A young woman’s cow had crossed the river in the morning when the water level was moderate. But when the woman returned with her dog to get the cow, she was overwhelmed by how high the water had risen. Even if she crossed, she still couldn’t tow her cow back through the river.
“What am I going to do?” she wondered.
Suddenly, a man appeared across the river. “A fragile young lady like you shouldn’t have to struggle across a river,” he said. “I’ll build you a bridge.”
The man was an enigma. The young woman’s perception of him was that he was a sociable person. He was talkative, yet something was strange about him.
“I don’t want to be a burden to you, sir,” the woman replied.
“Don’t worry,” he told her as he began crafting a bridge. He merged the pieces of the bridge together with amazing speed. Soon, it was finished.
“Oh, but how can I pay you for your work? Let’s compromise. I am sure that we can find a fair solution. What do you think?” The woman asked.
“The only currency I need is the first living thing that crosses the bridge,” the man replied.
She thought, “This deal sounds weird. Maybe he’s actually a river demon.” She shivered because she realized that he had taken advantage of her innocence and rigged the deal somehow. But she had a plan of her own. She pulled a piece of bread from her pocket and threw it across the bridge. Her dog ran after it.
“The dog is the first living thing across the bridge,” she said to the man.
The man was angry. He suddenly changed into a hybrid of a human and a fish. “You crook!” he shouted. “You tricked me. I have no use for your dog!” He screamed and dove into the river.
The woman tramped across the bridge to the other side and had a happy reunion with her dog and cow.