Becky loved her Ma and Pa's farm - all except for the outhouse. It
was rickety and ancient: freezing cold in the winter, stifling hot and
full of flies in the summer, and it stank.
"Ma, why can't we git us a new privy?" asked Becky plaintively.
"Now you hush your mouth, lil' gurl," scolded her mother. "That thar
privy were good enough fer yer Pa when we were yore age, and it were good
enough for yer grandpa when he were yore age, too. And you
ain't too good fer it neither!"
"And don't you be a-givin' yore Mama no sass! The day we gits us
a new privy will be the day the one we gots now falls over!
Now you best be a-runnin' along, Becky, or y'll be late fer school!"
Dejectedly, Becky donned her backpack and peddled her bike out to the road
towards school. But the farther she rode, the more she thought about
what her mother had said. Maybe there was a way after all!
Becky turned her bike off the path and walked it through the trees until
she was behind her house. Checking to make sure the coast was clear,
she released the emergency brake on the family tractor and let it roll
down the hill until it hit the hated outhouse. With a crash, the
ancient privy broke loose from its foundations and fell on its side.
Racing back into the trees, Becky grabbed her bike and hurried off to school
before anyone could see her.
But instead of enjoying her triumph, Becky felt worse and worse as the
day wore on. She couldn't concentrate on her schoolwork with her
young heart so fraught with guilt. "I wish I could just 'fess up
and tell Ma what I done," she thought for the hundredth time. And
then, also for the hundredth time, "But I daren't tell! Ma
would have the hickory on me for sure!" Around and around
went these thoughts in poor Becky's troubled mind until the school bell
rang and she slowly pedalled herself home again.
"What's the matter wi' you, young'un?" asked Becky's mother at the dinner
table, "You look so pale. And you ain't hardly touched yore grits,
"I don't feel so good, Ma," whimpered Becky, avoiding her mother's gaze.
"Well you better just be about puttin' yer little self into bed then, Darlin',"
chided her mother gently, "and when Ah gits done a-washin' the dishes,
Mama's gonna come in and read y' a nice bedtime story!"
Becky thanked her mother and hurried off to put on her pajamas and slip
under the covers. When her mother came in, she read Becky a story
about how when George Washington was about the same age as Becky, he did
a very very bad thing. He chopped down his Pa's favorite cherry tree!
But young George was so brave and honest, he told his Pa, "I cannot tell
a lie. 'Twas I!"
Becky's eyes widened with excitement and hope as her mother went on to
explain that because he had been so brave and honest about what he'd done,
little George's Pa didn't even give him a licking!
"Ma," sighed Becky with relief , "I
cannot tell a lie.
"'Twas I done knocked down the privy this morning with the tractor!"
Immediately, Becky's mother grabbed her by the ear and marched her straight
to the woodshed, pulled up Becky's nightgown, and 'wore her out' with a
hickory switch, leaving the howling girl welted from her buttocks to the
middles of her thighs. Then she gathered her daughter in her arms
and held Becky on her lap as she cried.
"But Ma!" sniffled Becky after she could finally manage to speak, "George
Washington's Pa didn't give him a lickin' when he tol' the truth
about choppin' down that ol' tree!"
"That's right," said her mother, reflectively, "But
George Washington's Pa weren't IN that tree when George DONE it!!!"