Once there was a man who could not tell a lie. It’s not that he wanted to lie, but no matter what he did he would always tell the truth. He was terrible at keeping secrets, and no one ever told him about surprises they were planning. But as people the people in his town knew him longer, they came to accept and even appreciate his unwavering honesty.

After a few years living in the village, he married a young woman who loved the fact that he always told the truth. She knew she could trust him no matter what happened, and she loved the honest way he lived his life; he couldn’t lie with his actions any more than he could lie with his words and, because of that, never tried to cheat anyone of what they were due.

The two lived happily for a time, the husband maintaining his honest ways and the wife preventing anyone who was less honest than her husband from taking advantage of him (sometimes the man forgot that not everyone was as honest and good natured as he was). Eventually the wife became pregnant and the two were overjoyed that their family was going to grow.

However, not everyone was as happy as the two of them. There was one woman who committed a crime in the village and the man who could not tell a lie reported her wicked ways. She was locked up because of it, and harbored a deep hatred for the man and his family. The evil woman knew that the man losing his wife and children would hurt him far more than anything she could do to him, so she escaped her imprisonment and tried to kill the pregnant wife. She did not succeed, but vowed to keep trying until the wife and children were dead.

The man who could not tell a lie and his wife were very frightened about this and they agreed that the wife should go into hiding until the evil woman could be caught. They also agreed that the husband could not know where his wife was hiding, because if anyone were to ask him, he would have to tell them.

As they had agreed, the wife went into hiding. As she was leaving the village she was chased by the evil woman. The wife ran as fast as she could and got away, but she never looked back. Unfortunately, the reason she successfully got away was that the evil woman tripped and fell on her neck, killing her instantly, which meant the wife no longer needed to hide. But she didn’t know that, and hid herself as well as she could.

Not long after this happened, the man who could not tell a lie found the body of the evil woman and knew that his family was safe. He set out to find his wife and tell her, but didn’t know where to start looking. After years of searching, he finally found his wife and, to his surprise, their twin sons. The family returned to their village and lived a happy life for a while.

Eventually, as the boys grew, they began to explore the world around them and cause trouble, as children do. Their father would tell the boys places they should not go for their safety, and that is exactly where they would go, as soon as their father turned his back on them. They sometimes got scrapes and bruises – once a broken arm – but they hadn’t gotten seriously injured. Yet. Their parents worried constantly about the boys.

One day the man found a dangerous ravine close to their village and asked his wife to tell the boys to stay away from it. The wife agreed, but then forgot to pass on the message and the boys spent the day playing in the streets of the village. When the man returned home that night, he asked his wife what she had told the boys to convince them to stay away. She confessed that she had forgotten to tell them about it, and together they realized that they couldn’t go to these dangerous places if they didn’t know about them.

The man who could not tell a lie was worried – of course he had to tell the boys, he couldn’t lie to them. But his wife had a plan. Every time he found somewhere dangerous he told his wife. She made the decision on whether to tell the boys or not. After that the family lived happily together for many years.

Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on the Native American Hero Tale “Lodge-Boy and Throw-Away,” in which there is a man and wife who are expecting twins when the wife is murdered, and the boys are thrown away. Eventually the father is reunited with his sons and they “wake up” their mother. The boys then go to various dangerous locations that their father tells them not to go. Every time they do this, however, they fix whatever the problem is. When I read the story, I thought the obvious solution was to just stop telling the boys about things. I also changed the wife’s fate, because I thought it was weird that she died and then didn’t. Finally, I made the man unable to tell a lie, so that he had a reason to keep telling his sons about the places he found.

Bibliography: “Lodge Boy and Throw-Away” by Stith Thompson. Web Source.

Image: Twins by Free-Photos. Source: Pixabay


5 thoughts on “Week 11 Story: The Man who could not tell a Lie

  1. I love your version of this story! If only every person were like the man who didn’t lie because it seemed to help him out in most cases. I was a bit confused about the ending. He couldn’t lie to the boys, so he would tell his wife instead? Did that make it ok, if he were to tell one person he wouldn’t feel obligated to tell others? I like that you chose for the wife not to die, because the original story seemed a bit hard to follow with her being dead and then not.

  2. The picture is great. So this guy is basically a yes man but in truth form. Sometimes it’s okay not to tell the truth. If a lady asks how they look? Definitely a scenario when you just want to say yes either way. This case is especially important when dealing with a man being asked that particular question. Then the happily ever after came because of the sweet wife. Nice.

  3. Hey Margaret! I thought the idea for this story was very interesting and well thought out. I like that you kept the wife alive. It makes me sad when stories go back and forth on who died and then came back to life. I also like that the man and woman were able to come up with a system to keep everyone happy and safe. Nice job!

  4. Hi Margaret! This is a really interesting retelling of this story — I can kind of relate, as I have a super hard time lying when someone asks me a direct question. I liked how the man who could not tell a lie and his wife came up with a solution to keep their children safe by essentially avoiding the situation of having to tell the children directly. Good job!

  5. Hello Margaret. The story is well written. You wrote it the way you wanted and hopefully it turned out the way as intended. Some things I would have done differently since you made it your own was put more focus on the evil woman. Her tripping and breaking her neck was a huge let down, wanted a lot more behind that. As the ending goes that was a great idea between the parents. I feel you spent a little too much of the word count on the boys getting into trouble.

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