While chopping down a tree on the bank of a river, the axe of the woodcutter fell into the river by chance and it immediately sank to the bottom. He sat down and lamented his carelessness with tears. Fortunately, the river God took pity on him and suddenly appeared. After he heard what had happened, he dived to the bottom of the river and brought back a golden axe. Then he asked the woodcutter whether the axe was his. When the man said no, God dived a second time and brought back a silver one. Again the man said that it was not his. Finally, after diving a third time, God produced the axe that the man had lost.
“That’s mine!” said the woodsman, delighted to have recovered his axe. And, so pleased was God with the woodcutter’s honesty that he gave him the other two as gift.
After hearing it from the woodcutter, one of his friends decided to see whether he would have the same kind of luck. So, he went to the same place as if he intended to cut wood, and he let his axe slip into the water on purpose. Then he sat down on the bank and pretended to weep. God appeared as last time, and upon hearing the story, he dived into the river. When he returned with a golden axe, he asked the man whether it was the axe he had lost.
“Yes, that’s definitely the one,” said the man eagerly, and he was about to grab the treasure when God not only refused to give this axe to him but would not even return his own. Thus the man was soundly punished for his lying and impudence.
Old Learning: Honesty is the best policy.
Why God was not giving the lost axe at the first instance? Does God helps only when someone is in utmost stress?
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