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I could only imagine what was on the other side of the bridge. Made of stone, and quite medieval looking, I approached it with some uncertainty. I could see the water below it, clear to the bottom of what appeared to be a shallow river. So why the need for the bridge, I wondered. Deciding the only way to answer my questions was to actually cross the bridge, I headed towards it, carefully stepping over the greenery and wild flowers that grew alongside. I was so fascinated with the calmness of the water and the structure of the bridge, I never noticed the troll sleeping soundly below the arches. He was hidden, as he should be, from the sun, lest he become part of that bridge!

Examining the crossing more closely, I wondered who had built such a structure in the middle of nowhere. This bridge was architecturally fashioned. Symmetrical arches that carried across the water, and sides to keep you from falling in. I leaned over the side, and that’s when I spotted him. A huge troll, asleep, under the first arch, nearest to the shore. I think my heart skipped a beat.

I continued my journey to the other side. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew I needed to be extra quiet so not to wake the being below. The stone was a bit warm, from the sun beating down upon it, and I could feel the heat coming through my sandals. Boy, how I wished I could jump in that water right now! I must have said it out loud because there was a rustling sound beneath me.

“Who goes?” came this bellowing, almost deafening sound from below. Somehow I had awakened the troll. I stopped and stood there, hoping he would go back to sleep.

“Who disturbs my sleep?” He wasn’t giving up. Pondering if I should answer, he called again. Knowing I had no choice, I replied. “Tis I, oh noble one, making sure the bridge is secure for thee.” I had no idea WHY I said what I did, but it seemed to have comforted him and he went back to sleep. I hurried across to the other side before he could wake again.

There, standing in front of me, was a castle, decorated with rather odd statues placed about the grounds. As I approached, I could see the statues were trolls. The sunlight had gotten to them, frozen there forever in their stone bodies. They must have been caught in a battle, risking their lives in daylight, to defend their home. Knowing I needed to get out of there before one showed up unannounced, I ran back across the bridge, through the greenery and flowers, and back to the point from where I began. Trying to catch my breath, I could feel someone watching me, so I turned to look back, and saw the troll, with a crown on his head, eying me. It was then I realized he was, indeed, the king of the castle, the guardian of the bridge and perhaps the last remaining of his kind. He almost seemed to have a smile on his face. He must have known I wasn’t the enemy. Feeling a bit calmer myself, I made note that crossing every bridge I found may not be the right thing to do, but it would always lead me to new adventures.

 

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