In which I share a story gift: "Filling Up the House" (two parts)

The first part of this story is a traditional folktale. Part Two was inspired by my Horse Girls. They know all about how to fill up the house, bless 'em.
Filling the House (part one)

There once was an farmer who had three sons. The time was coming for the farmer to retire, but he didn’t know which of his sons should inherit the house, the farm, and all the animals.

He decided to have a contest. He gave each boy a small coin—worth about a dollar—and told them to use the coin to buy something to fill up the house. Whichever of them could fill the house most completely would inherit everything.

The eldest son took his coin and went for a walk. He walked for nearly an hour until he came to the farm of a neighbor. The neighbor was in the barn, raking straw.

“How much straw could I buy with this coin?” the boy asked. The farmer agreed to give an entire wagonload of straw for the coin.

The boy unloaded all the sweet-smelling straw into the house, and the straw covered the floor in the entire house about 2 feet deep.

The middle son took his coin and went for a walk. He walked for nearly two hours, until he came to the farm of a different neighbor. This neighbor was in the barn, raking up chicken feathers.

“How many feathers could I buy with this coin?” asked the boy. The farmer agreed to give 20 bags of feathers for the coin.

The boy unloaded all the feathers into the house, and the feathers covered the floor and all the chairs in the house, about 4 feet deep.

The youngest son took his coin and went for a walk. He walked most of the day, all the way into town. When he got there, the sun was starting to go down. The boy went to the little store, and when he came out he was carrying a little paper bag.

The boy walked all the way home. When he got there, it was very dark. He called his family together, and with everyone watching, he took from his bag six little candles. He carefully lit the candles and carried them to all the rooms of the house.

When the family looked around, they saw that the youngest boy had filled the entire house…with light.



Filling the House (part two)

Many years after inheriting the house, the farm, and all the animals, the youngest son was ready to retire…but he didn’t know which of his three daughters should inherit everything.

He decided to repeat his father’s contest. He gave each girl a small coin—worth about a dollar—and told them to use the coin to buy something to fill up the house. Whichever of them could fill the house most completely would inherit.

The three girls left the house together, and talked for almost an hour. Then the eldest daughter took all three coins and walked to town. When she got there, she bought carrots, and yams, and beans, and other good vegetables. Then she carried the food home, put a big pot of water on the stove to boil, and added the vegetables.

Her father smelled the soup cooking, and smiled. “My eldest daughter is filling the house up with the smell of good food! Perhaps she will inherit everything.”

The middle daughter walked down to the pond, cut some reeds with her pocketknife, and made a little flute. Then she went back to the house, playing a merry little tune.

Her father heard the song, and he smiled. “My middle daughter is filling the house up with the sound of music! Perhaps she will inherit everything.”

The youngest daughter went to visit each of their neighbors. At sunset, she returned home, followed by all of the people of the town. Each person carried a pot of food, a loaf of bread, or a bottle of wine. When they got to the house, they all shared the food they had brought, as well as the soup made by the eldest daughter. Then they brought out musical instruments and played music and sang and told stories by the fire until late into the night.

The father joined the party, and he smiled. “My youngest daughter has filled the house up with our friends and neighbors. But now, which of my daughters should inherit the house, the farm, and all of the animals?”

The daughters answered him together. “Father, this house is large enough for all of us, and for our children and their friends as well. We want to inherit the house together so we can all live here.”

So that is what they did. The daughters shared the house. When they got married, their husbands moved into the house with them. And when their children were born, they all lived in the house together.

And for many years, all those people filled up the house…with love.

Comments

  1. Very cool stories - how lovely for the season!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful - had me smiling at the end!

    Nancy in Iowa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for version 2 - I love the sense of inclusion, and celebration, and the fact that it's girls who come up with such creative answers is another plus.

    www.rogerstoryteller.com.sg

    ReplyDelete

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