Reading Exercise: An Anecdote of Washington


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"An Anecdote of Washington," by Mara L. Pratt


During the Revolution, George Washington was one day riding by a group of soldiers who did not know him. They were busily engaged in raising a beam to the top of some military works. It was a difficult task, and often the corporal's voice could be heard shouting, "Now you have it!" "All ready! Pull!" Washington quietly asked the corporal why he didn't turn and help them. "Sir," angrily replied the corporal, "do you realize that I am the corporal?" Washington politely raised his hat, saying, "I did not realize it. Beg pardon, Mr. Corporal; then dismounting, he himself fell to work and helped the men till the beam was raised. Before leaving he turned to the corporal, and wiping the perspiration from his face, said, "If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander-in-chief, and I will come." The confused corporal turned red, then white, as he realized that this was Washington himself to whom he had been so pompous; and we hope he learned a lesson of true greatness.