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Once upon a time, two friends named Leo and Nate, lived near a lake in the great State of Wisconsin. They fished and they farmed, but were never able to make enough money. A heavenly messenger recognized their plight and decided to test the friends to see which one was worthy of a gift?

A week later, the Nate went out in his rowboat to fish the lake. He carried with him his rusted steel axe. Nate accidentally, dropped the axe into the lake. Moments later, the heavenly messenger appeared from the depths of the lake, holding a silver axe. “Is this your axe?” asked the messenger. “No, it isn’t” Nate replied.

Then the messenger re-appeared, this time presenting Nate with a golden axe. “Is this your axe?” asked the messenger. “No, it is not” he replied. Finally, the messenger appeared with the rusted steel axe. “Is this your axe?” asked the messenger. “Yes, this is the axe I dropped into the lake. Thank you for returning it to me.” said Nate with glee.

That evening, Nate returned home and related all the events that had happened in the lake that day to his friend, Leo. Leo became so irritated. “Why didn’t

you take the golden axe? Had you taken the axe made of gold all our money problems would be solved.”

The next day, Leo decided to do the same thing Nate had done. Leo rowed his boat out onto the lake, and threw the rusty steel axe into the water. Moments later, a heavenly messenger emerged from the lake with the steel axe, asking Leo, “Is this your axe?”

“No, this is not my axe” replied Leo.

So the messenger lifted up a silver axe, and asked Leo, “Is this your axe?”

But Leo was already shaking his head “no.” “No, this is not my axe either” Leo replied.

So, the heavenly messenger re-appeared with the golden axe.

Leo’s eyes lit up when he saw the smooth, sparkling, golden axe. Leo said, “Ah, yes, this is my axe. Thank you for getting it for me from the depths of the lake.”

Leo took the golden axe, and began to row his boat towards the shore. But slowly, his boat began to sink, because the golden axe was too heavy. A wise man would have thrown the axe overboard into the lake, but Leo was stubborn and greedy, and as the boat and the axe sank into the lake, so did Leo.

Leo was never seen again; but weeks later, the golden axe washed ashore as Nate was walking by. Nate retrieved the axe and was able to sell it; and with its proceeds he purchased more fertile farmland, which was able to provide more income for his family.


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