The Silver Tracks - The Story of the Poor Man Who Befriended a Beggar
"I'll have to remember and ask the Beggar what ails all these creatures," he thought to himself.
Like his brothers he passed over the wooden bridge and the stone bridge and the iron bridge and the copper bridge and the silver bridge and even the golden bridge. Beyond the golden bridge he came to a Garden that was surrounded by a high wall of diamonds and rubies and sapphires and all kinds of precious stones that blazed as brightly as the sun itself. The silver tracks turned in at the garden gate which was locked.
The poor man climbed down from his cart, unhitched the donkey, and set him out to graze on the tender grass that grew by the wayside.
Then he took the bag that held the golden horse-shoes and the silver bolts and he went to the garden gate. It was a very wonderful gate of beaten gold set with precious stones. For a moment the Poor Man wondered if he dare knock at so rich a gate, then he remembered that his friend the Beggar was inside and he knew that he would be made welcome.
It was the Beggar himself who opened the gate. When he saw the Poor Man he smiled and held out his hands and said:
"Welcome, dear friend! I have been waiting for you all these years! Come in and I will show you my Garden."
So the Poor Man went inside. And first of all he gave the Beggar his golden horse-shoes and his silver bolts.
"Forgive me," he said, "for keeping them so long, but I've never had time until now to return them."
The Beggar smiled.
"I knew, dear friend, that they were safe with you and that you would bring them some day."
Then the Beggar put his arm over the Poor Man's shoulder and led him through the Garden showing him the wonderful golden fruits and beautiful flowers. They sat them down beside a fountain of crystal water and while they listened to the songs of glorious birds they talked together and the Poor Man asked about the strange things he had seen along the road.
"All those animals," the Beggar said, "were once human beings who instead of fearing God and being kind to their fellowmen passed all their time fighting and cheating and cursing.