The Story Of The Talkative Woodcutter


In a far away land lived a certain woodcutter. Every day he chopped wood in a large forest outside his village. At the end of the day he carried the wood back to sell in the village. After twenty years of chopping wood he grew tired of it and one day shouted out loud for all the trees to hear him, "I don't want to do this anymore! I will cut one last load of firewood and then look for the bones of our father Adam, who brought us all this pain and trouble upon us, and burn them up."

At that instant, God sent an angel to him in the form of a woman. The angel asked him what he was doing, and the woodcutter replied, " I am searching for the bones of Adam. I want to burn them, because of all the pain and trouble he brought us."

The angel said, "What if someone were to free you from all this work and weariness?"

Delighted, the woodcutter replied, "I would thank them a thousand times!"

So the angel said, "Then I will transport you to a garden where you will never have to work, but you must promise that no matter what you see there, you will not utter a single word."

The woodcutter agreed, and the angel clapped her hands together. In a flash, the woodcutter found himself in a beautiful garden filled with tall trees, clear streams, and lots of delicious fruit.

After a little while, the woodcutter saw a man cutting wood. He was cutting the live branches from the trees and leaving the dead ones. The woodcutter thought about his promise to the angel, but as he watched the man work, he could not restrain himself from saying, "Mister, don't you know that you should cut the dead branches and leave the live ones?"

The man paused and said, "Have you been here long?"

The next instant the woodcutter was back near his village with his axe, and he began to wail and beat his breast in anguish. Once again the angel appeared before him and asked what had happened. When the woodcutter told her, the angel said, "Didn't I tell you not to speak?"

"I promise I will not say a word if you let me go back," said the woodcutter. So the angel clapped her hands and the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden.

After a little while, the woodcutter saw a gazelle running through the garden and an old man hobbling after it. Without thinking, the woodcutter shouted, "That gazelle is bounding here and there, old man. When will you give up and stop hobbling after it?"

The old man stopped and said, "Have you been here long?"

The next instant, the woodcutter was back at his woodpile in the thicket outside the village. Again he wailed and moaned, and once more the angel returned.

"Please have pity on me," said the woodcutter, "If you give me one more chance, may I be cursed if I speak again." The angel agreed, and in an instant the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden.

Aware of his mistakes, the woodcutter remained silent for three days, but then he saw four men struggling to move the millstone of an oil press. They would all lift the millstone on one side and it would topple over onto the other side. Then they would move to the other side and repeat the same process. The woodcutter thought to himself, "Should I tell them or not? These men are senseless. I have to tell them."

So the woodcutter shouted, "Men, if you want to carry that millstone, you should lift it from all sides!"

One of the men turned to the woodcutter and said, "Have you been here long?" And the next instant the woodcutter was back at his woodpile.

The woodcutter wailed and wailed, and once more the angel appeared in front of him. The woodcutter begged and pleaded to return to the heavenly garden, but the angel said, "Your father Adam only sinned once. You have committed sin upon sin upon sin, so your place shall be here among the firewood until the end of your days."

Note: The woodcutter complained about his work and placed the blame on Adam (God's first human creation according to Jews, Christians, and Muslims), but when he was given the opportunity to live a better life, he was made to realize how easy it is to sin. I think there are lots of morals in this tale from Palestine.