This poem came out of the January 17, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and ellenmillion. It was sponsored by rix_scaedu. This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman, which you can explore further through the Serial Poetry page.
The form is a terza rima, a traditional Italian form, which can be somewhat flexible in structure. Sometimes the interlocking pattern of the last verse loops back to the first verse, as I did here. Other times the poem ends with a couplet or a single line.
This poem also draws on some common fairy tale motifs: There are three siblings, two rude and foolish, one more polite and sensible. There is a wise woman, whose responses are influenced by how people treat her. And the plot structure actually covers both the common ones -- lack/lack liquidated and lack/lack liquidated/lack -- depending on whose perspective you consider.
-- a terza rima
Three brothers, in a will, were left one bull
To make their fortune and to tend their cows --
But all they did was argue, pitch, and pull.
The eldest called the herbalist, his brows
Both blacked by brother-hands, and said "It's mine!
That bull should haul my wood and draw my plows!"
But Fiorenza shook her head. "That's fine.
Just let your brothers plow with him as well,
And don't start fights from drinking too much wine!"
The middle brother came, and she could tell
From how he limped the bull had scored a hit.
"I'll grind the beast to burger!" came the yell.
Well, Fiorenza'd had enough of it.
"You're foolish as your brother, then!" she snapped,
And wrapped his thigh although he threw a fit.
The youngest brother came, and gently rapped
On Fiorenza's door. "Our bull is gone,"
He said, and ducked, afraid of getting slapped.
"You want my help for some pathetic con?"
The youngest brother grimaced then, and said,
"No, please, just spice to lay a false trail on."
So Fiorenza gave him peppers red,
And no one ever found that missing bull,
Which brought peace to the brothers' family spread.