A woodcutter went out one morning to cut some firewood. He looked around for his favorite ax and discovered to his alarm that it was missing. He anxiously searched around the wood pile, behind his house, and in his shed but could not find it anywhere.
The woodcutter became more agitated the longer he spent trying to find his tool. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed his neighbor’s son standing near the woodshed. The woodcutter stared at the boy and thought, “Look at him lurking about the shed, shifting uneasily from foot to foot, greedy hands stuffed into his pockets. What a guilty look on his face! I cannot prove it, but he must have stolen my ax!”
The woodcutter fumed and promised himself he would get even for this crime.
The next day, the woodcutter stumbled on his ax lying beside a pile of firewood. “I remember now!” he exclaimed. “It is just where I left it when I was splitting wood!”
The next time he saw his neighbor’s son, the woodcutter looked intently at the boy. He scrutinized him from head to toe. “How odd,” he thought. “Somehow, between yesterday and today, that boy has lost his guilty look.”
(based on a Chinese Tale)
Wisdom Tales from around the World