The Brothers by Bjornstjerne Bjornson

Topics: Coming out, LGBT Pages: 7 (2740 words) Published: June 24, 2013
The schoolmaster's name was Baard, and he had a brother named Anders. They had thought a great deal of each other, enlisted together, lived together in town, went through the war together, served in the same company, and had both risen to the rank of corporal. When they came home from the war, people said they were two fine, stalwart fellows. Then their father died. He left much personal property, which was difficult to divide, and therefore they said to each other that they would not let this come between them, but would put the property up at auction, that each might buy what he wanted, and both share the proceeds. And it was done. But the father had owned a large gold watch, which had come to be known far and wide, for it was the only gold watch people in those parts had ever seen. When this watch was put up, there were many wealthy men who wanted it, but when both brothers began to bid, all the pthers desisted. Now Baard expected that Anders would let him have it, and Anders expected the same of Baard. They bid in turn, each trying the other out, and as they bid they looked hard at each other. WHen the watch had gone up to twenty dollars, Baard began to feel that this was not the kind of his brother, and bid over him until he almost reached thirty. When Anders did not withdraw even then Baard felt that Anders no longer remembered how good he had often been to him, and that he was furthermore the elder of the two; and the watch went over thirty. Anders still kept on. Baard then raised the price to forty dollars with one bound, and no longer looked at his brother. It grew still in the auction room, only the bailiff repeated the figures quietly. Anders thought, as he stood there, that if Baard could afford to go to forty dollars, so could he, and if Baard begrudged him the watch, he might as well take it, and bid over him. This to Baard seemed the greatest disgrace that had ever befallen him; he bid fifty dollars in a low voice. There were many people there, and Anders said to himself that he would not let his brother mock him before them all, and again raised the bid. Baard burst out laughing. "One hundred dollars and my brotherhood into the bargain,: he said, as he turned on his heel, and left the room. A little later, as he stood saddling the horse he had just bought at the auction, a man came out to him. "The watch is yours; Anders gave in."

The instant he heard the news, there welled up in him a sense of remorse; he thought of his brother and not of the watch. the saddle was ready in place but he paused, his hand on his horse, uncertain whether to mount. Many people came out, Anders among them, and when he saw his brother, with horse saddled, ready to leave, he little knew what Baard was turning over his mind. "Thanks for the watch, Baard," he shouted over to him. "You shall never see the day when your brother shall tread on your heels!" "Nor you the day I shall darken your doors again!" Baard answered, his face pale as he swung himself on his horse. After that day neither of them ever set foot in the home where they lived with their father. Anders married into a crofter's family, not long afterwards, but he didn't invite Baard to the wedding. Nor did Baard go the the church.The first year he was married, Anders lost his only cow. It was found dead one morning on the north side of the house, where it had been tethered, and no one could explain what it had died of. Other misfortunes befell him, and he fared from bad to worse. But the heaviest blow came when his hayloft and all it contained burned down one night in the dead winter. No one knew how the fire had started. "This has been done by someone who wishes me ill," Anders said, and all that night he wept. He became a poor man, andhe lost his inclination to work. The evening after the fire, Baard appeared at his brother's house. Anders lay on the bed but sprang up as Baard entered. "What do you want here?" he asked, then stopped short, and stood staring fixedly at...
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