Thursday, November 12, 2015


-- From Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Being perpetually short of money, I wasn't expecting to receive any birthday presents, so I was agreeably surprised on my birthday to find that an anonymous benefactor had left me a woodsman's axe. It was wonderfully balanced, with a head of tempered steel that was sharp enough to split a hair, which I determined by actually dropping a hair on it and watching as the axe's blade neatly split the hair into two.

So great was my joy at receiving this unexpected gift that I immediately rushed from my dorm room, determined to use it on the first tree I came across. That proved to be a cherry tree growing in the middle of the quad. Given the keen nature of the axe's blade, it was the work of a moment to bring that cherry tree crashing down. It was only afterwards that it occurred to me that the university administration might frown on students chopping trees down in the middle of the Yale campus.

My fears proved well-founded when I went to my Perceptions 301 class the next day. Before delivering her lecture, the professor brought up the matter of the downed cherry tree, informing us that every professor at Yale would be asking their students whether they knew anything about the matter.

I stood up from my seat and announced, "Professor, I cannot tell a lie. It was I who chopped down the cherry tree with my new axe."

The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

"Honesty like that deserves to be rewarded," the teacher told me.

The professor then did something even better. She handed me a ten-dollar bill.

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