Mercury and the Woodman

水神與樵夫

 

 

A woodman was felling a tree on the bank of a river, when his axe, glancing off the trunk, flew out of his hands and fell into the water.

有個樵夫在河邊砍柴時,斧頭擦過樹幹,從他手中飛出去,掉到了河裡。

 

As he stood by the water's edge lamenting his loss, Mercury appeared and asked him the reason for his grief; and on learning what had happened, out of pity for his distress he dived into the river and, bringing up a golden axe, asked him if that was the one he had lost. The woodman replied that it was not, and Mercury then dived a second time, and, bringing up a silver axe, asked if that was his.

他站在岸邊哀嘆自己的損失,這時水神出現,問他為何難過。當他知道樵夫的遭遇後,由於同情樵夫的困境,於是潛入河裡,拿上來一把金斧頭,詢問樵夫這是不是他弄丟的那把斧頭。樵夫回答不是,水神便再次潛入水裡,拿上來一把銀斧頭,又問樵夫這一把是不是他的。

 

"No, that is not mine either," said the woodman.

「不是,這一把也不是我的。」樵夫回答。

 

Once more Mercury dived into the river, and brought up the missing axe. The woodman was overjoyed at recovering his property, and thanked his benefactor warmly; and the latter was so pleased with his honesty that he made him a present of the other two axes.

於是水神再度潛入河中,帶回了樵夫弄丟的斧頭。看到失而復得的斧頭,樵夫大喜過望,親切地感謝他的恩人。而水神則對他誠實的態度感到非常高興,把另外兩把斧頭也送給了他。

 

When the woodman told the story to his companions, one of these was filled with envy of his good fortune and determined to try his luck for himself. So he went and began to fell a tree at the edge of the river, and presently contrived to let his axe drop into the water.

樵夫回去把這件事告訴伙伴們,其中一位對樵夫的好運滿心嫉妒,決定也要去碰碰運氣。於是他出發前往河邊砍樹,沒多久,便刻意讓他的斧頭落進水裡。

 

Mercury appeared as before, and, on learning that his axe had fallen in, he dived and brought up a golden axe, as he had done on the previous occasion. Without waiting to be asked whether it was his or not the fellow cried, "That's mine, that's mine," and stretched out his hand eagerly for the prize; but Mercury was so disgusted at his dishonesty that he not only declined to give him the golden axe, but also refused to recover for him the one he had let fall into the stream.

水神就像先前一樣,出現了,而在得知他的斧頭掉進水裡後,就像上一回的情況一樣,他潛下去拿上來一把金斧頭。還沒等水神問他這把斧頭是不是他的,這傢伙便大喊:「那是我的,那是我的。」並且急忙伸出手,想要拿到這個獎賞。然而,水神對他不誠實的態度十分厭惡,不僅沒把金斧頭給他,連他原本掉進河裡的斧頭也不替他取回了。

 

 

Honesty is the best policy.

誠實為上策。