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Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce

177 - The Patriot and the Banker
The Disinterested Arbiter - 179

The Mourning Brothers

OBSERVING that he was about to die, an Old Man called his two Sons to his bedside and expounded the situation.

"My children," said he, "you have not shown me many marks of respect during my life, but you will attest your sorrow for my death. To him who the longer wears a weed upon his hat in memory of me shall go my entire fortune. I have made a will to that effect."

So when the Old Man was dead each of the youths put a weed upon his hat and wore it until he was himself old, when, seeing that neither would give in, they agreed that the younger should leave off his weeds and the elder give him half of the estate. But when the elder applied for the property he found that there had been an Executor!

Thus were hypocrisy and obstinacy fitly punished.

Contents
177 - The Patriot and the Banker
The Disinterested Arbiter - 179

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