Every day he would go to the nearby forest, collect some wood and sell it in the village market. Though he never earned a lot of money, he was a content man.
One day while cutting wood on the bank of a river, his axe slipped and fell in to the river. He did not know how to swim and the river was full too. He sat down and started crying. Suddenly a very old man appeared in front of him and asked why he was crying.
The woodcutter narrated how he lost his only axe.
“Show me the place where it fell.” said the old man.
“There.” said the woodcutter.
The old man jumped in to the river and went deep down.
He emerged from the water holding a silver axe in his hand and asked,” Is this the one you lost?”
“No.” replied the woodcutter, “This is not mine.”
The old man once again went down and came out.
This time he was holding a golden axe.
“Is this the one you lost?”, asked the old man.
“No, this is not mine.” Aid the woodcutter.
Third time the old man plunged in to the water and came out with the original axe and asked,” Is this?”
“Yes”, said the woodcutter,” Yes. This one is mine.”
The old man was very much impressed by the truthfulness of the woodcutter.
He gave all the three axes to him and disappeared.
Yes it was lord Shiva who came to help him!
The woodcutter wend back and sold the silver and gold axe in the near by town and earned a lot of money.
Now the whole scenario changed.
A beautiful house was built, bought a new car and stated living like a real rich man.
Days passed and one day he went to the Kumbha Mela along with his wife.
Oh! What a crowd! Lakhs of people, moving in all directions, push or pull to make ones way. And in that process the woodcutter and his wife got separated.
It was really impossible to find some one in that crowd and the woodcutter was on the verge of crying.
He suddenly remembered how Lord Shiva had helped him to recover the lost axe from the river.
So he started calling Lord Shiva.
“Oh, it is the old woodcutter calling again.” told Lord Shiva to his wife Parvathi,
“But he is a very rich man now”, said Parvahti,” If something is lost, he could buy ten instead of one.”
“Yes but he lost his wife this time”, said Lord Shiva, “I will go and help him to find his wife.”
“Better test him like you had done earlier.” Said Parvathi, “We can see whether money changed him or not”.
So Lord Shiva along with Parvathi set out to help the woodcutter.
Seeing Lord Shiva, the woodcutter narrated the story and asked him to find his wife from the crowd. Lord Shiva plunged in to the crowd and came out holding the hand of Parvathi.
“Is this your wife?” asked Lord Shiva.
“Yes. Yes. This is my wife”, said the woodcutter quickly.
Lord Shiva become very angry and shouted,” YOU Liar, when you got a lot of money, you become greedy, I will curse you and you will loose everything and will become the poor old woodcutter.”
“No. No. Please don’t curse me” pleaded the woodcutter,” Please listen to me and then punish me.”
“What explanation?” shouted Lord Shiva.
“Last time you took out three axes and gave me all the three, “said the woodcutter.
“Had I said this is not my wife you would have done the same trick again and I would have ended up having three wives!”
Index: Indian Folktale, Story, Children, woodcutter, Lord Shiva, Parvathi