Once upon a time, there lived a poor woodcutter named Ramu. He lived with his wife and two children in a small hut. Everyday Ramu would go in the forest and chop trees for wood. He would then sell the wood in the market and earn a meagre income to support his family. Though poor, Ramu was a very honest man.
One day, while Ramu was chopping wood in the forest, the axe slipped from his hand and fell into the river that flowed nearby. Ramu was very sad and worried, as he knew that he would not be able to replace the axe and would now have to find some other means of livelihood.
He prayed sincerly for his axe, and a goddess appeared from the river. She asked Ramu what he had lost and why he was so sad. Ramu told her everything.
Goddess, then went back into the river and came back with a silver axe, Ramu said that it wasn’t his axe. Goddess, once again went back into the river and this time came back with an golden axe, again Ramu said that it wasn’t his axe.
The Goddess smiled and pulled out his iron axe from the river and gave it to him. Ramu was delighted to get back his old axe and thanked the Goddess.
Goddess was very happy with Ramu’s honesty and rewarded him with the silver and the golden axe. Ramu was overwhelmed with happiness and went back home with his new found wealth.
Moral of the story: Honesty is always the best policy. It is better to lose something temporarily than to lose your honesty and integrity forever.