The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar
After looking about in all directions to make sure that no one saw him, he put them into his wagon and covered them up with straw. Then he drove homewards as fast as he could.
"Ha! Ha!" he chuckled as he hid the golden bolts in the barn. "My son will now be a richer man than my brother!"
He could scarcely sleep with thinking of his golden treasure and at the first light of morning he slipped out to the barn. Imagine his rage when he found in the straw four bolts of wood!
So that was all the second brother got for following the silver tracks.
Well, years went by and the Poor Man worked day after day and all day and often far into the night. Some of his children died and the rest grew up and went out into the world and married and made homes of their own. Then at last his good wife died and the time came when the Poor Man was old and all alone in the world.
One night as he sat on his doorstep thinking of his wife and of his children when they were little and of all the years he had worked for them to keep them fed and clothed, he happened to remember the Beggar and the promise he had made to visit him sometime.
"And to think of all the years I've kept his golden horse-shoes and his silver bolts! Well, he'll forgive me, I know," thought the Poor Man, "for he'll understand that I've always been too busy up to this time ever to follow the tracks of his cart. I wonder are they still there."
He went out to the roadside and peered down and how it happened I don't know, but to his dim eyes at least there were the silver tracks as clear as ever.
"Good!" cried the Poor Man. "To-morrow morning bright and early I'll hitch up the donkey and visit my old friend, the Beggar!"
So the next day he took out the silver bolts and the golden horse-shoes from the place where he had kept them hidden all these years and he put them in a bag. Then he hitched his old donkey to his old cart and started out to follow the silver tracks to the Beggar's home.
Well, he saw just exactly the same things that his brothers had seen those many years before: all those terrible fighting animals and all those unfortunate men.