Open your mouth, hahaha – Lessons from the woodcutter’s life

It is not just Johnnies-come-lately who rush to all and sundry to gush about the minutest of their accomplishments. Even the most seasoned of us cannot keep our gob shut in moments of elation. Or despair, but that I have already dealt with earlier in “Make an ass of yourself, but don’t let the world know about it”.
We undermine the perils of parting with information; and sacrifice the benefits accrued at the altar of sharing! Don’t. I beg of you, as a well wisher. Falling on deaf ears, do I see? At least desist from turning a blind eye to this short and sweet story.

Once upon a time, there lived an honest and diligent woodcutter (WC) in a god-forsaken village. You know the kind. One who sharpens his axe for 8 hours, if he had 10 to fell a tree. Sustenance chopper, who stays forever poor, struggling to make ends meet. One day, he was doing his bit to bring down a mighty mahogany when his hands slipped and the axe fell into an abandoned well nearby. Having lost his means to earn his livelihood and no capital to procure a new one, he sat there on the edge of the well ruing his fate, after taking a good look into it and determining that there is no way he can get out of it alive.

His wailings reached the ears of a lesser god (LG), dweller of the well and a benevolent soul when he is in a good mood. And that day was one of those do-good days in his diary. Out he came, enquired the matter with a stunned and still sobbing wood-cutter, and dived right back in only to come up with a brand-new copper axe.

LG: “Take it”

WC (wiping his eyes, still in daze): “Not mine”

Dive 2. Silver axe

WC (shaking his head): “Nah”

Dive 3. Gold axe

WC (gaining composure and losing mind): “Wow. No again. How can I cut wood with this? Mine is of iron”

Dive 4. Puffing and panting.

LG: “Take it. And take the other three too. Consider this once in a lifetime hike, out of turn, for honesty. Run”

Pleased with his good deed for the day, the god dived right back in a 5th time for a well earned repose. Even gods are human sometimes.

The WC headed home, happy and whistling at the good fortune that struck him. Honesty pays. Goodness prevails. Such were the thoughts on his mind, when he met with his scheming neighbor, a blacksmith.

BS (eye raised and conscience troubled): “What’s up? Never seen you this way before”

WC (gaining composure and losing mind): “Brother, from today all my problems are solved” Blah blah..axe..slip..fell..well..god..1,2,3..Run

To make a dash into his hut and bring the heaviest axe out (rusting with no takers) was the work of a second for the BS. Off he zipped into the forest and reached the wealth bestowing well. Aiming well he dropped the purported seed of his future fortune into it and waited.


LG zapped out of his nap like a mad cap. Ayyieee..

Running his hand on the part of the head where the ruddy thing delivered a deadly blow, he floated up menacingly. Cursing and cussing he looked in the direction of BS and was about to direct a volley of vitriolic verbiage guaranteed to wreck havoc.

BS was nothing if he wasn’t a cunning sycophant. Prostration followed by paeans punctured with apologies in between flowed effortless from him. Slowly LG’s temper came down to manageable levels. He realized that this poor soul was only driven by greed and a desire to make a quick fortune, which is but natural in the earthly beings. And it wasn’t his fault altogether. If only that honest motor-mouth had refrained from uttering a syllable about the benevolent heart that LG was.

Zip. The Copper, Silver, Gold axes vanished from WC’s hut and materialized in LG’s hand.

Zap. They found their way into the stretched and grasping hands of BS.

Zoom. Into the cozy interiors went the LG, once again to catch a much needed snooze. Happy in the knowledge that the fortunes are safely in the hands of a selfish soul who wouldn’t squeal.


So you see folks? If ever you get a pay hike that defies gravity or the laid out norms; if you are sent on an offsite before you have the tickets safely in hand; when you are invited by the boss outside of office hours; or to his home; when you got a congratulatory email or you are privy to the impending pink slip to the dweller in next cubicle.. SHUT THE AHEM UP!

Because there are enough and more fast thinking, flash Gordons around than the number of disease carrying germs on your keypad. They will beat you to it (whatever it is), before it is signed and sealed and declared off-bound to others.

I know it is easy to get carried away. But these rewards are easier to get carried away by scheming and snooping peer-a-sites.

SO SHUT UP. And Savor in Silence.



18 Comments Add yours

  1. Revathy PG says:

    Good one Arun !!!!…As always its delight to read ur blogs and always look fwd for it 🙂 Indeed a learning lesson…and very much applies to this acquisitive world !!! Am learning to keep it to myself 🙂


  2. anita noronha says:

    hahahahaaaa….good advice! Its an art to know when to keep quiet and when to talk…very tough for normal mortals!!
    Keep it coming Arun.

  3. Zulfiquar Shah says:

    Too Good. Applies in today’s practical world.



  4. Vidushi Gupta says:

    Hey Arun…this is definitely worth reading!!

