Nin the Bridge Builder

Nin, resolving to do more good in the world, set off in search of ways of reducing suffering.

He came to a community based on the banks of a wide, wide river. It was a beautiful place and the inhabitants were kind folk who lived peaceful lives along the water’s edge.

However, during the rainy season, when the water was swollen and dark, little rabbits and other creatures would be washed away as they tried to cross the river. Over the years the river had claimed many lives this way.

Here was a chance for Nin, prince of rabbits, to shine.

Nin recruited a trio of beavers and together they felled an enormous spruce. Next he commissioned a friendly black bear and, using a simple harness and the bear’s tremendous strength, manoeuvred the spruce until it spanned the breadth of the river. Finally a team of muskrats hemmed and debranched the log and the bridge was complete.

It was a collaborative community effort and it was a very good bridge and the citizens of the river were proud of what they’d accomplished together. They celebrated Nin for his leadership and guidance.

Nin left satisfied, convinced that he had done good, that he had saved lives, that he had reduced suffering.

Some time after Nin departed, a violent uprising began among those who lived along the river. The bridge had disrupted the precariously balanced economic and political structures of the area, throwing the entire region into chaos.

The conflict soon escalated into a bloody civil-war. Nin’s bridge proved to be vital infrastructure, conveying troops en-mass across the river, where they committed many horrible war-crimes.

The oppressed soon came to curse the bridge they had once celebrated. One night, as a contingent of soldiers made the crossing, a saboteur gnawed the log in twain, destroying the bridge and plunging a dozen rabbits to their deaths.

When Nin returned years later, he found a polluted and abandoned river strewn with the bones of the dead. A broken log jetted out from the depths. Little else remained.