Many years ago, somewhere in the eastern parts of India, two brothers lived on neighbouring farms. One day they fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 20 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed. The conflict which started with a small misunderstanding turned so dirty that the long collaboration of years fell apart. Finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words and the two brothers stopped speaking to each other.
One morning there was a knock on the elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said.
The elder brother thought for a minute and then asked the man to come in.
He said to the carpenter, “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a fight between us and he took his bulldozer to the river and drew a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go him one better. I want you to build me a fence – an 8-foot fence – so I won’t need to see his place anymore. Can you do this?”
The carpenter said, “I think I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”
That day the elder brother had to go to town for some work, 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, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence at all. It was a bridge… a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work with handrails and all. The farmer got angry but before he could say anything to the carpenter – he saw his neighbour, his younger brother, coming across. He was looking straight at the farmer and his hand was outstretched.
The younger brother said, “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done. I am sorry.”
The elder brother was surprised. He could not help but walk up to his approaching brother. The two brothers met in the middle, taking each other’s hand and apologising to each other for the bitter fight. Happy to see this, the carpenter picked up his toolbox on his shoulder and turned to go when the elder brother said. “Hey, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,”
“I’d love to stay,” the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build.”