A well respected landowner required the services of a woodcutter. Soon, a burly man volunteered for the job. The landowner explained that, in order to get approved to the job, any candidate should axe down, in a single day, a leafy and huge cedar that was in front of his house. Faced with the daunting task, the woodcutter replied: “For Gods, maybe. But I don’t believe this chore to be humanly possible, so I retreat.” A second woodcutter arrived asking for the job, but once he heard the condition, it seemed to him that the landowner had become crazy. Like this, many other woodcutters rejected the job. But one burning morning, other lumberer applied for the job. It seemed that the cedar was too large for his slight and somewhat dandified figure. The condition was the same, but this woodcutter’s response was: “Sure, Good Lord, I can chop down this tree, but I beg you the permission to start working not today, but tomorrow at dawn… that way, I’ll have enough time to open the trunks and put them to dry before the sun hides his face.” This response, firm and self-confident, convinced the landowner of this man’s suitability for working in his estate.

Cedar gifts

“The job is yours, but don’t dare touch a single leaf of this quaint tree with your axe… this is a lovely tree, whose shade gives shelter to my kids and peace to my family. You’ve passed the test.”

And so the years passed by, and the landowner never regretted of hiring the woodcutter. During all those years of strenuous work the woodcutter had not returned to his village, and had not seen his family. That’s why the landowner decided it was time for the woodcutter to rest and to return to his village. As a token of gratitude, a big farewell party was held for the woodcutter. It was a prize to the woodcutter’s fidelity and good performance. On that day, the woodcutter recalled many joyful things he had lived in the estate. His boss’ family presented him with a lot of objects and gold as gifts. He received plenty of gifts. Collected so many that he required one horse and two mules to carry his gifts. When he departed, he was accompanied to the outskirts of the estate by two pawns. They were talking about the best path that our woodcutter should take to reach his destination faster. The two pawns were of the view that the trail was the shortest path.

“But I don’t know the trail” the woodcutter said, “On the contrary, I know the road well, and won’t get lost.”

Talking about that, they almost reached the last gate of the ranch. However, suddenly, they heard the sound of a horse’s hooves behind them. Other pawn on horseback came galloping up. He said to the woodcutter that the boss wanted him back in the house. The woodcutter worried a bit. “Why is he calling me? I already said goodbye to him… If he changed his mind, and wants me to continue working, he should know that I’m exhausted… I can’t work anymore. Or it’s that they want the gifts back?” He came up with many conjectures and questions. At last, he was in the house again, and the boss was waiting for him. The boss smiled up at him and said “Don’t be frightened. It’s just that I forgot to present you with something that is worth more than all the gold you are carrying with you. Please, accept these three gifts:

1) Never take the trail instead of the main road.

2) Don’t ask about things that don’t pertain to you.

3) Never succumb to hasty judgment.

Now you can go. May God bless you exceedingly.”

Our woodchopper left, thinking of the things his boss had just said. Again, he arrived to the last gate of the estate. He had two options: to follow the trail that the pawns had recommended, or to take the main road. He thought over his decision, and recalled the first gift of his boss: “Never take the trail instead of the main road.” And so he followed the road. Fate was graceful to him, as the pawns were awaiting for him on the trail in order to kill him and rob his gold.

He resumed his journey, but when the sun began to hide his face, fatigue lambasted him, and he had to look for shelter in an inn. The inn was attended by an elderly gentleman who offered him a room to stay overnight. Our woodcutter realized that the only people in the inn were the innkeeper, a parrot, and a woman dressed in rags, locked up in a quite small room. From time to time the woman was broking the silence of the inn with her loud and desperate cries, asking for clemency. Our friend was exhausted, and for the next few hours, he fell sleep. The next day, he woke up early, and went looking for the innkeeper to pay for his stay. He was kind of surprised when he noticed that the innkeeper was already waiting for him, with the breakfast served. After eating, and seeing and hearing the woman’s woes, he told the innkeeper: “Let me ask you something…” The man quickly replied: “I know what you are going to ask!” Suddenly, the woodcutter remembered the second gift the landowner presented him: “Don’t ask about things that don’t pertain to you,” and changed the question in his mind. “Yes? Do you know what I’m about to ask? Well, better yet… I just want to know how much do I owe you for the stay and the meal.” A bit perplexed, the innkeeper answered “Well, my good Lord, you owe me nothing… And I will be always glad to serve you, because you have been the first person that did not ask about that woman and the reason behind her enclosure.” He then added “She is my wife, and she will be locked up there, forever, as atonement for betraying me… for she is an unfaithful woman… I’m waiting for her lover to come to her rescue to complete my vengeance… Meanwhile, I kill every man that ask about her!” Again, our woodcutter was alive thanks to the 3 gifts. He left with a sense of wisdom in his head, which he could afterwards explain as the gifts’ blessing. He immediately departed towards his home, where his wife and sons should be waiting for him… his boys should have grown up very healthy, he thought.

After crossing rivers, plains, mountains and an inclement sun, the woodchopper finally arrived to his village, and took the road leading to his house. He decided not to enter through the front door of the house, though, as he wanted to surprise his wife. However, after approaching to his home, the one in shock was him: he realized that his wife was hugging and kissing a young priest. At that time, his blood boiled… He thought that vision to be an hallucination resulting from his long trip… But no, it was real: his wife was hugging other guy. He thought of the innkeeper and the argument he wielded to punish his wife… He could not stand that sight. But the third gift of the landowner emerged in his mind: “Never succumb to hasty judgment.” He recovered his calmness, and walked towards them. His wife, surprised, took her hand to her forehead, and then shouted for joy to God, and burst into happiness: God, thank you! This is such a great day! And she ran to meet with her husband… he did not understand what was going on. She hugged him and said: “Dear, you have returned… at last!… and today, coincidentally, our eldest son has just returned from the monastery, where he was ordained as a priest.” Finally, the woodcutter realized. He hugged and kissed both his wife and his son, and full of joy, thanked sincerely in his heart to his boss for the wisdom of the three gifts.

This story is purely fictional, and was based on an american folktale. It mostly focuses on good sense.