This old lumberjack was passing by the lake carrying his ax on his shoulder. Suddenly, he tripped over a rock and his ax sank into the lake. While he sat frustrated, gold fish came out of the lake and asked him:
“Why are you frustrated? What’s wrong?”
“I just lost my ax. It drowned into this lake.”
“Don’t worry; I will go get it for you.”
After a while, gold fish came out with a gold ax and said:
“Is this your ax?”
“No, this is not mine. My ax was not gold; it was just plain rusty one.”
“Just a second” said the gold fish and went down the lake again.
“Maybe this one is yours?” asked the fish showing the old man a silver ax.
The lumberjack’s reply was the same: he told it was not his ax.
The gold fish plunged into the lake again and finally came up with the old man’s rusty ax with wooden handle.
“So, is this yours then?”
“Yes! That’s my ax! Thank you so much!”
The gold fish said that it was testing the old man’s honesty. For he was honest, it rewarded the lumberjack with both gold and silver axes. The lumberjack thanked the gold fish and went home happily with three axes.
Another day, the old man was passing by the lake again but this time with his 80 year old wife. All of a sudden, his wife tripped over the rock and drowned into the lake! As the lumberjack was sitting frustrated, the gold fish came out again and asked:
“Why are you frustrated? What’s wrong? Did you lose your ax again?”
“No, not my ax. This time, I lost my wife. She drowned in the lake!”
“Oh, that’s not good. Give me a second, I will take her out of the lake” said the gold fish and plunged into the water. After a while, it came out with a beautiful 20 year old girl and asked the old man:
“Is this your wife?”
“Yes, yes, she is my wife!!” said the lumberjack hurriedly.
“Oh my, I never expected this from you! Last time I rewarded you with 3 axes for your honesty but this time you’re being dishonest! This 20 year old young girl is not your wife! Get lost now! I don’t want to help you anymore!” – gold fish got angry at the old man.
“Come on, last time you rewarded me with three axes, right? And this time, if I don’t’ accept the first woman you’re going to give me all three women as a reward. I don’t need three wives! One will be enough; therefore, please just give me the first one and that’s it!”