A long time ago, there was a family. There was a man, there was a woman, and there were two sons. Now, some people have said that the older son was not the son of the man but the son of a devil. If the man knew, he didn't care, for he raised the boy as if he were is own son. But, still, people talk, and that's what they said and are still saying today.
The boys grew tall and strong, and, although they were much alike, they were also quite different. The older son liked plants and kept a garden and took pleasure in strolling amongst the trees of the orchard eating the fruit. The younger son became a mighty hunter and kept to the woods and the hills learning all about the wild beasts.
There came a time when the two boys competed for the favor of the father. Some people say there was a woman involved. That they both wanted to marry the same woman, and they needed their father to settle the dispute. Some say it was merely over inheritance, but nothing comes between brothers or friends like a woman.
The older boy went out amongst the orchards and gathered a young apple tree from the ground, carefully uprooting it and presented it as a gift to his father. “When it gets older, it will make fruit for you to eat and the branches will grow broad and strong and full of leaves, offering you shade to lay in.” His father nodded politely, patted the eldest on the shoulder, and dismissed the tree. Troubled, the son planted the tree near to the house and waited to see what his brother would bring.
The younger boy tracked the largest buck he could find. It was a mighty buck with the largest rack of horns ever seen by men. The boy was gone for many weeks and tracked the beast far up into the hills. After a great struggle, the boy conquered and slew the buck. Dressing it, he carried the meat, the skins, and, most importantly, the horns and laid them at his father's feet in offering. Much impressed, the father praised the youngest, gathered up the gift, and the father and son went off to cook a great feast and hang the horns for all to see.
The older son was filled with great rage.
The next day, noticing that all was not well, the father went to his eldest son and said, “My son, what grieves you?” The boy offered only silence. In response, the father said, “Don't you know that if you do what is right, you will be accepted? However, if you do not do right, sin is waiting for you. It wants to devour you, but you must learn to master it.”
Turning from his father, the boy went to find his brother. Putting his arm around his brother's shoulders, he said, “Come with me out into the fields.” So the two boys went out into the fields where the older son kept his gardens. In amongst the tall plants where no eyes could see (some say one kind of plant, some say another), the older son rose up against his younger brother and killed him, spilling his blood into the earth.
Later, his father came to him saying, “Where is your brother?”
And the son said, “How should I know? Am I my brother's keeper?”