The Cherry Tree

"George Washington, did YOU chop down the cherry tree?"
"No, Dad."
"I think you are lying."
"No, no, no!  I swear I did NOT chop down the cherry tree."
"Son, I saw you out here with your axe.  Your punishment will be much worse for you if you lie.  Now, tell me the truth!"
"Dad, I answered your question truthfully.  Still, I must take complete responsibility for all my actions.  While my answer was legally accurate, I did not volunteer information.  Indeed, Dad, I did cause the cherry tree to be lying on the ground.  To do this was wrong.  It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.  I know my answer was to you gave a false impression.  I misled you, my own father.  I deeply regret that.  I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors.

First, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct.  I was also very concerned about protecting Mom from this shock.  What I did, Dad, was use a saw to cause the cherry tree to fall. Only after the tree was already down did I go get my axe to chop off individual branches. So, I chopped off branches, but sawed down the tree.  Look at the saw cut on the stump and the axe cuts on the branches.   Therefore, legally, I told the truth. 

I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of this fallen tree and to return our attention to a solid family relationship."
-Author Unknown

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