The Stolen Axe

by Win Bradley
(Richmond, Virginia)

Original Text: The Stolen Axe


One cold morning, a farmer went out to chop wood and realized his axe was missing. He always kept the axe in the same place, next to the woodpile. Now it was nowhere to be seen.

"I'll bet that boy next door took it," he thought. "That kid is always watching me work, and he's so quiet. He seems like the sneaky type that would steal something."

The next day, the man watched the young boy whenever he was outside. The boy seemed kind of nervous and jumpy. "He's guilty," thought the man. "I bet he knows I'm on to him. Look at the way he walks, head down, like he's ashamed of something."

Later that evening, the farmer decided to go into town and purchase a new axe. "But I'll keep an eye on that kid for a few days," he thought. "He'll slip up soon, and when he does, I'll catch him!"

The man walked out to the barn to saddle up his horse, and when he did, he saw the axe. There it was, just inside the door. He had brought it in for sharpening two days ago, and had completely forgotten about it.

The next morning, the man saw the boy out in the yard again. The boy was doing the same things he had always done; walking around, sitting on the steps, performing a few chores, but something was different about him.

"What a nice young man," thought the farmer. "He's so quiet and polite, spending time with his family, and doing his chores every morning."

"I was a fool to think someone like that could steal from me."

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The boy next door had never harmed the farmer, or taken anything from him, yet the farmer was convinced the boy was a thief. What evidence did the farmer have? Only his own imagination.

If we allow our minds to proceed, unchecked and unquestioned, we will believe every thought we create. Our thoughts have the power to see a circle in place of a square, or to see the truth where there exists only a lie.

The farmer thought the boy had stolen his axe. From that very moment, once his mind was made up, our farmer looked for every piece of information he could find to prove his thoughts were correct. He began to see what he wanted to see. Why would the farmer do that? Because we put so much importance on our thoughts, believing they carry so much value, that when they appear we don't question them. We believe our thoughts must be true. They're so important to us, how could they not be true?

Unfortunately, our thoughts are easily manipulated by the desires of our egos. It can be our self esteem, our need to be right, the need for attention, or even to be a victim. Now throw in greed, lust, envy, jealousy, etc. The list of influences over our thoughts goes on and on.

How do we stop it? We start by questioning our thoughts. We look at them. We analyze them. We ask ourselves, "Is this thought really true?" And if the thought is garbage, which most of them are, we should throw them away.

When we use our thoughts to judge others, we do not define others, we define ourselves.

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Revised Text:

One cold morning, a farmer went out to chop wood and realized that his axe was missing. He always kept the axe in the same place, next to the woodpile. Now it was nowhere to be seen.

"I'll bet that boy next door took it," he thought. "That kid is always watching me work, and he's so quiet. He seems like the sneaky type that would steal something."

The next day, the man watched the young boy whenever he was outside. The boy seemed kind of nervous and jumpy. "He's guilty," thought the man. "I bet he knows I'm on to him. Look at the way he walks, head down, like he's ashamed of something."

Later that evening, the farmer decided to go into town and purchase a new axe. "But I'll keep an eye on that kid for a few days," he thought. "He'll slip up soon, and when he does, I'll catch him!"

The man walked out to the barn to saddle up his horse, and when he did, he saw the axe. There it was, just inside the door. He had brought it in for sharpening two days ago, and had completely forgotten about it.

The next morning, the man saw the boy out in the yard again. The boy was doing the same things he had always done; walking around, sitting on the steps, performing a few chores, but something was different about him.

"What a nice young man," thought the farmer. "He's so quiet and polite, spending time with his family, and doing his chores every morning. I was a fool to think someone like that could steal from me."

----------

The boy next door had never harmed the farmer, or taken anything from him, yet the farmer was convinced that the boy was a thief. What evidence did the farmer have? Only his own imagination.

If we allow our minds to proceed unchecked and unquestioned, we will believe every thought we create. Our thoughts have the power to see a circle in place of a square, or to see the truth where there exists only a lie.

The farmer thought the boy had stolen his axe. From that very moment, once his mind was made up, our farmer looked for every piece of information he could find to prove his thoughts correct. He began to see what he wanted to see.

Why would the farmer do that? We put so much importance on our thoughts, believing they carry so much value, that when they appear we don't question them. We believe our thoughts must be true. They're so important to us, how could they not be true?

Unfortunately, our thoughts are easily manipulated by the desires of our egos. It can be our self esteem, our need to be right, the need for attention, or even the need to be a victim. Now throw in greed, lust, envy, jealousy, etc. The list of influences over our thoughts goes on and on.

How do we stop it? We start by questioning our thoughts. We look at them. We analyze them. We ask ourselves, "Is this thought really true?" and if the thought is garbage, which most of them are, we should throw them away.

When we use our thoughts to judge others, we do not define them, we define ourselves.

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