The Carpenter

Once upon a time 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
silence.

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 few days work" he said. "Perhaps
you would have a few small jobs here and there.
Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job
for you. Look across the creek at that farm.
That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger brother.
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 go him one better. See
that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you
to build me a fence - - an 8-foot fence. ... so I
won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."

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 pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town for supplies,
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
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 outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge
after all I've said and done."

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 a lot of other projects for you," said the older
brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I
have many more bridges to build."

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