THE THREE BROTHERS
troubled by them, for he thought to himself, ' If you are afraid of a blow you will never get the house.'
When the appointed time had come the three brothers met once more, and they sat down and discussed the best opportunity of showing off their skill. Just then a hare came running across the field towards them. ' Look! ' said the barber, ' here comes something in the nick of time!' seized basin and soap, made a lather whilst the hare was approaching, and then, as it ran at full tilt, shaved its moustaches, without cutting it or injuring a single hair on its body.
'I like that very much indeed,' said the father. ' Unless the others exert themselves to the utmost, the house will be yours.'
Soon after they saw a man driving a carriage furiously towards them. ' Now, father, you shall see what I can do !' said the blacksmith, and he sprang after the carriage, tore off the four shoes of the horse as it was going at the top of its speed, and shod it with four new ones without checking its pace.
' You are a clever fellow!' said the father, ' and know your trade as well as your brother. I really don't know to which of you I shall give the house.'
Then the third son said, ' Father, let me also show you something;' and, as it was beginning to rain, he drew his sword and swung it in cross cuts above his head, so that not a drop fell on him, and the rain fell heavier and heavier, till at last it was coming down like a waterspout, but he swung his sword faster and faster, and kept as dry as if he were under cover.
When the father saw this he was astonished, and said, 'You have produced the greatest masterpiece: the house is yours.'
Both the other brothers were quite satisfied, and praised him too, and as they were so fond of each other they all three remained at home and plied their trades; and as they were so experienced and skilful they earned