How the Little Brother Set Free His Big Brothers #DealMeIn

I’m participating in the Deal Me In story-reading challenge this year. Every year, participants read one short story a week, using a deck of cards to choose.

I’ve assigned my deck thusly:

Chekov = clubs

East of the Web = hearts

Rainbow Fairy Books = diamonds

Daily Science Fiction = spades

This week was diamonds. I grabbed one of the later volumes of Andrew Lang’s Rainbow Fairly Books (Brown). The story I picked at random was “How the Little Brother Set Free His Big Brothers”, a North American Indian tale. Which tribe, I do not know.

In this story, a father eggs his sons on to kill more bears than they need in order to please him. The spirits of the bears complain to the Bear Chief. He punishes the older brothers by turning them into half-human/half-bear monsters with their human consciousness intact. Then he waylays and kills the father and, for good measure, the mother.

He has plans to trap and transform the youngest son, but the boy inadvertently makes magic arrows that demolish and burn anything he shoots. He has a second strength in that he’s observant and clever. But the biggest point in his favor is that the Bear Chief’s sister feels sorry for the boys. Even after the boy destroys the mountain, burning it and all its inhabitants to cinders (except for the Bear Chief’s sister and all belonging to her), she helps him restore his brothers and sends them home expressly to take care of their sister.


  • Don’t take more than you need.
  • Be nice to sisters.
  • It’s all the parents’ fault.

If YOU need a short story to read, I have free ones here (not counting the Hot Flashes) on my Free Reads page. I also have three collections (not counting the Hot Flashes collection) for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write about a sister.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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