A bridge or a fence

A bridge or a fence

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 labour and goods
as needed without a conflict.

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 the older
brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a
carpenter’s tool box.
“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?”
“Yes.” – said the older brother. “I do have a job for
you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my
neighbour; 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 do him one better.”
“See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to
build me a fence –an 8-foot fence — so 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 pleases
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 neighbour, his younger brother, was coming
toward them, his arms 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
onto 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.”
— Author unknown