Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who turned up one day looking for work at a lumberyard. The salary was good and the conditions were even better, so the woodcutter had every intention of making a good impression.
The first day, he introduced himself to the foreman, who gave him an axe and assigned him to certain part of the forest.
Excited, the man went out into the forest to chop. And he cut down eighteen trees in a single day. “Congratulations,” the foreman said to him. ‘Keep it up.’
Encouraged by the foreman’s words, the woodcutter decided to do even better the following day. So that night he went to bed very early.
The following morning, he rose before anyone else and went out to the forest. But despite his best effort, he couldn’t manage to cut down more than fifteen trees. ‘I must be tired,’ he thought. And decided to go to bed when the sun went down.
At daybreak he rose, determined to beat his record of eighteen trees. Nevertheless, that day he didn’t even manage to cut down half that number.
The day after he cut down only seven, then five, and on the last day he spent all afternoon trying to chop down his second tree of the day.
Anxious about what the foreman might say, the woodcutter went to inform him of what was happening, and to swear up and down that he was working himself to the bone.
The foreman asked, ‘When was the last time you sharpened your axes?’
‘Sharpened it?’ asked the woodcutter. ‘I haven’t had the time to sharpen it: I’ve been to busy chopping down trees’.