Subject: The Bridge
Two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict.
It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side,
sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed
without a hitch.
Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small
misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it
exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find
a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work"
he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I
could help with? Could I help you?"
"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look
the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger
Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to
the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may
have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile
of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence -- an 8-foot
I Won't need to see his place or his face anymore."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the
nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that
The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get
the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter
worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished
his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no
fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one
side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all --
and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand
"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in
the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter
hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.
"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've got a lot of other projects for
you," said the older brother.
"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many
bridges to build."
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