Once there was a woodcutter. He lived near a forest. He earned his living by cutting wood from the jungle and selling it in the market.
One day he was cutting down a tree on the bank of the river. While he was cutting it, his axe fell into the river and was lost.
He tried his best to search it but in vain. He was very poor and was not in a position to purchase another. So he began to weep and cry at the loss of it.
Mercury, the God of the river, heard his cry and appeared before him. He asked him why he was weeping. The woodcutter told him that he had only one axe with which he used to cut wood and earn his living. As the axe had fallen into the river, so was he weeping.
The god at once jumped into the water and came out with a golden axe. The woodcutter refused to take it.
Then again he dived into the water. This time he brought out a silver axe. Again, the woodcutter said that it was not his. His axe was an ordinary one made of iron.
Mercury dived into the water the third time and appeared with an iron axe. “That is my axe,” shouted the woodcutter out of joy. The god was very pleased with him for his honesty and gave him all the three axes. The woodcutter was overjoyed and went home thanking the god.
Honesty is the best policy.