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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar"

The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar

"I wonder some one doesn't stop them!" the rich man thought to himself.

The next river had an iron bridge, more beautiful than the rich man had ever supposed an iron bridge could be.

Beyond the iron bridge there was a field and a bush and two angry rams that were chasing each other around the bush and fighting. Their horns cracked as they met and their hides were torn and bleeding where they had gored each other.

"I never saw so many angry fighting animals!" the rich man thought to himself.

The next bridge glowed in the sun like the embers of a fire for it was built entirely of shining copper—copper rivets, copper plates, copper beams, nothing but copper.

The silver tracks led over the copper bridge into a broad valley. By the roadside there was a high crossbar from which depended heavy cuts of meat—lamb and pork and veal. Two large bitch dogs were jumping at the meat and then snarling and snapping at each other.

The next bridge was the loveliest of them all for it was built of white gleaming silver.

The rich man climbed down from his wagon and examined it closely.

"It would be worth a man's while to carry home a piece of this bridge!" he muttered to himself.

He tried the rivets, he shook the railing. At last he found four loose bolts which he was able to pull out. The four together were so heavy that he was scarcely able to lift them. He looked cautiously about and when he saw that no one was looking, he slipped them one by one into the bottom of his wagon and covered them with straw. Then he turned his horse's head and drove home as fast as he could. It was midnight when he got there and nobody about to spy on him as he hid the silver bolts in the hay.

The next day when he went out alone to gloat over his treasure he found instead of four heavy silver bolts four pieces of wood!

So that's what the rich brother got for following the silver tracks.

A day or two later without saying a word to any one, the second brother decided that he would follow the silver tracks and have a look at the strange Beggar whose cart had silver bolts and whose wheezy horse had golden shoes.

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