Early in the morning, a woodman was busily chopping wood by the river. But the drowsiness of the morning and a sleepless night resulted in his sways being weak. Thus, as he swung his axe, it slipped from his hand and into the river beside him.
The woodman was devastated. His axe had been his only source of income, and he had just lost it with his mere hands. He began to cry and upon hearing him sobbing, god mercury descended before him, asking him the matter. When the woodman explained, mercury descended into the river to help and brought out an axe made of gold, asking the woodman if it was his. But the woodman denied it.
Mercury went back and brought out a silver axe next. Presenting it to the woodman, he asked him if it was his. Again, the simple woodman denied it and said that his axe was a simple brass tool.
Finally, Mercury brough back his actual axe, and the woodman was delighted. But Mercury was so impressed by his honesty that he gifted all three axes to him.
Happily, the woodman brought the axes home and started living a comfortable life. Soon, news spread about his riches and many woodmen in the village began to hide their axes and fake cry, asking Mercury to help.
Mercury would arrive each time, but in greed the woodmen would try to take the gold and silver axes from him.
This would anger Mercury and he would hit them with the axes and send them home, taking away their brass axes too, leaving them with nothing.
Truly, honesty is the best policy.