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The Axe and the Saw

Adaptions and Imitations of Hindoo Fables

Leo Tolstoy

Two Peasants went to the forest to cut wood. One of them had an axe, and the other a saw. They picked out a tree, and began to dispute. One said that the tree had to be chopped, while the other said that it had to be sawed down.

A third Peasant said:

"I will easily make peace between you: if the axe is sharp, you had better chop it; but if the saw is sharp you had better saw it."

He took the axe, and began to chop it; but the axe was so dull that it was not possible to cut with it. Then he took the saw; the saw was worthless, and did not saw. So he said:

"Stop quarrelling awhile; the axe does not chop, and the saw does not saw. First grind your axe and file your saw, and then quarrel."

But the Peasants grew angrier still at one another, because one had a dull axe, and the other a dull saw. And they came to blows.

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