Honesty is the Best Policy

Here’s a story you might have heard when you were younger. It doesn’t hurt to revisit those old, nostalgic stories.

I was walking along in the forest, when I heard the sound of rushing water. I followed the noise, and approached a stream in the forest. The water moved calmly but swiftly, beavers downstream built a damn, and small birds would take a drink. I stared at my own reflection in the mirror (oh that handsome mug~).

I probably stared at my reflection for around twenty minutes when the surface of the water broke and bubbled. A water spirit burst forth, somewhat humanoid and completely composed of water.

“You’ve been staring at my stream for quite a while,” the water spirit said in a happy, bubbly voice. “Did you lose something in my stream?”

(If you’ve ever heard this story before, you should recognize it now)

“Yeah I did actually,” I lied. “I dropped my axe in the stream while I was chopping trees down and stuff, you know, the usual. But I can’t find it! How will I feed my poor family of five? Or wait, maybe it was a family of six. Uh, will it be more convincing if I had a family of seven and my wife died due to the plague? Yeah that sounds legit.”

Luckily for me, the water spirit replied “I’ll look for your axe!” and dove under water before I finished my horribly construed facade.

He resurfaced not too long later, and help up a silver axe with artistic carvings. “Is this your axe?” the water spirit axed me.

“Uh…no…?”

“Are you sure?” the water spirit pursed. “It’s with two thousand dollars.”

I waved my hand nonchalantly. “Dude, I said, it’s not mine. You can keep it, you found it.”

The water spirit dove back underwater, the returned with a golden axe studded with diamonds and other bedazzling jewels. “Is this yours?” he axed me again. “This one cost one point five million dollars.”

“Dude no, that’s not mine,” I said. “I don’t even know where you keep finding bizarre axes like that, I just want my normal axe back.”

The water spirit returned this time with a normal wooden axe with a steel head.

“Oh hey!” I shouted in what I hoped to be a convincing tone. “Now that’s my axe.”

“Really?” The water spirit pondered. “You could have taken the priceless axes I offered you before instead of this garbage. Instead though, you remained honest. If you had lied though, I would have been able to tell, since the silver and gold axes were mine.”

I did a double take. “Wh-what? You lied to me. You were just trying to trick me with those questions!”

“I was just testing your honesty!” the water spirit said defensively.

“Like that’s any of your business, you’re just a water spirit,” I said. “What’s a water spirit doing with axes anyways? You can’t cut down trees. Hell, these axes cut down trees either. Your axes are the ones that is garbage. Now give me back my axe that works.”

The water spirited looked downfallen but handed to me the steel and wood axe anyways. “As a gift for being honest,” he continued anyways. “You deserve these.” He handed me the treasure axes.

“Wh-what?! So now you’re handing out your priceless treasures to anyone who doesn’t fall for an obvious lie trap? What are you, filthy rich?”

The water spirit shifted his eyes then looked down. “Actually I’m poor…those are my only possessions.”

I eyed the treasures suspiciously. I examined them hard, but they really were real gold and silver, despite what my common sense was trying to tell me.

“Okay well, thanks then!” I exclaimed as I swiped all three axes from the water spirit’s hand. “Thanks chump!” I repeated, and dashed off into the woods.

After a bit of walking, I ran into a man.

“Have you seen my axe?” he axed.

“Maybe,” I said. I offered him my silver axe. “Is this yours?”

He looked at my axe for only a brief moment and immediately retorted, “No.”

“Then I haven’t seen your axe,” I said, and rushed away. Wow, I thought to myself, what an honest guy.

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