Once upon a time, there was a couple who lived in an old, rickety house by a river. Behind the house was a patch of land with an old, knotty apple tree on it. The man’s name was Peter and the woman’s name was Kate. They were so poor that they could hardly afford to buy bread.
One night, Peter had a dream. He dreamed that a tall, gray, old man came to him. The man said to Peter, “I know you have a difficult life, but you have never complained. That’s why I came to help you. Follow the river until you reach a bridge. On the other side of the river is a town. Stand on the bridge and wait patiently until someone comes to you. He will tell you something that will make you very rich. But be patient. The man probably won’t come to you on the first day. Probably not on the second day either. It will probably be on the third day that you will meet the man.”
The next morning, Peter told his wife Kate about his dream. But she didn’t want to hear about it. “You’d better spend your time chopping wood,” she said. “Maybe that will bring in some money to buy bread.”
So Peter did what his wife asked of him. He chopped wood and sold some to his neighbor so he could buy bread with the proceeds.
By evening, Peter had almost forgotten his dream. But in the night, the tall, gray, old man appeared to him again in his dream. “Why didn’t you do what I told you, Peter?” said the man. “Don’t forget that luck won’t wait forever. Tomorrow you will go to the bridge and the town I told you about. And believe me. It’s the truth. If you wait there for three days and make the best of what you hear, you will become a rich man.”
The next day, Peter wanted to go directly to the bridge, but his wife stopped him. “Don’t be foolish,” she said. “Yesterday you earned enough money to buy bread. Who knows if you can earn more today.”
So Peter did not go out that day either to search for his fortune.
But the next night, the old man appeared to him for the third time, and now his look was stern. “You foolish man!” he said. “I have come to you three times, and I will not come again. Go to the bridge I spoke of and listen carefully to what is said to you there. If you don’t, you will always remain poor and helpless.”
With that, the old man disappeared, and Peter woke up.
Peter didn’t want to argue with his wife, so he got up early and packed enough food to last him for the next three days. Immediately, he set out without saying anything to his wife.
Peter traveled down the river for a long time until he came to a bridge where he could cross the river to a town on the other side. Peter was sure that this was the place the old man had told him about in his dreams.
He chose a spot on the bridge and stood there all day. Passersby stared at him, and some of them chatted with him, but no one told him anything about the great fortune that awaited him. He waited on the bridge all day, and the next day too. On the third day, Peter began to wonder if he was a fool to believe in a dream when he could have earned some money by working for three days.
On the other side, just beyond the bridge, stood the house of a tailor. The tailor had seen Peter on the bridge every day and wondered why the man was standing there. The longer Peter stood there, the more curious the tailor became. By the end of the third day, he couldn’t take it anymore and set his work aside to go to the bridge and find out what Peter was doing.
He approached Peter and said, “Good day, are you waiting for someone on the bridge?”
“I am indeed waiting for someone,” Peter answered. “But it might sound a little strange, because I don’t know exactly WHO I am waiting for.” He then told the tailor about his dream and how he was told that if he waited on the bridge for three days, someone would come by and tell him something that would make him incredibly rich.
“Well, I think that’s a bit silly,” said the tailor. “I have dreams too, and last week I dreamt three times that an old man came to me. He said that I should follow the bank of the river until I came to an old, ramshackle house where a man named Peter and a woman named Kate lived. There, I would have to dig on their land between the roots of an old, gnarled apple tree. I would find a box of gold coins. That’s what I dreamt. But I have too much sense to pay attention to it. Do you think I would go looking for such a place? No indeed, I am not a fool. I will stick to my work. I earn enough to have a warm roof over my head and enough food. I advise you to do the same. Go home and maybe you can earn something better to buy smart clothes instead of the rags you’re wearing now.”
That’s what the tailor said, and then he went back to his tailor shop and his sewing.
But Peter got up and scratched his head. “A man named Peter, and his wife named Kate! And an apple tree behind the house!” he thought. “It’s so bizarre that all this time a fortune has been lying under the roots of the apple tree, and I had to come to this bridge and town to hear about it.”
Then Peter ran as fast as he could home. He didn’t wait to go inside, but called to his wife to fetch him a shovel. With it, he ran around the house to the apple tree.
His wife didn’t know what had happened to him. She thought her husband had gone crazy, but she still gave him the shovel and ran after him to the apple tree.
He hadn’t been digging long when he hit something hard with the shovel. Not much later, he discovered a large chest made of oak wood. The chest was tied with iron. The chest was so heavy that Peter could hardly lift it out of the hole. Kate helped him and then they succeeded. With a few blows, Peter got the iron off the chest to open it. He could hardly believe what he found in the chest. It was loaded with gold coins, enough to live in great luxury for a lifetime.
And so Peter reached great happiness, all thanks to a dream.
Peter and Kate had a big house built. They had good food every day and wore nice clothes. They not only took good care of themselves, but also shared their happiness with others.
One day, Peter put on his finest clothes and asked Kate to dress in her best too. They drove over the bridge to the tailor’s house. When the tailor saw the couple riding in front of his shop, he thought it was a wealthy businessman with his wife. He hurried outside, bowed and greeted the couple very kindly.
Peter greeted the tailor back and said, “Do you remember who I am?”
“No,” said the tailor, “I don’t believe I’ve ever had the honor.”
Then Peter told him that he was the poor man who had stood there on the bridge in rags, waiting for luck to come to him. And it did, because if the tailor hadn’t told him about his dream, he would never have known that he had a chest of gold under the apple tree and he would never have become the rich man he was now.
The tailor could have kicked himself, because if he had believed in his dreams, he would have found the gold himself and kept a share of it.
But Peter gave the tailor a hundred gold coins to console him, and he ordered all his clothes from the tailor and promised to pay him a good price, so that the tailor also got something good out of his dreams.