In a particular village, there were two brothers. Both were married.
The Elder’s wife came from a low-income family, while the Younger’s went from a rich one. Naturally, they were always at loggerheads.
“I am the Elder’s wife,” the poor girl would say. “You must obey me.”
“I am of a noble family,” the younger brother’s wife said. “I have the right to order you.”
There was no way of reconciling the two women. So the brothers separated. Gradually the elder brother’s family grew in size, expenses increased, and he fell on evil days. At the same time, the younger brother thrived and prospered.
One day the Elder went to his younger brother and asked him for a loan of his oxen for a couple of days to till his land.
“Go to my farm,” the Younger said. “you will find my oxen there. Take one pair today and another tomorrow. Don’t tire them out. Tell the farm hands that I am permitting you to take the oxen.
The Elder went to the younger’s farm and was surprised to see a strange person tilling the field.
“This field belongs to my brother,” he told the stranger. “Who are you? Why are you working in this field?”
“Don’t you know me?” the other replied. “I am your bro- there’s Luck. While your brother sits comfortably at home, I cultivate his farm for him.”
“Really?” the Elder exclaimed. “What about my Luck, then?”
“Ah, he is a lazy lout!” the other replied. “Do you see that bush there? He lies behind that bush and sleeps all the time. That is why you are so poor. Go and wake him up if you can.”
“How dare he do this to me?” the Elder said.
He armed himself with a strong twig, went up to the bush, and saw Luck sleeping like a log of wood.
After a couple of strokes, the sleeper awoke and cried, “Don’t chastise me for nothing! What harm have I done to you?”
“Is it not enough that you waste your time in lazy sleep while your brother there works in the field industriously?” the Elder shouted, threatening to thrash his Luck again.
“Stop, stop!” the other protested. “I am quite ignorant about this cultivation. If it were to be traded, I could show you what I am capable of!”
“Trade?” the Elder asked, puzzled. “How can I trade? I have no capital. What am I to trade with ?”
“I am your capital!” the other replied. “I will get you huge profits, whatever your trade-in. If you have faith in me, shift to the city at once. “
The Elder packed all his things. When he was about to leave his house with his wife, he heard a weeping sound from the ceiling of his house. He lifted his head and saw an ugly woman clinging to the beam.
“Who are you, woman?” the Elder asked. “When did you enter this house, and why are you weeping?”
“I have always been in this house, my son,” she replied. “You see, I am your Ill-luck. I had such a happy time with you, and now you are going away. It is so cruel on your part to leave me.” She began to wail.
“Is that you, Auntie!” the Elder said. “How can I go without you? I can’t! Enter this box, and I shall take you away with me.”
He emptied a wooden box. His Ill-luck jumped down into the box
The Elder closed the box, locked it, took it into his backyard, dug a bottomless pit and buried the box.
“Stay there forever!” he said. “Don’t you ever let me see you again!”
Then he moved to the city with his wife and children.
In the city, he sold away all his old clothes. Luckily he got good money for them. With the money, he bought new clothes and sold them for profit. Whenever he made a transaction, he doubled his money until he became wealthy.
The Younger learned that his brother, who had gone to the city, acquired great wealth, and he went to see him.
“Brother,” he said to the Elder, “how did you acquire so much wealth in such a short time?”
“It was quite easy!” the Elder replied. “I saw my Ill-luck cling to the beam of my house. I put her in a box and buried her a fathom deep by the side of the well. Then onwards, my Luck turned. “
The younger was jealous of his brother’s good fortune. He took leave of the Elder and went straight to his old house. He dug up the box, broke the lock and let Ill-luck out.
“Thank you, my son!” said the ugly dame. With great agility, she sprang up and jumped onto his neck.
“Get down, fool!” the younger shouted. “I am not your man. He is in the city.”
“Don’t utter that scoundrel’s name!” the ugly woman said. “He makes me sick! You are so kind, so charitable! I will never, never part from you!”
The younger was cruelly punished for his jealousy. He never could throw off the Ill-luck which got upon his shoulders. He lost all his wealth. When he went to live with his in-laws, they treated him indifferently. Finally, he ran away and became a mendicant.