The third drink is the best, allowing us to dance freely and shoot gorgeous pool. (The fourth does us in.) Three brothers Karamazov, three brothers Marx, the Three Musketeers, three little pigs, three blind mice, three-course meals. Three of something seems complete. It’s a number that holds an almost magical power over the human mind. And when we encounter something too complex or messy to understand, our first instinct is to split it into three parts. Young writers tend to group their adjectives in threes—a habit that is sleepy, predictable and comforting. Threes are everywhere in Shakespeare (“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…”), and form one of the most common rhythmic devices in poetry. Riddles, too, are This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.