Once upon a time, not so far from here, there was a widowed lumberjack. He would wake up every morning very early and go into the forest and always come home around lunch time. Now this lumberjack also had a young teenage daughter. One night the teenage daughter said to her dad “I’m so bored. I hate eating all the same foods we do. Can’t you do something different?” So the next day, the lumberjack decided to wake up even earlier and cut even more wood so that he could buy his daughter rich and delicious foods. Well, he worked all day, and around lunchtime he came to his house, and the door was locked and his daughter was nowhere in sight, and he was tired and he was hungry, and. . . he just couldn’t believe his life. Right at that moment, right at the moment he was about to cry, he heard a voice that said “Don’t cry. Why don’t you tell me your story?” So the lumberjack thought maybe he was hallucinating because he was so hungry. So he slid down the wall of his house, and started to tell the voice his story. He told the voice how he had been working so very very hard and how he had got up even earlier this morning because his daughter had said she wanted to eat more rich and delicious foods. And he worked all day and he came to his house, and it was locked and his daughter was nowhere in sight. Right at that moment, the voice said to the lumberjack “Climb the stairs.” The lumberjack looked around and he saw no stairs. Of course he saw no voice either. But he decided to follow the instructions of the voice. Sure enough, he put out his foot, and although he couldn’t see it, he felt a step. He climbed one step, two steps, three steps. And when he got to the top of this imaginary staircase, the voice said “Open your eyes.” The man opened his eyes, and there were all kinds of jewels: rubies and diamonds and emeralds, and the voice said “Take as much as you’d like.” Immediately, the lumberjack started to fill his pockets with the rubies and diamonds and emeralds, and as soon as he had filled up his pockets, boop! Suddenly, he fell down, and he was right at the door of his house. Of course, right at that moment, here comes his teenage daughter. She opens the door, she says “What- what are you doing? What do you have in your pockets?” He said “Shh-shh! let’s just go inside,” and he went inside and locked the door. Well, he. . . decided to put all of his jewels in a special box in the living room, and the next thing he knows, there’s a knock at his door, it was one of the neighbors. “Oh lumberjack, oh lumberjack, can we please borrow some wood? We see you have a beautiful fire.” The lumberjack said “What are you talking about?” The lumberjack went outside, and sure enough, there was this light radiating through his windows. Well, he really didn’t want to tell the neighbors what was happening, so he just told them “I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” and he went back into his home. Well the lumberjack was now a very. . . very. . . wealthy man. So he took all the jewels, and um. . . got money, and was able to buy a house across the street from the palace of the king. Now, luckily for the lumberjack’s daughter, the king also had a teenage daughter. The two girls would get together and do fun things, and one of the funnest things they would do is go to the princess’s swimming pool. Now it was really a swimming hole, um beautifully decorated, all kinds of plants surrounded this beautiful swimming hole. So, one day when they went swimming, the princess took off her beautiful diamond necklace and hung it from a limb. They jumped into the water and had a great day, and everyone went home. When the princess was sitting at dinner with her father the king, she realized she was not wearing her necklace, and all she could think was “The last time I had it I was with the lumberjack’s daughter.” Well right at that moment the king said “Well. . . now I understand how that poor lumberjack could become a millionaire. He’s a thief! His daughter obviously stole your necklace.” Right at that moment, the king had the guards go for the lumberjack and the daughter. The daughter was put in an orphanage, and the lumberjack was put in the middle of a square with a sign around his nack that says “This is what happens to those who steal from the king!”
The lumberjack was quite depressed, sitting in the square with a sign around his neck. People would come by, some would throw tomatoes at him, some would yell at him. But, one day, this very kind man walked by and just dropped a coin. The lumberjack said “Kind sir, thank you so much but, what am I going to do with a coin? It would make me feel so much better if I could just tell you my story.” Right at that moment, the lumberjack started to tell the stranger everything that happened. That he was a hard working lumberjack. That his young daughter had asked him to do something so she could eat more rich and delicious foods. That he decided to wake up earlier and cut more wood so he could make more money so he could give his daughter what she asked. He talked to the stranger about the voice that told him to climb the stairs, and about the riches that he was able to find, and how he was able to buy this palace across the street from the king. And the stranger decided that this man was not really a thief, he was really a nut, and he went on his way. But right as the lumberjack was telling his story, the princess decided to go back to the swimming pool, and right as she was gonna jump into the water, she had an urge to sneeze. And as she lifted her head to sneeze, she saw her necklace hanging on the limb. She immediately ran to her father and said “I made a mistake, my friend didn’t steal my necklace, its right here. I forgot, I left it on the limb!” Well the king was a very good king. But more importantly, he was very just. And he decided that the best thing to do was to forgive the lumberjack, and give him back his palace and all of his riches, and of course his daughter was taken out of the orphanage. And they all lived happily ever after.
Now this is the Thursday story, somewhere around the world, some version of this story is told every Thursday night. Some people find it very funny, some people find it very wise. Would you like to continue this tradition?