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Aesop's Fables : Tales with a Moral

Great stories for Kids

Mercury and the Woodman - 2

A WORKMAN, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe drop
- by accident into a deep pool. Being thus deprived of the means
of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and lamented his hard
fate. Mercury appeared and demanded the cause of his tears.
After he told him his misfortune, Mercury plunged into the
stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if that were the
one he had lost. On his saying that it was not his, Mercury
disappeared beneath the water a second time, returned with a
silver axe in his hand, and again asked the Workman if it were
his. When the Workman said it was not, he dived into the pool
for the third time and brought up the axe that had been lost.
The Workman claimed it and expressed his joy at its recovery.
Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden and silver
axes in addition to his own. The Workman, on his return to his
house, related to his companions all that had happened. One of
them at once resolved to try and secure the same good fortune for
himself. He ran to the river and threw his axe on purpose into
the pool at the same place, and sat down on the bank to weep.
Mercury appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and having
learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the stream and
brought up a golden axe, inquiring if he had lost it. The
Workman seized it greedily, and declared that truly it was the
very same axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his
knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to
recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.

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