When Joseph’s brothers *looked down the well* into which they had dropped him not so long ago, and they saw he was no longer in it, they were puzzled.
“Did little brother suddenly grow wings and fly off?” wondered Levi.
The brothers looked into the sky and saw only an eagle.
“That eagle doesn’t look like little brother”, said Simeon, “So who knows.”
“What do we tell Father?” said Levi.
“We tell him that wild animals got little brother”, said Simeon, “And we make it look authentic.”
The brothers took Joseph’s robe of many colours that they’d ripped off him before dropping him down the well. They tore it up and dipped it in the blood of a dead goat. Then they set off for the journey back to their father, Jacob’s, home in Canaan.
On seeing his sons, Jacob was all smiles.
“Welcome home, boys. It’s good to see you all after so long. I don’t see Joseph. Where’s my beloved baby boy?”
“Well, it’s like this, Father” said Simeon, “Joseph’s……..no longer with us.”
“What do you mean, ‘he’s no longer with us’? Where is he, then?”
Simeon took Joseph’s shredded and bloody robe out of a bag. “Some wild animals killed him, Father.”
“I know what’s happening, which is that I’m asleep and having a nightmare”, said Jacob. “I expect I’ll soon wake up. Yes, that’s it. Ha ha ha. Do you ever get nightmares, boys, so real that you think it’s really happening? Then you wake up and are so happy it was only a dream?”
“Er……..sometimes”, said Simeon.
“This dream’s gone on long enough, and is an unpleasant a nightly dream as I’ve ever had. Now, I must wake up.”
Jacob began jumping up and down and slapping his cheeks, and saying, “Wake up, Jacob, wake up.”
After a while of this, Jacob said, “This is an especially stubborn dream, boys. Bear with me, will you, a few moments more.”
Jacob resumed jumping up and down and slapping his cheeks.
“Father, this isn’t a dream”, said Simeon, “It’s real. Our baby brother is dead. You’ll just have to get over it.”
Jacob, slowly realising this wasn’t a dream, began weeping, and wept without stopping for many, many days. He changed his clothes for a sackcloth, and was never quite the same again.
Source: Genesis 37, 30-36