Thief In The Carriage House
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN a pleasant interview with Governor Odell, one evening, I asked him if he would relate to me an incident or two connected with his history which would illustrate some valuable truth. He said that nothing of unusual interest had occurred in his brief public career; that no heroic experiences had thus far fallen to his lot, and then, pausing a moment, he said: "I had forgotten; there is one heroic incident in my life, which I will give you. My brother Hiram and I, after supper, often rode to town together from our place, a mile or two in the country. We arranged a division of labor, by which, in harnessing and unharnessing the horse, each did his half. We became so proficient in our individual parts, that we could have the horse in the buggy or back into the stall again, in an incredibly short time. One night, I had been delayed a little longer by a call than usual, and my brother felt a little provoked at having been compelled to wait for me. We went home as fast as we could go, but neither spoke a word. In a short time we had the harness off, and as I was doing the last part assigned to me putting on the halter, my brother said, `Ben, come here! There's a burglar in the carriage-house. Don't you see him?' I looked and saw him. I said, `Hipe, have you got your revolver?' He said, ` Yes: I said, ` Walk the gentleman out.' I called and said, ` Young man, come out from there, we've got you.' He did not come. My brother called peremptorily to him, but he did not respond. ` Shall I shoot?' asked my brother. I replied, ` Let him have this last warning.' It was not heeded, and ` Bang ! Bang!' went the revolver till the six chambers were all emptied. Father got out of bed, and ran down into the yard to find what was the trouble. A more careful examination of the premises revealed the fact that the burglar was none other than a hog, that had been killed, hung up, and covered with a white cloth. I threw myself down on the grass and laughed and rolled and laughed. This is about the only act of heroism that I ever remember to have been connected with. The most tragical part of this tragedy, however, is that when the hog was sold the next day, there was not a bullet hole found in his body."
There is nothing more untrue than the oft-repeated statement that it makes no difference what a man believes, so long as he is honest in his belief. The young men were honest in their opinion that the hog was a burglar, but their opinion did not make it a fact. We may honestly believe the right is wrong, and the wrong right, and yet our opinion will not affect the everlasting wrongness or rightness of an action. It makes all the difference in the world what we believe, however honest we may be in our opinion.