A long time ago there was a rich old man named Jesse. He had eight sons.
The sons were strong and athletic and very competitive. They played all the sports and games of that time and were always arguing about which one was fastest, strongest and better.
The sibling rivalry made the old man sad, so he decided to arrange for the young men to compete in a series of athletic contests to determine which one really was best at everything. He hoped they would stop arguing if they all knew.
His wife was worried when she learned about this. She loved all her sons, but worried the youngest two (Ozem, 19 and David, 17 years old) would lose all the events. They were her favorites, helping her with cleaning and cooking and other things the other boys wouldn't do. She persuaded her husband Jesse to include cooking and songwriting among the events, so they might win something.
After awhile he had a long list of events. In Greece they called such things pentathlons, decathlons and other names based on how many events there were, but they were far from Greece and didn't even count how many contests there were.
He also had a daughter named Zeruiah from his first marriage. The daughter was mean and never liked her stepmother. She also had a much older sister Abigail who had moved away to marry a man her father didn't like. Jesse missed his oldest daughter, but she was far away and he didn't know where. Afraid this daughter would also leave, but unhappy near her, he had built her a house on the far edge of his huge ranch.
When she heard about the contests she asked that her twin sons Asahel and Joab could compete. They were only 13 but fast and strong as well. Her father was afraid they might get hurt, but she begged until he let them in.
At last they started the games.
David won cooking and songwriting as expected, but he also won archery and slingshot. His aim was straight and true.
The twins did much better than expected, but as the last days approached they had not won any events.
With only two more events scheduled (wrestling and running) the oldest brother Eliab was very frustrated.
He was not just the oldest but the tallest, a foot taller than the shortest brothers and taller than anyone else they knew. Five of the brothers had won at least one event and he was almost last in some contests.
With 10 contestants for the wrestling contest, the father decided to pair them so no one would get hurt.
First the twins wrestled each other. Joab won.
David and Ozem wrestled and Ozem won.
Then Ozem defeated Joab. The father was relieved. Neither twin was hurt.
Next the oldest two wrestled. The oldest son won.
Next the third and fourth wrestled. The fourth son won.
Next the fifth son wrestled the sixth. The fifth son won.
The next day Eliab wrestled Ozem and Eliab won.
Then the fourth son wrestled the fifth. The fourth son won.
That left the oldest against the fourth. They wrestled for hours until the oldest son appeared to win. However the father was watching closely and caught the oldest son cheating, so he made the fourth son the winner.
The next day was the final event, the road race. The oldest brother thought his long legs would make him win easily. To everyone's surprise the youngest twin won the race.
It was a short race. The oldest brother demanded that they also run a long race, thinking his long legs would help him catch his nephew over time.
Once again the twin won. He was the fastest man alive, but they didn't know it.
The oldest brother didn't even finish the race.
He didn't give up though. He made everyone wait while he found three long straight sticks. He stood two of them a few feet apart in the ground and placed the third between them about chest high. Then he ran toward them, jumped high in the air over the stick and landed on his belly on the other side.
He had invented the high jump.
Neither any of the brothers nor the twins even tried to jump over that stick.
Four years later they competed again. Most of the same brothers won the same events. Some didn't try.
By then the second brother had taken over the family business and was making them far richer than before. The fifth brother was now a gambler. He started betting with the second brother on which brother would win events neither he nor the second were competing in. The youngest brother lost on purpose to make the second brother lose a lot of money.
Once again the oldest brother had won none of the events. Again he jumped over the stick.
This time the youngest brother decided to challenge him. First he took a long walk in the woods. When he returned he was carrying a long stick.
He ran with the long stick and as he jumped he stabbed the stick into the ground and went over the stick, landing on his back on the other side.
He had invented the pole vault.
There's a moral to the story. If you can't be the best at anything, invent something you can be the best at.
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