Amma told this story on her recent visit to Melbourne. It always feels like she's talking directly to me, even though there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people in the room. This was no exception, since I was freshly married. I can't promise to tell it with Amma's wit, charm and wisdom, but the story goes a little something like this...
A woodcutter was cutting wood by the stream one day when he dropped his axe in the water. He fell to his knees crying, without his axe he feared that he and his family would starve. He prayed and prayed and an angel appeared before him. She pulled a golden axe out of the stream and said to the man, "Is this your axe?"
"No," he replied.
The Angel pulled another axe out of the water, this second axe was bronze, "Is this your axe?" She asked.
"No," he replied
Finally the Angel pulled a beaten-up, old, wooden axe out of the water, "Is this one your axe?"
"Yes, yes!" The woodcutter replied.
The Angel gave the old axe to the woodcutter. She commended him on his honesty and rewarded him by giving him the gold axe and bronze axe too.
A few days later he returned to the stream with his wife. She slipped and fell in the water. Again the man fell to his knees crying, he prayed and prayed, and again the Angel appeared before him. She pulled Miss Universe out of the stream and said to the woodcutter, "Is this you wife?"
"YES!" He replied.
The Angel was surprised at this response, what had happened to this honest man? She asked the man "Why are you lying this time?"
The man explained that he was simply afraid that if he told the truth, the Angel would then pull Miss Australia out the stream, and finally his wife, and give him all three women.
He said "It is hard enough with just one woman in my life!"