The Goat Bridge. Sarajevo.

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According to a legend, The Goat Bridge came into being when a poor shepherd had noticed that his goats were spending an unusually long amount of time gathering around a clump of shrubs by the river.

As he came closer, in the bush he found a pot of gold.

With it he paid for his education and, years later, decided to build a bridge over Miljacka, at the same place where his goats lead him to the treasure.

I heard a different version from an old Bentbaša lover. He used to get together there with his friends during sunsets, their favorite time for singing and having a few drinks.

I showed up once with my dad.

He also liked to sing the old Bosnian love songs.

After a few, their eyes sparked as their voices blended with the river’s murmur.

The sun had just stepped over the hills, and the blue sky still shone warm.

After another epic song was sung, the old Bentbaša lover put his hand on my shoulder and started the story:

“You know, son, try never to be stubborn, always respect other people, particularly elders… See that bridge over there?”

He pointed at the Goat Bridge. I nodded not knowing what else to do.

I was still a boy.

He smiled at me and continued:

“Well, that bridge came into being when two goats were crossing this river at the same time,  from the opposite sides… There was enough room for them to pass each other by in peace, but…being goats, half way across the river, they ended up facing one another…and they refused to get out of each other’s way… They were of the same size, and as they entangled their horns, they pushed each other with an equal strength… It lasted for hours, and then for days…until they petrified on the spot, turning into this beautiful bridge…”

My father shot a cheeky smile, as if he knew something else, but he didn’t say anything.

The old Bentbaša lover continued without noticing it:

“In a way, it is good… Otherwise we wouldn’t have this bridge to cross… But don’t ever forget what happens when you get stubborn and what a dogged determination can lead to…”

The guy that sat opposite to us interrupted him cheerfully with a toast to another love song, and it’s how the evening rolled by.

It was the only time I went there, but I can still hear the story and the songs blending with the river’s murmur.

Together they keep flowing under the Goat Bridge.

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