One day, God sent an angel to see how the brothers were living; if badly, the angel was to provide them with a better livelihood. The angel descended to earth, disguised as a beggar. Coming to the brother who was guarding the tree, he asked him for a pear. The young man plucked one from his share and gave it to him, saying, This is for you from my share; I cannot give you anything from my brothers'. The angel thanked him, and withdrew.
The next day, another brother remained on watch beneath the tree; again, the angel came and asked for a pear. This brother also plucked a pear from his share, gave it to him, and said, This is for you from my share; I cannot give you anything from my brothers'. The angel thanked him, and left.
When the third brother's turn came to watch the tree, the angel again went and asked him to share a pear. And the third brother plucked from his share, gave it to him and said, This is for you from my share; I cannot give you anything from my brothers'.
When the fourth day came, the angel came early in the morning, disguised as a monk. He found all three brothers beneath the tree. Come with me, the angel said to them; I will provide you with a better livelihood. They followed him without saying a word.
The angel led them to a large, rushing stream. He asked the oldest brother, What do you want? He answered, That this water be turned to wine, and given to me. The angel made the sign of the cross with the staff in his hand, and wine flowed instead of water. They then prepared casks, and they poured wine. This is for you, according to your desire!said the angel to the older brother, and left him in that place.
He went on further with the other two to a fresh pasture, where doves covered the entire field. The angel asked the second brother, What do you desire? That all these doves were sheep, and belonged to me. The angel made the sign of the cross over the field with his staff, and in place of doves appeared sheep. Some old ladies brought sheepfolds; others bottled milk; a third group skinned the cream; others made cheese; still others churned butter… This is for you, according to your desire! said the angel.
He took the youngest brother with him to another field, and asked, And what do you desire for yourself? I need only one thing, that the Lord might give me a wife with a good Christian upbringing. The angel replied, Oh, this is not so easy to procure.* There are only three women like this in the entire world: two are married, and one is a maiden, but two men are courting her.
Traveling far, they came to a town whose king had a daughter of good Christian upbringing. They had come to the town to ask the king for his daughter in marriage, but two kings were already courting her. The monk and the brother likewise approached. When the king spotted them, he said to his companions, What should I think of this? These two are kings, while these others are like beggars in comparison. Well, you know what? said the angel. Let us do thus: let the bride take three twigs and place them in the garden, designating each twig to whichever suitor she wants. Let her marry the suitor from whose twig grows a bunch of grapes in the morning.
Everyone agreed to this.** The princess placed three twigs in the garden, designating each to a suitor. In the morning they looked, and from the poor man's twig grew a bunch of grapes. The king, having no recourse, gave his daughter to the youngest brother, and they married in a church. After the wedding, the angel accompanied them into the forest and left them there. Here they lived for an entire year.
When the year ended, the Lord said again to the angel, Go, see how those orphans*** are living; if in need, provide them with more. The angel descended to earth, and disguised himself as a beggar. He went to the brother whose stream flowed with wine, and asked him for a cup. But the man refused, saying, If I were to give everyone a cup of wine, then there wouldn't be enough! When the angel heard this, he immediately made the sign of the cross with his staff, and changed the stream into water as it was before. Then you will have nothing, he said to the oldest brother; be off to your pear tree, and guard it instead!****
Subsequently the angel withdrew from there; he came to the next brother, who had all the sheep covering a field. He asked for a morsel of cheese, but the man refused, saying, If I were to give a morsel to everyone, then there wouldn't be enough! When the angel heard this, he immediately made the sign of the cross with his staff over the field, and in place of the sheep there fluttered up doves. Then you will have nothing, he said to the second brother; be off to your pear tree, and guard it instead!
After that, the angel flew off to look into how the youngest brother was living. He came and found the man and his wife living poor in the woods, in a mere hut. The angel asked him if he could spend the night. They received him willingly, with all their hearts, but begged him not to ask for wine. They could not offer him that level of hospitality, given the way they lived; We are but poor people! they exclaimed. No matter,replied the angel; I'll be satisfied with whatever you have.
What could they do? They had no flour to make genuine bread, so they took wood bark and prepared bread from it. The mistress of the house now made that for her guest, and placed it in the oven. They sat and talked, and afterwards looked to see if it was ready. Before them sat genuine bread, so glorious, having risen so high… Seeing this, the man and his wife gave thanks to God, Glory to you, Lord, that we might properly host a traveler! They offered the bread to the guest, along with a pitcher of water. As they poured it, they found wine in the pitcher.
The angel then made the sign of the cross with his staff over the hut, and in that very place appeared a kingly palace, with an abundance of everything in it. The angel blessed and left the couple, and they lived out their lives happily, to a hundred years.