“El Regalo” — Peter S. Beagle

Peter S. Beagle is the author of the beloved classic The Last Unicorn. His first novel, published when he was just nineteen, was the critically-acclaimed A Fine and Private Place. Other major novel-length works include The Innkeeper’s Song, The Folk of the Air, and Tamsin. Beagle is also a prolific author of short fiction, most of which has been gathered in the collections The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances, The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother, and Mirror Kingdoms. For his work, he has won many awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Locus awards.

According to legend, when young Romulus began building the city of Rome, his twin brother Remus mocked the effort by leaping over the walls. Romulus was so enraged that he slew Remus, and swore that the same fate would befall anyone who dared pass over the walls of Rome.

Sibling rivalry isn’t always this brutal, but it’s usually pretty close. We weren’t all raised by wolves, but you’d never know it from watching the way some siblings go at each other. In his recent book Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown, author Daniel H. Wilson raises this sort of hazing to an art form, cataloguing 126 techniques for achieving family domination, from ear flips and tripping to wedgies and wet-towel snaps.

Jealousy over simple things—like popularity or grades or how much mom loves you—can lead to some pretty bitter feelings, so just imagine what sort of jealousy might be provoked by discovering that your sibling got the wizard gene and you didn’t. Of course, no matter how much siblings may squabble, you can be sure of one thing—nothing unites them like someone from outside the family coming around and picking a fight.