When two brothers discover a message written on a stone in the forest, the younger brother follows the instructions and sets off for an adventure, while the elder brother mistrusts what he reads, and decides to stay where he is, living a quiet life. When the younger brother returns, they wonder about which of them has led the happier life. A classic tale by Leo Tolstoy. (duration – 8 minutes) A bonus episode from Journey with Story. This episode is for children Ages 9-10.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of setting off on an adventure – maybe going to explore a remote island or taking a long voyage across the sea?
Would you try to talk your friend out of taking such a risky journey?
Or would you encourage him to take such an adventure?
Hello Everyone –I’m Kathleen Pelley- Welcome to another special bonus episode of Journey with Story. In these discombobulating times, stories are a great way to feed our hearts and make us feel a little braver or bolder, calmer or kinder….
Mums and Dads – this story is suited to OLDER children – ages 9 and up and is not at all suited for children younger than that….so if you have a littler one, please choose one of my other episodes…
Today’s tale is about someone who leaves his safe, quiet life, to go on a great adventure. When I have finished, maybe you will be able to tell me what you think this story’s souvenir is….remember I mentioned before – even if a story is not true in that it never actually happened, it can still be true about what it means to be human in this world….and it is this truth which lingers with us that is the story souvenir – souvenir is a French word meaning to remember and so great stories will often have a truth that we will remember for a long time….
This story was written by one of the greatest writers who ever lived – Leo Tolstoy.
Let’s take a journey with THE TWO BROTHERS
Two brothers set out on a journey together. At noon they lay down in a forest to rest. When they
woke up they saw a stone lying next to them. There was something written on the stone, and they
tried to make out what it was.
“Whoever find this stone,” they read, “let him go straight into the forest at sunrise. In the forest a
river will appear; let him swim across the river to the other side. There he will find a she-bear
and her cubs. Let him take the cubs from her and run up the mountain with them, without once
looking back. On the top of the mountain he will see a house, and in that house he will find
When they had read what was written on the stone, the younger brother said:
“Let us go together. We can swim across the river, carry off the bear cubs, and take them to the house
on the mountain, and together find happiness.
“I am not going into the forest after bear cubs,” said the elder brother, “and I advise you not to
- In the first place, no one can know whether what is written on this stone is the truth –perhaps
it was written in jest. It is even possible that we have not read it correctly. In the second place,
even if what is written here is the truth — suppose we go into the forest and night comes, and we
cannot find the river. We shall be lost. And if we do find the river, how are we going to swim
across it? It may be broad and swift. In the third place, even if we swim across the river, do you
think it is an easy thing to take her cubs away from the she-bear? She will seize us, and, instead
of finding happiness, we shall perish, and all for nothing. In the fourth place, even if we
succeeded in carrying off the bear cubs, we could not run up a mountain without stopping to rest.
And, most important of all, the stone does not tell us what kind of happiness we should find in
that house. it may be that the happiness awaiting us there is not at all the sort of happiness we
“In my opinion,” said the younger brother, “you are wrong. What is written on the stone could
not have been put there without reason. And it is all perfectly clear. In the first place, no harm
will come to us if we try. In the second place, if we do not go, someone else will read the
inscription on the stone and find happiness, and we shall have lost it all. In the third place, if you
do not make an effort and try hard, nothing in the world will succeed. In the fourth place, I
should not want it thought that I was afraid of anything.”
The elder brother answered him by saying, “The proverb says: ‘In seeking great happiness small
pleasures may be lost.’ And also: ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’”
The younger brother replied, “I have heard: ‘He who is afraid of the leaves must not go into the
forest.’ And also: ‘Beneath a stone no water flows.
The younger brother set off, and the elder remained behind.
No sooner had the younger brother gone into the forest, than he found the river, swam across it,
and there on the other side was the she-bear, fast asleep. He took her cubs, and ran up the
mountain without looking back. When he reached the top of the mountain the people came out to
meet him with a carriage to take him into the city, where they made him their king.
He ruled for five years. In the sixth year, another king, who was stronger than he, waged war
against him. The city was conquered, and he was driven out.
Again the younger brother became a wanderer, and he arrived one day at the house of the elder
brother. The elder brother was living in a village and had grown neither rich nor poor. The two
brothers rejoiced at seeing each other, and at once began telling of all that had happened to them.
“You see, said the elder brother, “I was right. Here I have lived quietly and well, while you,
though you may have been a king, have seen a great deal of trouble,”
“I do not regret having gone into the forest and up the mountain,’ replied the younger brother. “I
may have nothing now, but I shall always have something to remember, while you have no memories at all.
Lot’s to ponder here….
what do you think this story’s souvenir is?
And which brother do you agree with?
Why is each brother happy with his own life?
Do you think they are both equally happy?
Don’t forget – I love to hear from all my listeners from all over the world! With your mummy, daddy or grown up friends help you can send me a picture you’ve drawn, request a birthday shout out or a special story! Please send messages on Instagram or Facebook @journeywithstory.
Mums and Dads – If you love this podcast please share with others, subscribe and write a review to support our ad-free weekly stories
Cheerio then, join me next time for JWS.