The Devil's Bridge

Once upon a time a long long time ago an old woman called Megan lived in a little cottage on the banks of the river Mynach in Wales.  Even today the Mynach is a wild river that runs fast and wide through green hills and dark forests and, where Megan lived there were five waterfalls that made the river even more wild. Megan often wished there was a bridge so that when she wanted to go to market she didn’t have to walk up the river to where the water was easier to cross. 
But even though there was no bridge, Megan was a happy woman. Every day she got up with the sun and milked her cow, Malen. Because of the amount of rain that fell in Wales, the grass Malen ate was always green and delicious. It meant that Malen’s milk was the best around. Once she’d milked the cow, Megan would give a little to her small dog and then make cheese with the rest. Then she’d bake some bread and enjoy the sound of the river.  Twice a week she’d take a walk up the river, cross it and take her cheese  to market to make a little money to buy other food, but most days she just took it easy. 
One night a violent storm crashed around outside her little home. The wind shook the building and the rain fell. Thunder crashed overhead and lightening lit up the sky. Megan worried that the river would flood and the water would come up to her front door. 
But the next morning the sun was shining and Megan was pleased to see that the river hadn’t flooded. She went outside ready to milk Malen but she sensed there was something wrong. She looked around, but she couldn’t see Malen. The cow had disappeared. 
“Oh, Malen where are you?” Megan said. 
Her little dog was barking at the river and when Megan looked saw Malen happily eating grass over on the other side. 
“Oh, Malen what are you doing there?” Megan said. But the cow ignored her. 
“And how am I going to get you back?” She shook her head and wondered what she was going to do.
“I can help you!” 
Megan looked around. She hadn’t noticed anyone about and so was surprised by the voice. She saw a tall man standing there wearing a long coat with a hood covering his face. 
‘Who are you?” She said. 
“Don’t worry about that, Megan” said the stranger. “Would you like me to help you?”
“How can you?” Megan said. 
“I have certain magic powers. I can build a bridge for you.” 
“That’s impossible,” Megan said.
“Well, how else will you get Malen back?” The stranger asked. 
“Okay but I am just a poor woman, how can I repay you.”
The stranger scratched his chin in thought. 
“I would like to possess the first living thing to cross the bridge.” He said. 
Megan agreed.
“Now leave me. I will call you in an hour and the bridge will be ready.”
Megan went back into the house and started to bake some bread. She was thinking of the man. He looked strange. Who can build a bridge in an hour? And how did he know her name? She realised that this was no ordinary man. This was the devil himself and she’d just agreed that he could have the first living thing to cross the bridge. That would be her!
Now Megan was old but she wasn’t stupid. She had an idea. She smiled to herself. 
Exactly an hour later she heard her name being called out. She took a loaf of bread and went outside. She couldn’t believe what she saw with her own eyes. There in front of her was a lovely bridge across the river. 
‘Thank you,” she said. “But, it didn’t take you very long to build that bridge. How do I know it is safe?” 
“Of course, it's safe.” The stranger said angrily. 
“So is it strong enough to hold this loaf of bread,” Megan said. 
“Ha ha of course it is.” 
Megan threw the loaf onto the bridge. Her little dog chased it  running onto the bridge.
“See,” said the stranger. 
“I do,” said Megan. “I also see that the first living thing to cross that bridge is my little dog. So he is yours.” 
The man stamped his foot I anger. “I don’t want your little dog.” He said. 
“A deal is a deal,” Megan said and smiled. 
“With that, the man disappeared into a puff of smoke. Leaving Megan to go and get her cow and happy that she had a brand new bridge and hadn’t lost anything.

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