Once upon a time there was a time when there was no one but God.
There was a father who had two sons. When he died the young men came and divided the property fairly.
The younger brother took no trouble about his land, but always had good and plentiful harvests. The elder brother toiled from morning till night and wore himself out, but never had any crops at all.
At last he came to his younger brother and said: "See, your share of our father's land is better than mine, let us exchange." They did so, but it made no difference; again the younger brother's crops were good and the other's very bad.
One day the elder Brother bethought himself of a plan - he would go to his brother's heap of fresh-reaped corn and steal some and spread it on top of his own. In the evening, therefore, he rose up and took a donkey and a sack and went to his brother's place. As he was just going to steal the corn a man stepped out in front of him and cried: "Who are you? And what are you doing here?" He went up to this stranger and asked: "Nay, rather, who are you?" "Oh, I'm your brother's Luck," said he, "and I keep watch here that no one may steal his corn." "Well, where's my Luck, then," asked the unfortunate elder Brother.
"Your Luck is in such and such a place on the top of such and such a mountain. And if you want the work of your hands to prosper you must go off there and wake him." So the big Brother went home and set his affairs in order, and gave his property in charge to his younger brother and collected all that was necessary for his journey and set his face to the road.
He travelled and travelled till he found a lion in his path. The lion came up to eat him, but he begged and implored that his life might be spared. "I'll let you go in safety," said the lion, "on condition that you tell me exactly what your business is and where you are off to."
Then the man told the whole story of himself and his brother, and said: "So now I'm going to wake my Luck." The lion said: "When you have wakened him, ask him this question on my behalf: 'Why is it that such and such a lion, however much he eats, never feels satisfied? What is the cure for this?'" "Very well," answered the Brother.
He went on and on again, till he came to a village, and stayed the night there. There was an old man there who was the lord of the village, and was himself a cultivator, and he had a daughter. He entertained the traveller that night, and in the course of conversation asked him: "Where are you going to?" In reply he told again all the story of himself and his brother: "So I'm going now to wake my Luck." His host said: "When you have wakened him, say: 'Such and such a cultivator says: "I have a piece of ground, and however much trouble I take, digging it up and watering it, it won't yield a good harvest." Now, what's the matter with it? And what's the remedy.'" The Brother agreed.
In the morning he started out again, and travelled on and on till he came to a city. This city had a King, whose command was that when any stranger arrived he should at once be brought into the King's presence. As soon as the elder Brother reached the city gate the King's men seized him and carried him to the royal presence. "Who are you? Where is your home? What has brought you here?" He told the King the whole story, and wound up: "And so now I am going to wake my Luck." "Well," said the King, "when you've wakened him, say: 'A certain King says: "I take a great deal of trouble for my country and my people, and yet my kingdom has not the glory and prosperity that it ought to have." Now what is the remedy for this?'" The Brother agreed and set out again.
He travelled on and on till he reached the mountain. He climbed up it and saw a tall man lying asleep, and the sound of his snoring rose in the air. He kicked him with his toe and said: "Get up! Are you going to go on sleeping for ever?" The man got up and rubbed his eyes and said: "Well, now that I am awake, you may set your mind at rest, I shan't go to sleep again any more."
The Brother then asked his questions and got the answers, and started out on his homeward way. He travelled and travelled till he came back to the same city, and they brought him again before the King. "Well, did you wake your Luck?" "Yes," said he. "Did you ask him my question?" - "Yes." - "Well, what did he say?" - "Give orders that every one should leave the room and I will tell you privately." The King gave orders, and every one went out, leaving them alone. Then the Brother spoke and said: "My Luck said: 'The reason that your kingdom does not prosper is because you are a woman, and a woman's rule is never glorious.' " The King began to implore him, saying: "O, What's-your-Name, don't tell my secret to any one. Now that you have learnt it, I shall hand over my kingdom to you and become your wife." "Nay, not so," answered he, "I must go home to my own country, and now that my Luck is awake my property will yield good harvests." Much as the King implored him to stay, saying: "I will give you ten such properties!" he would not listen, and left the city.
On and on he went till he came back to the same village and went to the house of the same old man, who again received him as his guest and asked: "Well, did you wake your Luck?" - "Yes." - "And what is my answer?" - "He says there is a treasure buried under the ground which you are cultivating. Dig out the treasure and the ground will yield well." The old man brought tools, and they both worked hard and dug and dug till at last they came on a very great treasure: seven jars of Chosroes all full of gold, and over the mouth of each jar a golden brick, and on the top of each brick a golden cock. Then the old man came up and said: "O, What's-your-Name, I am old and have one foot in the grave. Come, take my daughter and this treasure and all shall be yours." "Nay, not so," answered the Brother, "I must go back to my own country. My Luck is now awake and my property will yield good harvests." And though the old man persisted and begged and implored him to stay, he would not consent, and started out again.
He travelled on and on till he came to the lion, who came out to meet him, and said: "Well, come and tell me all your adventures on your journey. Did you wake your Luck?" The Brother related all that had happened to him, and told of the King who was a woman and had wanted to marry him, and of the cultivator with his treasure who offered him his daughter's hand. "Well, and what was his answer to my question?" asked the lion. "My Luck said," answered the elder Brother, "that whenever you meet a man who is a fool you should tear him to pieces and eat him; that is the cure for your trouble."
The lion thought for a moment, and then said: "Well, the truth is I never met a man who was a greater fool than thou art!" and therewith he tore him in pieces and ate him.
And now my story has come to an end, but the sparrow never got home.