A tale of two Georges

 By Frederick Mordi

george-washington-and-the-cherry-tree-story-81

George Washington, the first President of the United States, and one of the founding fathers of the country, is reputed to be an honest man. He imbibed the noble virtue of honesty as a child. His father taught him that he should always stand up for the truth.

An incident that reportedly happened while he was growing up proved to be a test of his character. As the story is told, his father gave him a present of a hatchet, one day. Washington was proud of his small hatchet. He swung the axe around the garden playfully, and used it to trim down plants everywhere that fancied his attention. Doing this must have made him feel like a strong lad. He did not know when he cut down his father’s favourite young cherry tree.

Upon discovering that his cherry tree had been chopped down, his angry father demanded to know who did it. Shaking like a leaf, Washington quickly owned up: “Papa, I cannot tell a lie. I did it with my little hatchet.”

His father’s anger dissolved away at once. His face brightened up as he said, “It is all right George. I shall not beat you because you told me the truth.”

Another boy named George Brown, also mistakenly chopped down a tree that his father very much cherished. His enraged father thundered: “Who cut down my apple tree?”

“I did it dad,” replied the lad boldly.

Mr. Brown gave his son a good hiding for cutting down his apple tree. Still sobbing, the boy sought to know why he got smacked, even when he owned up like George Washington did. To this, his father replied sarcastically, “you are George Brown; not George Washington!”

The tale of the two Georges has a valuable moral lesson: no matter what, honesty is the best policy in life. This resonates with the words of Alexander Pope, a famous English poet, who once wrote that “an honest man is the noblest work of God.”

 

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