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Devil's Bridge
Source: Grimm's Fairy Tales Editor: tallman
Info: There are many legends from around the world (especially Germany and England) in which the devil builds a bridge, but is then cheated out of the human soul he expected as payment.

One variant of the story tells of a builder who agreed to complete the bridge by a certain date, but as that date approached, he saw that it would be impossible to meet the deadline. With only a few days remaining, the builder enters a pact with the devil, who offered to complete the bridge under cover of night if the builder would deliver to him the first living being that crossed the bridge. The next morning, when the bridge was completed, the builder came and drove a rooster across the bridge ahead of himself, thus delivering it to the devil. Depending on the various folktales, the devil angrily leaves and often times curses the bridge in some way.

Another variant of the story tells of a shepherd who had to drive his herd completely around a lake in order to reach his pasture (or, in another story, the shepherd had to cross the lake to visit his girlfriend). This annoyed him, and one day he wished with a curse that a bridge went across the lake. He had scarcely uttered this wish when a man appeared before him. The man promised to build a bridge in one night, before the rooster crowed three times, under the condition that the shepherd would then belong to him. The shepherd entered into this agreement. That evening when he arrived home, he told his wife what had happened. She said nothing, but at midnight she went to the chicken coop and awakened the rooster, who thought that it was already morning, and crowed three times. The devil heard this and since he was not finished with his work, he angrily flew off through the air without completing the bridge.
Further Reading: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts edited or translated by D. L. Ashliman, and Grimm's Fairy Tales

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