A wise woman's magic
Once upon a time, there were three brothers named Samuel, Timothy and Xander, who lived nearby the woods. Every day, they would venture into the forest to fell wood to sell it later in the market.
Even though they lived a good life, they were unhappy. Each one hankered for something else, and would pine for it.
One day, while Samuel, Timothy and Xander were returning home from the woods, they saw an old haggard woman bent low with a sack on her back. As they were kind and compassionate, the brothers offered to carry the sack for her to her home. She was very grateful to the brothers, who took turns in carrying the sack. When they reached the woman's home, they were very tired.
Now, this old woman was no ordinary person; she had magical powers. Pleased with the brothers' kind and selfless nature, she asked if she could help them with anything, as a reward.
"We are not happy, and that has become our greatest cause of concern," replied Samuel. The woman asked what would make them happy. Each brother spoke of a different thing that would please him.
"A splendid mansion with plenty of servants would make me happy," said Samuel. "A big farm with lots of harvest would make me happy," said Timothy. "A beautiful wife would make me happy," said Xander.
"If these things will give you happiness, you deserve them for helping a poor helpless person like me. Go home, and each of you shall find exactly what you have wished for." Said the old woman.
The brothers knew nothing about the woman's magical powers and went home, not expecting anything to happen. Upon returning home though, they saw that there was a huge mansion besides their cottage with servants waiting outside! They greeted Samuel and ushered him in. Asides the mansion, a yellow farmland showed itself. A ploughman came and announced that the land belonged to Timothy. Just at that moment, a beautiful maiden approached Xander and coyly said that she was his wife. The brothers were filled with joy at this new turn of events. They thanked their lucky stars and adapted to their new lifestyles.
The days passed and soon a year was over. Samuel had grown tired of owning the mansion. He became lazy and did not supervise his servants into taking proper care of the mansion. Timothy, who had built a decent house next to his farmland, found it burdensome to plough the fields and sow seeds. Xander too, grew used to his beautiful wife and no longer found any joy in keeping her company. In short, all of them were unhappy again.
One day, the three of them met up and decided to visit the old woman again. "We must go and seek her help now. It is she who will be able to tell us the secret to attaining happiness," said Samuel.
When they came to the old woman, each of the brothers recounted how he had turned unhappy again. "Please tell us how we can once more be happy," said Timothy.
"Well," replied the old woman. "It is all in your own hands. See, when each of you made his wish and it was granted, you were happy. However, happiness never lasts without a very important thing—content. Earlier, since you were happy but never really content or satisfied, boredom and misery overcame you and you became sad again. Only if you learn to be content, can you truly enjoy the bliss of happiness."
Samuel, Timothy and Xander realized their mistake and went back home. Remembering that happiness and content went side by side, never again did the brothers take their blessings for granted. And thus, they lived happily ever after.