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By the River
by Florence Nathan
05/09/05
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As the old man walked across the bridge, he stared at the river below him. Suddenly, he felt a warmth capturing his ancient bones. He ran back to where he came from, back down to the woods.

All day long he worked hard and built a tiny, thin wooden bridge between the eastern and the western banks of the river.
When he achieved his work, he sat down in the grass beside the water and stared at the bridge. It looked so fragile compared to the modern concrete bridge. It laid softly a few inches from the running water and still that soft voice was chanting: He, who will come, will walk only on the water, will avoid all solid construction and go by what has been made with love... all the love in a pure heart.

A young man came running and addressed the old man. "Gran'Pa, what's this? D'ya think it will hold?"

And he stood arrogant by the tiny bridge.
"Yes, my son", said the man," it'll hold!"
"Why did you built it?"
"I built it so that someone could walk on it."
"But if I walk on it, it surely will collapse, ol'man, you're a fool!"
"Might be, indeed, for your don't know what I know. He, who will come, will care for no strong appearances, he will be driven by the power of the heart, the power of our love. The man, a son, a father, a brother, this man will walk my bridge and the wood will carry him, for, my son, there is nothing stronger than the power of our love."

The old man raised a hand and touched his heart.

As he did so, the young man stepped on the tiny bridge and walked across the river with a smile.

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