A man’s ax fell into the water while he was cutting woods near a river bank. The man went down to the river and tried to find the ax in the water, but it could not be found. He was a very poor innocent man so he could not get a new ax.
“God … I’m done living. I worked for my innocent family of lumberjacks, and then it was all over. I also have to jump to the river and die.”
He sat by the river, weeping and wailing. Seeing the misery of this innocent man, the God Hermes thought to help him. Suddenly, the man who was mourning on the bank of the river, saw the God Hermes appeared in front of him.
“Oh , My god! Help me.”
The woodcutter bowed before the god.
God Hermes went down to the river and come again with a golden ax. “Is this your ax?” God asked showing the golden ax.
“No.How I can have a golden ax. That’s not mine “
Said the woodcutter.
The second time the god sank in the river and emerged again with a silver ax.
“So this must be yours? “
“No … no … I just had an iron ax …! ”
Said the woodcutter.
In the third time, the god Hermes, who had drowned in the river, came up with the ax of the woodcutter.
“Thank you ..! This is my ax … If I lost it I would have committed suicide too.”
Said the honest woodcutter.
Impressed by his sincerity, Hermes gifted the three axes to the woodcutter. He sold gold axes and silver axes and became very rich.
On hearing this, a cunning man dressed as a woodcutter and spent some time chopping wood on the riverbank. Next, he threw his ax into the river and wept on the bank of the river. The cunning man was praying to God and weeping, thinking that at some point the god Hermes would come.
The god Hermes descended before him.
“Why are you crying?” God asked.
“Oh god Hermes … my ax fell to the river. I don’t want to live now. I have no assets to buy an ax. Help my grief.”
Cunning man told the god. The god Hermes suddenly drowned and took a golden ax and as soon as he saw the ax the big man became very greedy.
‘If I says this is not mine, God may not give it to me.’ Thought the cunning man.
The cunning man looked at God and said:
“Thank you. It’s my ax. It’s my ax that saved my life for years. I thought I would never get that ax again.”
The cunning man reached out to grab the ax. At the same time the god floated away, with the golden ax.
“Cunning man … did you try to deceive God? You can never do that. Only cunning liars like you can’t get God’s help, except for truthful innocent people. Be happy that I do not punish you.”
God disappeared. The cunning man could not even get his ax, which he had thrown into the river.
Moral : Truthful and fair people get help. Liars who try to deceive God will never have God’s help.
Read more: Aesop’s Fables.
Sasindu Jayasri is an Engineering student at Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.