Once upon a time not long ago there lived a wood cutter and his wife in a forest full of trees, birds and animals. The wood cutter was chopping wood in the forest one day when he heard a voice. He turned around to find an old man. On first glance, he looked to be harmless and quite nice. However he was really the angel of death and he told the wood cutter that he had come to claim his soul. The wood cutter who was a simple God fearing man did not look afraid. He simply told him that it was his time, then he was ready. However God had mercy on the wood cutter and commanded the angel of death to spare him provided he was willing to sacrifice the thing that he loved most when they met two years later. The wood cutter had complied and the angel of death disappeared. At home the wood cutter related the whole incident to his wife who was quite scared. However they soon forgot about it. That year the wood cutters wife bore him a beautiful young daughter. And they named her Mary. She was cute with gold hair and blue eyes.
A week later, the wood cutter had a dream, in which he saw the angel of death reminding him of his promise. The wood cutter woke up with a start. He was terrified. The thought of sacrificing his lovely daughter made him very sad. When he related the dream to his wife, she cried a lot.
Exactly two years later, he took his young daughter with him to the place where he had first met the angel. And he stood there in the garb of an old man. The wood cutters heart was full of gloom and sadness. He offered his life instead and begged that no harm come to her young daughter who was the light of her eyes. As he wept, a young lamb came out of no where and stood next to the angel.
He spoke gently to the wood cutter and said that God had deemed it to be a test of his resolve and faith and he had successfully cleared it. You and your daughter are free to go and live a happy and blessed life the angel told them.
The wood cutter was relieved and he happily took his daughter home. When he reached home, his wife was happy to see them both alive and well.
She took the wood cutter to the back of their wooden hut and the wood cutter was amazed to find a number of cows, horses and lambs. Where did they come from he asked his wife. She replied that she was just as puzzled as he was.
At that moment, a young man walked upto them. Of course he was not a man really, he was another angel; the angel of mercy. He spoke to them and told them that the animals were a bounty from God for the wood cutter for his strong faith in Him.
The wood cutter and his wife could not believe what they heard but they were happy. And then the angel disappeared. However the wood cutter, his wife and their daughter lived happily ever after.