An honest woodcutter once lost his axe when it fell into a pond. An angel offered him a golden axe and a silver axe; but he refused to accept what was not his. He was happy only he got his old axe back.
In the evening, as he sat outside his little hut watching the stars, he told his little son what had happened. The little boy was happy that his father got his axe back. However, his neighbor, who also heard the story, thought the wood cutter was a fool. “I wish, the angel will offer me the golden axe. I’ll know what to do with it,” he thought.
The next morning, the neighbour went to the village market and bought an old battered axe for a few rupees. He then set out for the forest. He went to the pond, and climbed a tree on its bank. Then, he dropped the axe he was carrying into the pond and started crying out aloud, “Oh my god, I’ve lost my axe.”
He hurriedly came down the tree, sat on the bank of the pond and started crying, “Will some kind soul help me find my axe?”
The angel from the pond appeared with an axe. “Is this axe you are looking for?” she asked holding out a silver axe. The man looked at the axe and thought, “If I accept this, she will go away. Let me see if she brings me the golden axe.”
“No, this is not my axe,” he said shaking his head.
“In that case, you had better look for the axe yourself,” said the angel. Thinking that the man needed some help getting into the pond, she even pushed him into water.
The angel walked away happily, satisfied that no one would now come to her pond looking for gold.
The poor fellow did not know how to swim. He cried for help. His neighbor, the honest woodcutter, heard his cry and rescued him. He thanked the woodcutter. “I’ve learnt my lesson,” he said.
The woodcutter did not know what the neighbor was talking about. “My life is more valuable than gold,” he said.
“And happiness comes from honest living,” added the wood cutter. The two neighbours walked back happily to their homes.