    I have faced many problems because of this reason..will take in account the moral of the story..

    Thank you for posting such a masterpiece..[:)]

    I generally did not take in account the moral from such stories…but used to read it for fun..just like any other story..before i started reading them again here and from such prospective!!

    Keep up the good work my friend..!!


  5. Arun,
    Thanks for inviting me to this blog. Once again you impart “the wisdom of age” upon us. And while it seems we all know the moral of the story, it is always good to be reminded that we ALL tend to have big mouths especially when opportunity abounds. And you are correct, the sly fox will always find a way to snatch victory from our hands. It is also important to remember that it is GOOD to sit in silence when BAD THINGS happen to us. We ofte sulk and share our souls with prople who at the time may seem sincere by lending us a sympathetic ear (and of course, there are some very sincere folks out there, indeed). But in this case, as PAIN seems to subside when we “vent”, it is important to chose our friends wisely, l’est we become subject to the whims of the dog who enjoys lifting his leg on the misfortunes of others. That’s my bit of wisdom!
    – Big Joe

  6. Kishore Parthasarathy says:

    Awesome post Arun!
    When you smell success in leaps and bounds, sniff that ur the the blue eyed boy among the junta, mantra is to savor in silence.
    Does the other way work? Should I clamor on being stripped down? or is it better to savor this too in silence? 🙂

  7. Adrienne says:

    A familiar story to those of us who have opened our mouths to save our egos and sometimes bruise others by putting them down. It can be difficult to give kudos to ourselves and not need public recognition, to feel fulfilled — at least, those of us who have once had that need.

    Through the years, I’ve learned my lesson — and even though there are stickies all over my desk that say “Silence is golden”, it’s the trouble I’ve gotten myself into that keeps me quiet.

    Thanks, Arun.

  8. fahad says:

    That’s one good story. I just remebered the dialoge from the move 3 idots-wheb they thought their friend had not passed they felt bad, but when they found out their friend had scored first place they became all the more sad. So be careful wheb you blurt out your
    Newly earned good fortune

  9. Sonia says:

    Two thumbs up! What could I say more except the importance to zip it, lock n throw it.
    I hate to blow my trumpet in this forum. Eagerly waiting for the next blog.

  10. Gale Force says:

    OMG – I had to laugh. So true. I once has a job with a credit union, for which I was over-qualified, but I didn’t want to work for my brother’s firm any more, so I took it.

    They had a high-priced consultant (HPC) who flew in weekly to coach the CEO. The HPC met me and asked me to coach him, quietly asking my boss, a rebellious young training director, for permission.

    All went well until my ego (bruised by certain painful incidents that occurred in the long years of working for my unappreciative brother) sneaked out. The secret of my successful coaching of the HPC was too much to bear silently and ….yup – I had to mention it (oh so casually) when some bitchy VP was playing one-upmanship on me.

    After that, they were looking to get me, and the HPC, so I left and opened my own business. But I knew that I’d actually had a good opportunity to do something interesting with short cuts (the HPC was already making plans to hire me) and I screwed it up because I couldn’t shuddup in the face of the VP bitch’s games.

    May others learn from where we have walked.

    Luv ya, Arun!

  11. Ah Arun. I have bitten My Lip so many times, it required stiches. You can lead a Horse to Water that doesn’t mean
    he’ll eat tandori curry chicken pizza.

    Om Shanti


  12. pavan says:

    Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die, so, let us all be thankful.-Buddhist Quote

    In all probability, this is how the WC consoled himself, but unlike the BS, the WC was content & so lived happily for ever.The BS’s unfulfilled desires causes him frustrations & his fulfilled desires cause him more frustration.


  13. Nuunalum than vaayal Kedum TAMIL SAYING( The frog gets destructed by its croak)…..
    Well said. Containing joy is tough ask!! But be prepared for consequences…

    Keep flowing.

  14. Meenal says:

    Excellent Post Arun…..This is something i actually practice at work…..And something I recommend to others also. Keep sending such good stuff.


  15. Pinky says:

    This is a good entry 🙂 I enjoyed reading it and i need to learn to shut up too if i ever get goodies 😀 ahahahahha


    Hi Arun,

    I know this sounds cliche….but…yet another masterpiece…

    This one is a sureshot eyeopener…..for a blabbermouth like me.
    Thanks a ton….

    Looking forward to the next…MASTERPIECE:)



  17. Shirin Ara says:

    Hey Arun,

    Good one…:) Well, a fantastic moral of the story…Keep your mouth shut about the goody goodies you get, else u will be robbed off them even before u cud taste n relish em!!!!

    Hmmm…Have to keep it in mind,and implement too…Cant imagine the grief of the WC, and wud never want to go thru it either!!!


    Shirin Ara

  18. rina kakkar says:

    This insight is like the Devil looking right in your Face stuff, known to most if not all, hard to implement…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s