The Cruel Brother
At the end of the celebration, her brother John hoisted her up on her horse, and said: “You are high and I am low, give me a kiss before you go.”
By Liana Paraschaki
Once upon a time, three ladies stood in a valley, standing tall among the flowers. Soon, three lords came over, to ask the three ladies in marriage. The first lord, clad in red, asked the first lady: “Oh lady fair, will you be my bride? With the red, green, and the yellow.” The lady accepted, and soon became his bride.
The second lord, clad in green, approached the second lady, and asked: “Oh lady fair, will you be my queen? With the red, green, and the yellow.” So, the second lady gave her hand in marriage to the second lord, and soon became his queen.
Then, the third lord approached the third lady, and kneeling before her asked: “Oh lady fair, will you be my marrow? With the red, green, and the yellow.” The third lady seemed to hesitate. She told her lord that she wished to marry him, but would do so only if he asked the permission of her father, her mother, her sister Ann and her brother John. But the lord, smitten as he was, reassured her that he had already done so; he had asked for the permission of her father and her mother and her sister Ann. Only her brother John he had forgotten.
And so, the happy couple was soon united in marriage. On their wedding day, every stared at and admired the bride – as the bards tell us, every man who saw her wished to be her bridegroom instead. Her father led her to her new husband, and her mother danced before them, her sister accompanying her throughout. At the end of the celebration, her brother John hoisted her up on her horse, and said: “You are high and I am low, give me a kiss before you go.” When the bride bent to kiss her brother’s cheek, he stabbed her in the abdomen, having not forgiven her for her husband’s oversight. The bride was mortally wounded, and it was assumed she would die. “But what will you leave for your father?,” she was asked. “To my father, I will leave my horse, the white steed that brought me here. And to my mother I will leave the gown I wear, the one made of silk. And to my sister Ann I will leave my hair net and my golden fan. As for my brother John, I will leave him the highest of gallows to hang on.”
“And what of your brother John’s wife?”
“To her, I will leave grief and sorrow, enough to end her life. And to their young children, I will leave the whole world, wide enough for them to roam free.”