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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 labor and goods as needed without a hitch. 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 silence. One morning there was a knock on Johnís door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenterís toolbox. "Iím looking for a few days work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. Thatís my neighbor, in fact, itís 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 Iíll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fenceóan 8-foot fenceóso I wonít need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and Iíll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town for supplies, 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, and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmerís eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridgeóa bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and allóand the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all Iíve said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each otherís hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. Iíve a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "Iíd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

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