A woodsman is presented with an interesting career opportunity
|There once was a woodsman who had a sharp axe and strong arms. He could chop and he could build and that is what he liked to do. Arriving in the village with an empty belly and no money, he set about finding work. An old woman with a tumble-down shack that was deteriorating daily was eager to employ him, fortifying him for his work with a hearty bowl of stew and crusty bread.
She showed him a painting of an ancient tree and told him he must be back before the clock struck the witching hour. Full of meat and potatoes, he set off to find the tree she preferred above all others.
His mind was fixed on her excellent stew and so he ignored the birds that followed him and whose chirping sounded oddly like “Turn back”. He knew the tree in an instant. Upon its ancient branches flickered the tiny lights of fairies. It shone like a beacon on the mossy forest floor. The tree was incredibly beautiful. But having an axe, strong arms and a bowl of stew waiting for him, he began to chop.
The tree cried out in a pitiful voice.
“Good woodsman, if you chop me down and give my wood to the old witch, she will trap all my magic in the walls of her house. Let me be, and I will reward you more handsomely than she ever could.”
Four fairies then flew down to him with a magic purse that held a supply of gold that would never run out.
Years later, sitting by a warm fire in a comfortable house and having grown uncomfortably fat, the woodsman gazed ruefully upon his axe which stood rusting by the door and thought , “I should have chopped that damn talking tree down”.
Word Count: 300