Posted by: Democratic Thinker | January 16, 2010

Weekly Story: Ben Builds a Wharf

Weekly Story

Benjamin Franklin narrates in his autobiography a lesson learned from his father.

It is an old adage, that honesty is the best policy. This applies to public as well as private life, to States as well as individuals.   —George Washington.

Young BEN takes CHARGE.

The boys worked long and hard after the men had gone.

There was a salt marsh that bounded part of the mill pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharf there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and which would very well suit our purpose.

Accordingly, in the evening, when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my playfellows, and working with them diligently, like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharf. The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones, which were found in our wharf. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by our fathers; and, though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

—The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.