August 5, 2013
One City, Two Brothers by Chris Smith, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty
One City, Two Brothers
by Chris Smith
illustrated by Aurelia Fronty
When someone mentions the wisdom of King Solomon, you might think of the two mothers arguing over the baby. Here is another story, this one allegedly told by Solomon to two brothers, arguing over their late father’s property.
Long ago, two brothers lived in a valley that was perfect for farming. Although they lived in separate villages, together they formed their late father’s land, splitting the crop evenly between them. One brother married. He and his wife had children and, blessed by the crops from this farm, they had a home and enough to eat. The other brother never married but was happy with his quiet life.
One year, they had an especially good crop. After they split up the bags of grain, each brother began to wonder about the fairness of how the grain was divided. The married brother knew that his children would care for him when he was an old man but his brother had no children. He felt sorry for his brother and decided to secretly give him some of his own grain. The unmarried brother knew that his brother had a family that counted on him for food. He wanted to make his brother’s life easier and decided to secretly give him some of his own grain.
DO NOT READ ON IF IT WILL BOTHER YOU TO KNOW THE ENDING OF THE STORY
As the two brother’s worked to secretly held each other out, they bumped into each other. The place where they met and each realized what the other brother had been trying to do for him is where the Temple was later built.
Solomon has always been one of my favorite Biblical figures and I’m happy to know another Solomon tale. The fact that this is a story Solomon told vs a story about Solomon seems highly appropriate. Solomon was a wise and caring leader. Surely he had many stories and parables that he used when trying to get through to people.
I had to smile when I read the note at the end of this book because this is a Muslim folk tale. Perhaps we can all take a lesson from it and, in generously caring for each other, create a Holy place.