An old man, traveling a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm deep and wide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
For the sullen stream held no fears for him,
But he turned when he reached the other side,
And builded a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” cried a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
And you never again will pass this way.
“You have crossed the chasm deep and wide.
Why build you a bridge at eventide?”
And the builder raised his old gray head:
“Good friend, on the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet will pass this way.”
“This stream, which has been as naught to me,
To that fair-haired boy may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim —
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”