Once upon a time, there lived an eminently sensible earth pony named Clyde, who was on his way home after a long journey. He traveled at a brisk yet reasonable pace, for he knew that on that day his oldest daughter had returned from her schooling to visit her family. At nightfall she would leave by train and he would not see her for another year, so he resolved to make haste in order to spend as much time with her as possible.
On his travel, Clyde came across a very narrow bridge that stretched across a magnificently wide and deep gorge. The bridge was old and rickety, with barely enough room for a broad and strong pony such as Clyde to walk it, but as this was the fastest way to reach the other side of the gorge, he steadied his nerves and began to cross. Five minutes of walking passed, then ten, and still the other side remained far away.
When he finally reached the middle of the bridge, he beheld another pony crossing the bridge in the other direction. The pair sized each other up as they came face to face, determining that both of them were strong and broad and neither possessed wings or magic that they might use to pass the other by. If either of them were to have any hope of reaching the other side, one of them would have to turn around.
"Friend," Clyde said, "I am sorry to interrupt your travel, but I'm afraid that you must go back the way you came and let me pass. For my daughter has returned home for only one day, and I must reach her before the sun sets."
"On the contrary," the stranger said, "it is you who must turn around and allow me to pass. For I am carrying a bouquet of rare flowers to be delivered to the mayor of the town beyond this gorge, and I will lose my job if I do not reach her before the sun sets."
The pair stared at each other with determination for only a single second. Then, without a word of complaint, Clyde shuffled his hooves carefully on the narrow bridge and turned around. He made haste back the way he had come, and when he arrived at solid ground he allowed the other pony to pass him by. "Thank you, friend," the stranger said. "In truth, however, these flowers are for myself. I carry them with me whenever I cross this bridge in case I meet a pony going the other way. For your kindness, which no pony has been so quick to show before now, you may have one."
Although Clyde was angry with the stranger, he accepted the flower graciously and made haste across the bridge a second time. Because he had not stopped to argue, he was only an hour late when he arrived back at his home. His daughter, whom he had raised to be an eminently sensible pony herself, understood the reason for his delay and was delighted by the flower that he gave her.
The moral of the story is: Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to go forwards.