Joseph found the river and walked a few days until he saw
a robin fly across the river. He knew this was the place
where his brother Brill had poured the water from the clay
vessel into the river to make the land fertile again.
Many footprints led away from the river, and Joseph
followed them. Soon he encountered a man riding a donkey
and a man on foot. Both men had beards.
The man on foot spoke first. "What is it you want
oh beardless one in the Land of Men with Beards?"
"I have not heard the story of your beards, and I would
like to sit around your campfire tonight to hear you tell the tale,"
"And who are you that we might know to whom we tell our tale?"
the man said.
"I am Joseph from the family of the Crow," he replied.
"Very well young man. Walk with us a stretch, and we will get
to know each other. I am Brizzly, and this is my brother Nezzurd.
The donkey is laden with sacks of rice we are bringing home
from the general store to feed our village."
After a few hours they came to two huts.
"Welcome to our village. This is my hut, and that is Nezzurd's hut.
You will stay in my hut tonight oh Joseph from the family
of the Crow. In return, we will ask one small favor. You must help
us count the grains of rice."
At that moment a robin landed on the roof of Brizzly's hut.
"Very well, I will count one scoop of them, and you and Nezzurd
will each count one scoop of rice."
They counted until dark. Nezzurd produced a piece of paper on which
he wrote down each of their totals.
"Come with me to my hut, young Joseph," invited Nezzurd.
In his hut were several branches that Joseph recognized from
the old growth forest.
"How many leaves do you think are on this branch if I may ask?"
Joseph studied the branch for a few minutes.
"I'd say 52," he replied.
Nezzurd laughed long and hard. "No dear boy, there are 141,"
he exclaimed. "Come, let us have a campfire."
"My brother and I like to count things," explained Brizzly
once the fire was underway. "Come, let us hear your story."
At that moment a crow appeared in the fire. Joseph sensed
that only he had seen the crow.
"Yes in due time I will tell you my story," replied Joseph.
"First we will finish counting the grains of rice."
They sat in silence for a long while, for Joseph knew he would
have more credibility with the Men who have Beards who like
to count things if first he finished the counting task.
Two days later, each man had counted his scoop of rice.
"I have 50,000 grains," said Brizzly, but he looked troubled.
"I have 40,000 grains," said Nezzurd, but he also looked troubled.
"I have 30,000 grains," said Joseph, hoping this would relieve them.
It didn't. "You have tricked us Joseph from the family of the Crow,"
they both exclaimed. "How will we every know how much rice
we bought at the general store?"
"You bought 120,000 grains," Joseph responded, hoping this would
It did not. "That is a lie," Brizzly and Nezzurd shouted.