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Mercury and the Workmen – English Fairy Tale

Mercury and the Workmen – learn English with fairy tales from Aesop’s Fables with a podcast and vocabulary list

Source: Gutenberg Project at www.gutenberg.org

A workman, felling wood by the side of a river, let his axe drop by accident into a deep pool.

Being thus deprived of the means of his livelihood, he sat down on the bank and lamented his hard fate.

Mercury appeared and demanded the cause of his tears.

After he told him his misfortune, Mercury plunged into the stream, and, bringing up a golden axe, inquired if that were the one he had lost.

On his saying that it was not his, Mercury disappeared beneath the water a second time, returned with a silver axe in his hand, and again asked the workman if it were his.

When the workman said it was not, he dived into the pool for the third time and brought up the axe that had been lost.

The workman claimed it and expressed his joy at its recovery.

Mercury, pleased with his honesty, gave him the golden and silver axes in addition to his own.

The workman, on his return to his house, related to his companions all that had happened.

One of them at once resolved to try and secure the same good fortune for himself.

He ran to the river and threw his axe on purpose into the pool at the same place, and sat down on the bank to weep.

Mercury appeared to him just as he hoped he would; and having learned the cause of his grief, plunged into the stream and brought up a golden axe, inquiring if he had lost it.

The workman seized it greedily, and declared that truly it was the very same axe that he had lost. Mercury, displeased at his knavery, not only took away the golden axe, but refused to recover for him the axe he had thrown into the pool.

Honesty is the best policy.

used to say that telling the truth is better than lying even when it is hard to do

Source of definition: https://www.merriam-webster.com/

New words and expressions

  1. Fell: cut down, chop down
  2. By accident: accidentally
  3. Pool: pond, lake
  4. Means: method, tool, instrument, income
  5. Livelihood: source of income, living
  6. Bank: the side or edge of a river or pond
  7. Lament: moan, grieve, cry
  8. Plunge into: dive into
  9. Inquire: ask
  10. Recovery: retrieval, regaining
  11. Relate: narrate, describe
  12. Companion: friend
  13. Resolve: make up one’s mind, decide
  14. To secure: to obtain, acquire
  15. Weep: sob, cry, wail
  16. Seize: snatch, take hold of
  17. Declare: state, announce
  18. Knavery: dishonesty, deceit

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