Southeast Asia / Burma - A Tall Tale
In Burma, three brothers known far and wide for the tall tales they told traveled from place to place telling strange stories to anyone who would listen. One day they encountered a prince bedecked in the most wonderful jewels. Wanting these precious treasures for themselves, the three brothers issued a challenge to the prince hoping they could trick him out of his wealth. "Let us tell each other stories of our adventures and if any one doubts the truth of what the other is saying then that person must become the slave of the storyteller." The prince agreed to their rules. The brothers asked a passer-by to be the judge, and with that the storytelling competition began. The first brother stated that when he was a young boy he climbed a tall tree to hide from his brothers, but then realized he could not climb down. "So I went to a cottage, borrowed a rope and then climbed down the tree."
The second brother said that same day he went looking for his brother. "I saw something moving in the bushes. I ran after it and it was a huge, hungry, man-eating tiger. He opened his mouth and I jumped down the tigerŐs throat. I slid quickly inside the tigerŐs belly before he could chew me up. Then, I started to jump up and down until the tiger spit me out with such force that I flew hundreds of yards back into our village. And from that day on the tiger never bothered our village again."
The third brother was determined to tell an even more absurd tale than his brothers had, one that even the stoic prince would doubt. He began, "One day I met some fishermen who seemed very sad. They told me they had not caught a single fish to feed their families all week. I dove into the water and discovered the problem - one large fish had eaten all the smaller fish and was cleverly avoiding the fishermensŐ nets. The giant fish came toward me and I quickly took out my sword and slashed it open. All the little fish jumped out of its belly, only to find themselves swimming directly into the nets of the hungry fishermen." Much to the surprise of the three brothers, the prince did not doubt a word of their tales. Left with no other choice, the brothers vowed not to doubt the princeŐs story either.
The prince calmly began his tale. "As you can see, I am a wealthy prince. I came here looking for three runaway slaves. I was about to give up my search when I saw you. You are the ones that I seek. My search, and thus my story, is over." Dumbfounded, the brothers did not know what to do. The judge said the prince had won the wager. Rather than take the three brothers as his slaves, the prince made them return to their village with the promise that they would never tell tall tales again. And from that time forth, the three brothers became known throughout all of Burma for their truth and honesty.