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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

"Perhaps if I keep my wits about me I'll be able to pick up a few golden horse-shoes. Not many boys inherit golden horse-shoes from their fathers!"

Well, the second brother went over exactly the same route and saw exactly the same things. He crossed all those wonderful bridges that his brother had crossed—the wooden bridge, the stone bridge, the iron bridge, the copper bridge, the silver bridge, and he saw all those angry animals still trying to gore each other to death.

He didn't stop at the silver bridge for he thought to himself:

"Perhaps the next bridge will be golden and if it is I may be able to break off a piece of it!"

Beyond the silver bridge was another broad valley and the second brother saw many strange sights as he drove through. There was a man standing alone in a field and trying to beat off a flock of ravens that were swooping down and pecking at his eyes. Near him was an old man with snow-white hair who was making loud outcries to heaven praying to be delivered from the two oxen who were munching at his white hair as though it were so much hay. They ate great wisps of it and the more they ate the more grew out.

There was an apple-tree heavily laden with ripe fruit and a hungry man forever reaching up and plucking an apple. The apples were apples of Sodom and always as the hungry man raised each new one to his mouth it turned to ashes.

In another place a thirsty man was reaching with a dipper into a well and always, just as he was about to scoop up some water, the well moved away from under the dipper.

"What a strange country this is!" thought the second brother as he drove on.

At last he reached the next bridge and sure enough it was shining gold! Every part of it—bolts and beams and pillars, all were gold. In great excitement the second brother climbed down from his wagon and began pulling and wrenching at various parts of the bridge hoping to find some loose pieces which he could break off. At last he succeeded in pulling out four long bolts which were so heavy he could scarcely lift them.

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