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.
why can't we git us a new privy?" asked
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!"
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!"
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!
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
back into the trees, Becky grabbed her
bike and hurried off to school before
anyone could see her.
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.
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, neither!"
don't feel so good, Ma," whimpered
Becky, avoiding her mother's gaze.
you better just be about puttin' yer
little self into bed then, Darlin',"
chided her mother gently, "and when Ah
gits done a-washin' them dishes, Mama's
gonna come in and read y' a nice bedtime
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.
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!
sighed Becky with relief , "I cannot
tell a lie. "'Twas I done
knocked down the privy this morning with
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.
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!"
right," said her mother, reflectively, "But George Washington's Pa
weren't IN that tree when George DONE