Emilio and His Axe


In a remote village in the Philippines once lived Alfonso the old lumberjack and his son, Emilio.  As he had now reached sixty, it was the time for Alfonso to pass on the two generation axe that he had been holding for nearly half a century to Emilio.

The young Emilio received the powerful and elegant axe with exhilaration.  At night, the dark hair, muscular man kept gazing at the sharp, shiny, light metal that his father had just bequeathed to him. He wondered what kind of day would be like tomorrow when he held the mighty tool in his hands.

So Emilio went to the forest the following morning. After spending the whole day in the forest, Emilio went home feeling ecstatic. Pompously he told his father that he was able to cut down ten trees. Reminiscing his old days, Alfonso recalled that in his prime he could only cut down seven trees.

Emilio’s achievement was not only the pride of his father but also that of his neighbors. When in the following day he maintained cutting down ten trees, he was even more admired. In two days he had earned both fame and fortune in the village terms. With his strength and a mighty axe, a glimpse that his glory would last forever struck Emilio’s mind.

But the time came when in the fourth day Emilio could only cut down nine trees. And seven in the following day. Even worse, at the end of the seventh day he could only manage cutting down four trees.

People began having doubts about Emilio. The great brawny brute examined himself and found that he was even more muscular than the first time he started the job seven days ago. “There mustn’t be anything wrong with me,” he said to himself. Engulfed in frustrations, he came to his father.

“How long have you been holding the axe, my son?” Alfonso asked.

“A week. Yes, about a week.”

“Within the week, have you ever sharpened the axe?”

“No.”

40 thoughts on “Emilio and His Axe

  1. Hi Subhan

    Great to hear from you and a timely story. We all need to take time to reflect and “sharpen the axe”. And the wisdom of the ages is still important isn’t it? I guess when we are young we are so full of vigour that we feel indestructable, but what we lack is experience, and that is why it is so important to not disregard the wisdom of the ages.

    Hope all is well with you.
    With love Corinne

  2. Pingback: Emilio and His Axe « Subhan Zein

  3. What a striking end! hahah.. I’m glad to learn something from your works in this blog.
    I am so excited reading some of your posts (and look forward to reading the rest).
    And I am so proud to connect ‘My World’ to a fellow Indonesian like you, Subhan Zein! :)
    Success with all your endeavor there!
    …and thank you very much for your comments in some of my posts! I really really appreciate it :)
    Godspeed!

    • Hi Olivia!

      Thank you for the comment and for liking the post. I am so glad that we are now connected! :-) Many things have been done to promote the exquisite beauty of Indonesia to the world, but to no avail, primarily due to lack of enthusiasm and dedication. We have to try something new. It is now our duty to introduce the beauty of our country to the larger international audience.

      I’m working on the literature, and you post pictures of great landscapes of our country to introduce them to the world. How’s that? I know you have posted some great pictures of people in Baliem. Please keep posting stuff like that. One day they will know Indonesia is great in literature and is mesmerizing in landscapes. Sounds like a plan? :-)

      Subhan Zein

      • Thank goodness! I’m not the only one :D It’s a privilege that we can share the same vision for our beloved country, Indonesia!

        That sounds like a great collaboration, hahah.. Deal! :D

        Let me tell you that knowing you through your background and posts is like finding a place to sharpen my axe in order to be more productive in what I am entrusted to do :)

        Thanks for sharing your educative works!

      • Thank you, Olivia!

        Come back for more! Now I’m introducing Pantun to the large international audience, and they love it! Take a look at my three Pantuns: A Hug from My Heart, In My Heart Your Name is Beautifully Crafted, and the newest one: “Your Heart is My Favorite Playground” and see their comments.. There’s a great and bright shine! :-)
        Have lovely day, my friend! And my God Bless you, as always.. :-)

        Subhan Zein

  4. Hahaha…..that was intelligent.I thought he was gonna say there’s trouble with being too proud.I have recently joined your blog Subhan, so i would like to take this opportunity to encourage you.It;s good to see that your posts are full of useful knowledge, something to learn and be inspired about.Keep on inspiring us!

    • Hello, thank you for your wonderful comment again! It’s an honor for me to have your visit here! :-)

      And I appreciate you following my blog. Thank you very much, my lovely friend! :-)

      Subhan Zein

    • Hi Kinangirl, thank you for your comment! :-)

      Perhaps you’d be interested in reading my other flash fiction? “Pham and Her Gold Fish” and “The Scholar and the Boatman” are there for your muse.

      Have a lovely day, my friend! :-)

      Subhan Zein

  5. Emilio seems to be just relying with his physical prowess. I think his father should have given him other things rather than the axe. Nice story.

    By the way, the word “axe” in Filipino language is “palakol”. If you want to ask something about Philippines or any Filipino language, I’ll be willing to teach you.

  6. I also admire how skilfully you weaved together the themes of humility, filial piety, sarcasm, pride, and love.

    • I’m not sure whether I deserve the compliment, but thank you for your sweet comments, nonincomitatus! Your sweet words are true reflection of your sweet personality, I believe. :-)

      Have a great day, my friend! :-)

      Subhan Zein

    • Thank you, Dabawenyo, thank you very much!
      I hope you loved the story that used your country as the background. I had to Google Filipino names before finally came up with Alfonso and Emilio. Initially I planned to use “Alfredo” and “Emiliano”, but they were not on the list. Haha.

      Please let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to write from your country..Have a great day, my friend! :-)

      Subhan Zein

  7. Best moment was when I read the father’s words of wisdom, was not expecting at all, yet you have written in such a way that one cannot easily guess what the dilemma is. Great story! :thumbsup:

    • Thank you very much for your wonderful comment, Queridaj! I’m so happy that you loved it!

      May God bless you, forever and for always.. :-)

      Subhan Zein

  8. As the old expression goes, “Father always knows best”. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that can cause something to go wrong. Be vigilant always in life, your future depends on it.

    Sandy O

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