The River of Fame and Fortune
A young man decided to leave town instead of taking the apprenticeship his parents has lined up for him. He wanted to see fame and fortune, and a traveler told him of a river that led straight to it.
Of course, the river was plagued by many obstacles: rapids, bandits, and bears to name a few. But if one followed it to its end, one arrived at fame and fortune.
The young man pursued odd jobs around town until he could afford a small boat. He waved goodbye to his parents and friends, and he set sail down the river to fame and fortune.
The traveler had not lied. The waterway sported many obstacles, everything from jagged boulders protruding from the shallows to robbers who would shoot arrows from the banks.
Still, the young man did well until a great storm came upon him. He did not pull his boat into shore in time, and the gales hurled him against a rocky cliff. The impact shattered his craft and left him alone and helpless in the rough waters.
Through some luck, he reached an island in the center of the river. When the storm passed over, he found himself so far from shore on either side, that he dared not try to swim across.
Fortunately, the island offered plentiful berry bushes, and the man soon fashioned a fishing pole, so he could catch his meals.
A couple days later, two merchants on a raft happened by. “We’re heading down the river toward fame and fortune,” they said.
“Do you need a lift?”
The man eyed the handmade raft, which was barely more than a few logs lashed together. “Thanks, but I think I’ll wait for the next boat.”
A couple weeks passed before the next craft came by, a little dingy with a single oarsman.
“Do you need a way to get to fame and fortune?” the oarsman asked.
“Thanks, but I think I’ll wait for a bigger boat. These waters are rough, you know.”
Other vessels drifted past, and many of the owners asked if the man wanted a ride. By this time, the man had created a simple but decent shelter on the island, and he had saved some fish and berries.
It was a hard life, but the idea of risking the storm again scared him. He decided to wait until a large armored vessel that could not possibly be damaged by the river’s obstacles sailed past. Then he would ask for passage.
Of course, such a craft never came. However, many of those who had passed survived the perils of the river and made it to fame and fortune. The man grew old and died on the meager island.