Read the Story on Mercury and the Woodman with Illustrations
A poor Woodman wascutting down a tree near the shore of a deep pool within theforest. It was late in the day, and the Woodman was tired. He had been working since dawn, and his strokes were not so sure. It so happened that this axe slipped and flew out of his hands into the pool.
The Woodman was in despair.The axe was all he had with which he used to form his living, and he didn't have enough money to buy a new one. As he stood wringing his hands and sobbing, the god Mercury appeared and inquired what the problem was.
TheWoodman told what had happened, and the kind Mercury plunged into the pool. When he came up once more, he held a shining golden axe.
"Is,this your axe?" asked Mercury.
"No",answered the honest Woodman, "that is not my axe."
Mercury laid the golden axe on the bank and sprang back into the pool. This time he brought up a silver axe, but the Woodman declared again that his axe was just an ordinary one with a wooden handle.
Mercury dived for the third time, and when he came up again, he had the Woodman's axe.
The Woodman was happy to find his lost axe and couldn’t thank Mercury enough.
Mercury was incredibly pleased with the Woodman's honesty.
"I admire your honesty," he said, "and as a reward, you may have all three axes, the gold and the silver, as well as your own."
The happy Woodman returned to his home with his treasures.
Soon the story of his good fortune spread widely across the village.
Several Woodsmen believed that they could win the treasure too.
They hurried into the woods, hid their axes in the bushes, and pretended they had lost them.
When they cried out for help, Mercury appeared. He showed an axe of gold to each one of them, and each one eagerly claimed it to be the one he had lost.
But Mercury did not give them the golden axe; instead, he gave them each a hard whack over their head with it and disappeared.
Moral of Mercury and the Woodman-Honesty is the best policy.