The Honest Woodcutter- the 21st Century Perspective

Written By

Runali Basak

The Honest Woodcutter Loading

The other day, I was reviewing my daughter’s Hindi lessons and the chapter was ‘The Honest Woodcutter’. I was very happy to revisit the lesson that was once a part of my curriculum in Grade 3. Today my daughter is in the same class.

The story revolves around an impoverished woodcutter who made his ends meet by selling wood from the forest. His only possession was the axe with which he cut the trees. One fine day his axe falls into the river while felling a tree.

His honesty is rewarded in succession by gold, silver and his iron axe by the God of the river. This happens after the woodcutter displays a completely simple and non-greedy attitude despite the various lucrative proposals that are laid open to him.

On reading about the God bringing the golden axe from the riverbed, my daughter very surprisingly asked ‘How did the God find an axe at the riverbed? Was there a workshop present where the axe was being manufactured?’

I, adhering to the typical storytelling style, tried to convince her that Gods have magical powers and hence they can perform any miracle!

After thinking for a while, she said ‘But why an axe made of gold or silver? Are they strong enough for daily tree felling?’

‘Iron is the best metal for an axe’, she continued.

At the tender age of 7, I didn’t know about the comparative analysis. I used to blindly believe in witches, flying animals, magic carpet and the moon and stars having human forms.

The thoughts expressed by my 7-year-old daughter made me analyse – are girls truly lost in their imaginary world of fairy tales and prince charming on a white horse?

No wonder it’s the 21st century and a scientific temper is the order of the day!

It’s time for information reboot!




Runali is a multi lingual person with knowledge of English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, making her multi cultural too. Her hobbies are writing, teaching, watching movies and listening to music. She believe that the most difficult thing to achieve in life is simplicity. She also endorses the fact that if you can make at least one person smile, it's a great feat.

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