The Three Brothers and the Pear Tree

Main Piece:

Tres hermanos que iban caminando por un campo llevaban ya varías horas de camino y traían mucha hambre, y mucha sed. Y todavía les faltaba para llegar a su casa. Entonces a lo lejo vieron un arbol de peras, con muchas peras. Entonces dice uno de los hermanos, “Ay vamos,” dice, “Ya veo un arbol de peras. Vamos a comerlas.” Y ya se fueron caminando. Entonces dijeron, “Vamos a acostarnos un rato.” Y entonces se acostaron y se empezaron a relajar, y los tres estaban mirando hacía arriba a esas peras tan grandes y tan jugosas. Y el hermano numero uno dijo, “Ay que bonitas peras.” Y el hermano numero dos dijo “Uy, quién las pudiera bajar?” Y el hermano numero tres dijo “Uy, quién las pudiera comer?” 

Full Translation: 

There are three brothers that were walking in a field, and had been walking for several hours and were very hungry and very thirsty, and they still had a ways to go before going home. So far off, they see a pear tree with lots of pears. One brother says, he says, “Ay, it’s a pear tree. Let’s go eat them.” And so they go walking to it. And then they said, “Well, let’s lie down for a little.” So they lie down and start relaxing, and they’re looking up at the pears, the very big pears, very juicy. And so the first brother says, “Ay what pretty pears,” and the second brother says, “Ooh, who could get them down?” And the third brother says, “Ooh, who could eat them?”


My informant is my mother, who grew up in Mexico. This was a joke that she often heard from her father, who heard it from his father (my mother’s grandfather). When I asked her what the message behind the joke was, she said “the joke here is that all three are very very lazy. The first [brother] just admired them. The second asked who could get them down, and the third is so lazy he couldn’t even chew, that’s why he asked who could eat them.” My mother said that the moral lesson is that if you want something, you have to pursue it, and you can’t just let an opportunity sit in front of you without doing anything, which is what my grandfather always emphasized whenever he told her the joke.


This came up when I was asking my mother what kinds of jokes she used to hear when she was growing up in Mexico, and this was one that was told frequently in her household. 


This is a joke that my mother occasionally told me when I was growing up, and I thought it was interesting to see how it’s been passed down through the generations in my family, although I’m not sure where it was first heard. I think this joke is a good way to teach the notion that laziness isn’t going to get you anywhere, and I liked that it set up three different levels of laziness. First there’s the brother that only admired the pears without, which could be seen as fantasizing over something you want. The second brother, instead of trying to pick the pear himself, wanted someone else to do the work for him, but still reap the reward, and the third brother was so lazy that he couldn’t even gather the motivation to pick the pears, much less eat them. This joke pokes fun at the characters’ foolishness, and each one could easily be compared to someone in real life who is exhibiting the same behavior as the brothers.