I have always loved this ancient Hebrew/Arabic tale. This story is dear to me because it reminds me of my two sons. If you read the end of the post you will see why.
The story may also be a reminder to us to help our brothers and sisters of the world who may need our help and may someday help us too.
Once many years ago, a very wealthy, widowed farmer, who knew he was dying, divided his fields between his two sons, Jonah and Micah. The father of these two sons soon died. His two sons grieved his passing as was appropriate and proceeded with their lives, planting the crops of grain on the inherited land.
Each son’s farm was equal in size and on opposite sides of a large mountain. Each son grew to manhood and worked his own farm. Jonah married and soon had six children. Micah never married.
One night Micah was looking at his bountiful harvest of grain, which he had just stored in his barns. He began to think of his brother, Jonah who had to support his wife and six offspring.
Soon these were his thoughts: “It is not fair that the fields be divided equally because Jonah needs so much more than I do to support his family. Tonight I will take a large load of grain to his barns to increase his profit when he sells it the next day. Then he will have more money to support his family in the future.”
So that night, Micah hitched up the oxen to his wagon; loaded the wagon with grain till it was full and proceeded around the mountain that separated the two farms.
About the same time Jonah, was looking at his bountiful harvest of grain, which he had just stored in his barns. He began to think of his brother, Micah, who had no children.
Soon these were his thoughts: “It is not fair that the fields be divided equally because Micah has no sons or children to take care of him when he is old. Tonight, I will take a large load of grain to his barns and that will give him a larger profit to set aside for his aging years.”
So that night Jonah hitched up the oxen to his wagon; loaded the wagon with grain till it was full and proceeded around the mountain that separated the two farms but used the opposite side of the mountain from his brother’s path that night.
The next morning, each looked at his stores of grain and puzzled over how much grain there still was in their respective barns. Each decided to take a larger wagon of grain that night to the other brother’s storage barns. Each took the opposite side of the mountain to the other brother’s farm and deposited the grain as planned.
Again the following day each brother pondered what this could all mean. Each brother decided to take the grain one more time to his brother’s barn. This night they both chose to go over the top of the mountain.
As they each, with their loaded, oxen drawn wagons, reached the top of the mountain, they heard someone approaching and wondered who was coming toward them.
Soon the moon’s light revealed the face of each brother to the other. They both dropped the reins of the oxen and ran into each other’s arms with tears of joy for the great love between them.
Then they each knew that they would never go lacking for help or support. They knelt and thanked God for the blessing of a brother’s love and promised to always help each other in times of need.
It is said that God saw the deeds of these brothers that night and wept tears of joy because of the greatness of the love between the two brothers.
My Two Sons
My first son, I’ll call Micah, married a wonderful woman. I am thrilled and overjoyed by the love, strength, and support they give each other. I have a second son, I’ll call Jonah, whom I adopted several years ago. He has been married seventeen years, also to a wonderful woman and they have two sons and a daughter.
The story of my two sons’ relationship is this. While Micah was in high school, Jonah was in junior high. At different times they each spontaneously helped each other when one was confronted by bullies on the school bus on the way to and from school.
Jonah’s childhood was in a home of turmoil. He came home with Micah many times after school. I fixed snacks for him and treated him like a second son when he came over. He and Micah called each other “Brother” since those days in high school. Jonah also called me, Mom.
My husband talked on the phone with Jonah many times when I was at work on the night shift and helped him learn how to think about things, how to study and gave general fatherly advice.
Jonah loved my husband like a father. Later Jonah married and he and his wife went to college for their education.
Advance the clock to years later. Jonah and his wife settled east of my home. My husband died several years ago as well as did Jonah’s parents. Micah and I agreed at my husband’s funeral that someday I would make Jonah formally part of our family; which I finally did several years ago.
So now I am blessed with two sons, two daughters, two grandsons and a granddaughter. My heart is filled with love and joy that we all have each other to claim as family. Micah and Jonah will have each other and their families for support and help in times of hardship and pain as well as times of joy and success.
I know too that when I am old, my care will not be the heavy responsibility of one son, but will be born by two sons and their wives. No matter how different they may be years later, they will always love and help each other. This is what brothers do.