A woodcutter accidentally dropped his ax in a river.
As he sat there weeping, Hermes appeared, offering him a golden ax.
"That's not mine," said the woodcutter.
Hermes offered him a silver ax.
"Not mine either."
Then Hermes held out the man's own ax.
"Yes, that's mine!" he said happily, and Hermes rewarded his honesty by giving him all three axes.
The woodcutter's friend was jealous, so he threw his own ax into the water. Hermes appeared, offering him a golden ax. When he reached for the ax, Hermes disappeared, and the man ended up with no ax at all.
Inspired by: Mille Fabulae et Una, a collection of Latin fables that I've edited, free to read online. I am not translating the Latin here; instead, I am just telling a 100-word version of the fable.
Notes: This is fable 781 in the book, which is Perry 173.