On Two Close Brothers

I’m the youngest of three brothers, so I understand what it’s like to be close to your siblings. However, Jake and Will were inseparable. Only a year apart in age, the brothers did everything together. Part of their closeness came from the fact that their father died when they were young; the brothers, even though not quite teenagers, became the co-heads of their family, tasked with caring for their mother and other siblings.

The poverty that their dad’s death plunged them into also shaped their personalities. As they grew and began their advanced schooling, they realized that students at their university who came from wealthy families received more perks and privileges. Thus, because their low economic status kept them from social functions and other gatherings, the brothers decided to spend their time in study rather than pursuing popularity or social interaction. As a result, first Will and then Jake both finished at the top of their respective classes in college.

The brothers then began academic careers as researchers. This would continue to allow them to work together in various projects and papers. Of course, the pair lived together, shared an office, and even taught classes at the university in classrooms near to the other one. Will managed somehow to convince a woman to marry him; she had known the brothers since they were young boys, and she understood their close relationship. The fact that Will was now married didn’t separate the brothers. In fact, Jake moved in with the newlyweds practically without being invited; his presence was simply assumed. Their research continued unabated.

The brothers lived in a country that was only then starting to search for a national identity, and the brothers’ research sought to ferret out the literature of the nation, both written and oral. The government even provided stipends for the brothers to dedicate their efforts to such things as writing a national dictionary (this would be published after their deaths). But their true love was seeking and finding those old folk tales that they felt truly showed their country’s culture and ethics as well as the religious elements of their country’s burgeoning national consciousness.

Jake would form the stories in broad strokes, and Will would come behind him, edit the stories, and make them similar stylistically. Eventually, despite several other concurrent projects, the brothers managed to assemble over 200 stories. Jake and Will had no trouble finding someone to publish their findings. Their stories became not only hugely popular in their native land but also across the globe. Some historians claim that their work has been outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. Today, their work is listed by UNESCO as one of the world’s greatest works of literature.

You have read these stories many times.

Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

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