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The first brother sings and sings, but never runs out of breath,

The second brother runs and runs, but never tires,

The third brother eats and eats, but is never full,

The fourth brother drinks and drinks but is never sated,

Who are they?

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Could the four brothers be

The Empedoclesian elements? (Earth, Air, Fire, Water)

The first brother sings and sings, but never runs out of breath,

This one is Air in the form of wind. The singing refers to the wind whistling.

The second brother runs and runs, but never tires,

This one is Water in the form of a stream or river. Rivers run on and on.

The third brother eats and eats, but is never full,

This one is Fire, as fire engulfs anything in its way.

The fourth brother drinks and drinks but is never sated,

This is Earth, as dirt and soil soak up water (From OP's comment).

Old Answer
If the other answers are right, that would make this one Earth. I'm not really sure as to how Earth "drinks". Perhaps it's talking about plants needing water to survive?

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  • $\begingroup$ This would be the answer I would have given, and I agree with the earth explanation you give. $\endgroup$ – Bulldogg6404 May 8 '16 at 3:45
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    $\begingroup$ I immediately thought this, but with slightly different ordering. I had Earth for the second (e.g. the plains run for miles while standing still), and Water for the fourth (rivers constantly flow into the seas, but they don't seem to get any deeper). $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman May 8 '16 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman Interesting viewpoint! I have never heard it that way before. $\endgroup$ – Oreo May 9 '16 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ I thought of that answer as soon as I read "four brothers". I don't know, why. Instinct, I guess ;) $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Jul 20 '18 at 5:58
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My guess is

The parts of steam locomotive

Reason The first brother sings and sings, but never runs out of breath,

You are referring to the chimney which blows the whistle if you can create music by blowing it

The second brother runs and runs, but never tires,

This is the heart i.e the Engine that always runs but is never tired

The third brother eats and eats, but is never full,

From wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_locomotive These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material—usually coal, wood, or oil—to produce steam in a boiler.

The fourth brother drinks and drinks but is never sated,

This is a guess but by this you are referring to the boiler that is used inside the steam engine. From wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiler

To sum it up

Together they are the steam engine

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    $\begingroup$ Not what I was originally thinking, but good answer. $\endgroup$ – Oreo May 8 '16 at 3:26
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I think these are

Products by the company Brother (in the company logo the b is not capitalised).

The brother who sings and sings is

A sewing machine (who does what Singers do)

The brother who runs and runs is

Perhaps a gear motor

The brother who eats and eats is

A scanner (eats paper)

And the one who drinks and drinks:

An inkjet printer (always runs out of ink)

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