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by Florrie Binford Kichler
“George,” said his father, “do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry-tree yonder in the garden?”
This was a tough question; and George staggered under it for a moment; but quickly recovered himself: and looking at his father, with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, “I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.”
“Run to my arms, you dearest boy,”‘ cried his father in transports. “Run to my arms; glad am I, George, that you killed my tree; for you have paid me for it a thousand fold. Such an act of heroism in my son, is more worth than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver, and their fruits of purest gold.”
—from The Life of Washington by Mason Locke Weems, 1809
Little did author and bookseller Mason Weems suspect that the fiction he created to (a) give readers what they wanted—a personal bond with a heroic figure—and (b) promote book sales as a result of (a) would endure 200 years later as the quintessential ill…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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