him noticing anything. The animal hatched them to completion, and after a few days the young crept out with a little red stripe round their necks where they had been sewn together by the tailor.
"Yes," said the old man to his sons, "I must praise you above the green clover, you have used your time well and learned something righteous: I cannot say which of you is to be preferred. If you only have the opportunity to use your art soon, it will be proven.” Not long after that, there was a great deal of noise in the country that the king's daughter had been kidnapped by a dragon. The king was worried about it day and night and let it be known who would bring her back if she was to be his wife. The four brothers said among themselves "that would be an opportunity where we could be seen" wanted to move out together and free the king's daughter. "I want to know soon where she is," said the stargazer, looked through his telescope and said, "I see her already, she is sitting far from here on a rock in the sea, and next to her is the dragon that is guarding her." So he went to the king and asked for a ship for himself and his brothers, and sailed with them across the sea until they came to the rock. The king's daughter sat there, but the dragon lay in her lap and slept. The huntsman said, "I must not shoot, I would kill the beautiful maiden at the same time." "I will try my salvation then," said the thief, crept up and stole her away from under the dragon, but so quietly and swiftly that the beast didn't notice anything, but snored away. Full of joy they hurried with her onto the ship and steered into the open sea, but the dragon, who had not found the king's daughter when he woke up, followed them and snorted furiously through the air. Just as he was hovering over the ship and about to lower himself, the hunter aimed his rifle and shot him square in the heart. The beast fell down dead, but it was so big and powerful that it smashed the whole ship as it fell. They happily caught a few more boards and swam around on the wide sea. There was great need again, but the tailor, not lazy, took his wonderful needle, sewed the boards together in haste with a few large stitches, sat on them, and gathered up all the pieces of the ship. Then he sewed these together so skillfully that in a short time the ship was ready to sail again and they could go home happily.
When the king saw his daughter again, there was great joy. He said to the four brothers, "One of you shall have her as a wife, but it is up to you to decide who that is." The stargazer said, "If I hadn't seen the king's daughter, all your arts would have been in vain: that's why she's mine." The huntsman said, "You and the king's daughter would have been torn apart by the beast if it hadn't hit my bullet: that's why it's mine." drowned miserably: therefore she is mine." Then the king declared: "Each of you has an equal right, and since each of you cannot have the virgin, none of you shall have her, but I want each a half as a reward give kingdom.” The brothers were pleased with this decision, and they said, “It is better this way than that we should be divided.” So each received half a kingdom, and they lived with their father in all happiness, so long as it pleased God.