“The Tale of the Three Brothers” by J. K. Rowling explores the topic of humans’ desires that always have negative consequences. It tells a story of three brothers that encounter Death, who offers them prizes for safely crossing the river. Two gullible brothers do not spot the trap imposed on them by Death through this trick and eventually die from Death’s gifts, while the youngest brother stays alive.
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The oldest brother asks for a magic wand that would be superior to any other one, Death grants him this wand and lets him go. Yet, unable to battle his inner urge to boast about it, he tells everyone, which leads to his death. This brother’s story demonstrates an example of how a person longing for absolute power cannot deal with it when they get it and dies, as a result, killed by the same kind of people.
The second brother asks for the stone that could resurrect the deceased, Death again gives him one. He goes home and brings back to life a dead girl he once loved, but she suffers in the world of living people, which drives the brother to madness (Rowling 409). This story illustrates an example of humans’ eagerness to live in the past and refusal to forget it. Once brother resurrects his girlfriend, he sees that it was all in vain, unable to face the reality, he kills himself.
The youngest brother receives the cloak of invisibility, which allows him to live for many years, unnoticed by Death. Only when he becomes old does he take off the cloak and faces Death but as an equal, not a servant. His story demonstrates the importance of being humble and able to counteract the inner desires that are tempting but deadly. He does not ask Death for anything that would be excessive, he asks to spend as much time alive as it was meant for him.
“The Tale of the Three Brothers” has a powerful message which says that humans must not interfere with the natural course of events. Instead, they should be humble, suppress their desires, and live their life looking forward and not longing for the past. Death will come when it is time, but before that, people should not rush things and try to outsmart it, since humans are mere mortals and not gods.
Rowling, Joanne K. “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Scholastic Corporation, 2007, pp. 405-423.