Stories & Tales
The Young Woodsman

Long ago, there was a young woodsman, who went into the forest early every morning to collect wood. One morning, while he was out collecting wood, the rain started to pour down on him. When he reached the place he usually collected wood, he saw a lion sitting there.

The lion said: “I want to befriend you and help you, because you are very poor.”
The woodsman was happy to have a friend.
The lion helped the woodsman gather wood, and he gathered and sold so much, he became quite wealthy.

One night, it was pouring rain again, and the lion thought he would join the woodsman in his house for the night. As he approached the house he saw that many people were there with his friend. “I don’t want to intrude, and if these men see me they will surely be afraid,” the lion thought to himself, and settled down on the ground, just outside the window.

He heard the men talking. One of them said to his young friend: “You were a very poor man just a few months ago. How did you manage to become rich?”

“I have worked very hard,” said the woodsman, “and earned a lot through my work.”

The lion was very angry that the woodsman did not acknowledge him and didn’t tell these men that he, the lion , had been a kind friend to him, and had helped him so much. He retuned to his place in the forest, feeling sad.

In the morning, the woodsmen went to the forest as he did every day. He found the lion lying on the ground and looking quite ill.

“What’s the matter, my dear friend?” he asked. “You don’t look well.”

“I am not well,” replied the lion. “Is your ax strong?”

“Yes, my axe is strong.”

“Then please hit me hard with it.”

The woodsman was surprised by this request, but he did as he was asked. He hit the lion with the axe, and the lion fell over, bleeding. Thinking the lion was dead, the woodsman left the forest, and went home.

Days passed. Finally the woodsman went to the forest again, and lo to his surprise he saw the lion was alive and well. “Forgive me, my friend,” he said to the lion, “I hit you, and then I left you for dead.”

“Look at my head, has the wound healed?” asked the lion.

He looked carefully at the lion’s head, and found that the wound had healed completely. No trace of it was left.

“You hit me, and wounded me, but a wound such as this will heal. But words can wound also, and those wounds are hard to heal. Why did you not acknowledge me to your guests?”

The woodsman realized his mistake and felt very ashamed and begged forgiveness. But the lion was too hurt, and said angrily: “Go away from me, or I will eat you.”

And the woodsman fled for his life….