A fairy tale: The old man and his three daughters
Once there was a little old man who lived in the woods with his three daughters. As he lay dying, he called them over to his deathbed.
“I am dying,” he said. “I am sure one of you has poisoned me, but I don’t want you all to fight, so I’m not telling you which one it was.”
“He’s lying,” the eldest said. “He just wants us to fight.”
“I have a small treasure buried under the house,” he said. “There is only one way to determine the successor. You must fight.”
“Goddammit, dad,” the eldest said. “Why is it always this?”
“Give a dying man his wish,” the father insisted.
“I’ll fight,” said the youngest daughter, who was the sweetest and most beautiful (anyone who’s ever read a fairy tale knows that the youngest child is always the best and most enabling child). “Since it is what father wishes.”
“Oh my god, what kind of man is she going to marry?” The eldest groaned.
“Okay,” said the middle to the youngest. “You and me. Let’s scrap.”
“Thank you, my children,” said the father. “Please, someone make popcorn. As a dying-wish favor?”
There was a throwdown. Hair flew, blood flew, molars flew. The youngest nearly lost an eye. The middle broke her arm. After a bitter struggle, the middle child triumphed.
She dug where the father pointed and pulled a purse from the dirt.
“A dollar thirty-eight. Really, dad?”
But the old man was already dead, a faint smile on his face.
“At least we were able to give him some joy before he died,” the youngest said piously.
“I hate my life,” said the eldest.