Once upon a time, in a world where people had only recently learned how to cross from one side of a river to the other without getting wet, a bridge was hanging between two sections of land, admiring the view that people would be able to see if he let them cross. Thinking about how important his job was, the bridge had decided to be very particular about who he let cross to the other side, simply because he wasn’t sure which section of land was better. The last thing he wanted was to allow someone to walk over him and arrive at a place that was worse than where they had come from.
Long, brown planks of wood had been nailed together to form the main walkway of the bridge and beautiful patterns were carved into the pieces of wood that formed his decorative sides. His view was one of natural beauty and, every morning when the sun came up, the bridge was in awe of the way the light slowly lit up the pine trees, made the water clear and reflected off the smooth, white rocks over which he was built.
Having not seen anyone for several days after his creation, the bridge felt slightly nervous when he noticed a man heading towards the western side of the bridge. The first thing he noticed was the man’s strikingly grey beard and tattered clothes. The bridge then noticed that the traveller looked exhausted, having evidently been walking for quite some time to get here. Deciding that neither of these things was the sign of a man who knew where he wanted to go, the bridge summoned the rain in the hopes of causing a flood to block the traveller’s path. Rain fell from the sky and the water flowed down the mountains rapidly, causing the river to rise and cover the bridge’s wooden planks in an instant. Once the traveller noticed that the water had risen higher than the banks on either side of the bridge, he thought it best to run in the opposite direction to what he had been walking and try again another time.
Several days past and the bridge was now dry and had not seen anyone since the traveller made his first attempt to cross the bridge. Due to the flood, he was now missing three planks from his walkway but still felt strong enough to allow the right person to cross. Looking out over the horizon, the bridge noticed a weary figure walking towards him. It was the traveller. Angered that the traveller was forcing him to block his path all over again, the bridge summoned a pine tree to fall over the walkway. With a crack that echoed through the forest, a giant pine tree fell down, blocking the traveller’s path and knocking down parts of the beautifully carved sides of the bridge. Again, the traveller made the decision to turn around and walk in the opposite direction and, to the bridge’s delight, disappeared below the horizon.
More time past, and the weight of the tree resting on the bridge had forced more planks to fall of into the river below. The bridge now looked very tired and was considering the possibility of letting the traveller pass should he make another attempt to cross in the coming days. There was some movement on the horizon and the bridge was excited at the prospect of being able to share the good news with the traveller. However, it wasn’t just the traveller coming over the horizon, three more men were walking with him, and they were carrying tools.
The bridge started to get anxious as the four men approached him, two carrying axes and ropes with the others carrying wood, nails and a hammer. The men ignored the bridge’s attempts to explain that he would let them through and instead they worked hard to remove the tree and to start pulling the bridge apart. Just as the bridge started to think that he would no longer be able to call himself a bridge, he realised that the men were putting him back together, fixing him up to look better than he did when he was first made.
The men finished their work and the bridge allowed them to sit and admire the spectacular views while their legs dangled over the edge, above the river, tree and rocks below.
From that day on, whenever someone came to cross the bridge, he would try and protect them on their journey, rather than stop them from moving, on the condition that they took the time to enjoy the views as the bridge allowed them cross. Which the travellers always did.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.