Men tell a tale of two brothers who were orphans. They came of a poor family, and having no land of their own they sought work where they could.
“We are poor,” the elder brother remarked one day. “What should we do to gain riches.?”
Look for them,” the younger one suggested.
“But where? Such things are not easily found.”
“We should look for riches where riches abound, and that is in foreign places far from here.”
“Then let us travel,” agreed the elder. “Let us each take a different direction, and after the moon we will return and see if either of us had been successful.”
Going from their village they came upon two roads; one went towards the rising sun, the other towards the setting moon; and here the brothers parted.
The younger one traveled east with his dog and his spear and a small bag of food; he walked for many days over hills and streams and mountains and valleys, and finally the road, which had starter out so boldly, became an uncertain track snaking thinly through great forests and dark swamps in the most remote corner of the land. The young man grew afraid, but just as he was about to turn back he came upon the ruins of an old town, buried in vines and shrubs.
“Perhaps, in a place like this where men have lived and died,” he reasoned, “there will be hidden treasures.” He began to look, and his dog helped him. For a whole day he hunted in all the hundred places where treasure might have been hidden, but discovered nothing more interest than a large pot.
The pot was too heavy to pick up and too tall for him to see inside; but he knew that such a tall and beautiful post must have been used for some important purpose, and so using all his strength he pushed it over… and a monster out on the ground.
The young man was alarmed. He watched in growing fear as the monster swelled and swelled, just as if it had been stuffed inside the pot like a dog in a peanut shell; and when the thing had grown very big indeed it glared down at the young man. He made an angry growling sound, and forest birds took flight.
“Arrgh! Foolish man! For centuries I have slept, and now you have awakened me. You must now carry me on you back until you die; and if you will not, you shall die at once!”
The young treasure-hunter decided he would have to try, although it seemed an impossible task; for it was a large monster, and although one foot was only as large as a pebble, the other was as large as a house. He managed to barely lift the creature, and for a time he staggered through the ruined town; but such was the demon’s weight that soon the young man was exhausted, and set his burden down.
“Carry me!” the monster roared.
“One moment, Master; I must lay an egg.” The youth withdrew among the weeds and waited, resting, for some time. He knew he could not carry this demon any longer, and stood in danger of losing his life; so he took a small gourd of red pepper from his little bag, and as he returned to the monster he pretended to be eating it. The monster demanded:
“What are you eating?”
“It is a magic powder which will make me strong; strong enough to carry you.”
The creature snatched the gourd and emptied a pound of red pepper into his mouth. Within a moment his eyes had bulged like coconuts, fumes issued from his mouth and streams of perspiration began pouring down his face. He fell down and rolled on the ground in pain, and the young man trust his spear into the monster’s heart.
He was curious to know what made one feet so large, and what made the other small, so he slit the little feet with his knife and found a nut inside; and since he did not know what kind of nut it was, he gave it to his dog. The dog ate the nut and began to grow smaller and smaller until finally he disappeared, and only the nut was left. The young man had never seen a nut like this before, so he picked it up and put it in his little bag.
When he slit open the bigger feet he was surprise to see cattle the size of dogs come forth, and they at once began to grow in size until they formed a handsome herd. Here were riches indeed: so he set out to return to his village with the cattle, and at the junction of the two roads he met his brother. His brother had been frightened of the forest and had not journeyed far.
“Greetings. What fortune did you have?” the younger brother asked.
“No fortune, only blistered feet and hunger, red ants and thirst, and other things. and what of you? Are these your cattle?”
“I won them from a monster. Let us return to our village as rich men, and live there with fine clothes and feasts, as rich men do.”
They began driving the cattle towards their village; but the older brother held jealousy in his heart, and began wondering if he would become a slave to his rich brother. He suddenly thrust his spear through the young man’s heart, took his little bag and flung his body carelessly in a ditch. When he reached his village he left the cattle outside in a field, hung the bag upon a bush, and went in to see the Chief.
“O Chief,” he said, “I traveled far abroad, through many hardships and great danger, and killed a monster who had many cattle. I have brought the cattle back and they wait outside the village; but since I have no land to graze them on, I would give half of them to you if you will give me land.”
The Chief agreed to do this, and bade his councilors discover the most suitable grazing land.
“Take me to this herd,” he commanded, and the wicked brother led him outside the village. But during this time one of the cattle had found the bag and eaten the magic nut, which held a fragrance loved by animals, and the beast shrank and disappeared.
Other cattle came and found the nut lying on the ground, ate it, and in turn shrank away, until the whole herd had disappeared. So when the murdered and the Chief came to the appointed place, no sign remained of the beautiful fat herd. The Chief was furious.
“You lying dog! What foolery is this? Do you seek to trade with cattle you do not have? Am I a fool that I should give land to a liar and a cheat? Men, let this rogue be bound and fed on cattle-dung until he dies.”
Riches come, and pass away and murder follows them.