An Irishman moved into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walked into the
local pub, and promptly ordered three beers. The bartender raised his eyebrows,
but served the man three beers, which he drank quietly at a table, alone.
An hour later, the man had finished the three beers and ordered three more. This happened yet again. The next evening the man again ordered and drank three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town was whispering about The Man Who Orders Three Beers.
Finally, a week later, the bartender broached the subject on behalf of the town. "I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers at a time?"
"Tis odd, isn't it?" the man replied. "You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank, as a way of keeping up the family bond."
The bartender and the whole town were pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and a source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.
Then one day, the man came in and ordered only two beers. The bartender poured them with a heavy heart. This continued for the rest of the evening. "Each time he orders only two beers," the word flew around town. Prayers were offered for the soul of one of the brothers.
The next day, the bartender said to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know -- the two beers instead of three, and all..."
The man pondered this for a moment, then replied, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It's just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent."
- Author Unknown -