“Grandfather, can you tell us a story?” The old man had fallen asleep in his favorite chair, but woke up with a start as his two grandsons entered the room. “Certainly my boys,” he said, and cleared his throat. He pondered the question only shortly. “How about the story of the Naked Truth and the Dressed-up Lie?”
“Huh? the Naked Truth? Did you invent that story, grandfather?”
The old man chuckled. “By Jove, no. This story is as old as the world. After all, in every language the Naked Truth is a well known phrase…” He sighed, and his face darkened. “Although most people wouldn’t recognize the Dressed-up Lie if they walked past him in the street. Well, anyway. Here ‘s the story.”
Many, many years ago, the Truth and the Lie went for a walk in the forest. The two weren’t the greatest of friends, and often they would heatedly debate, but overall they respected each other – the main reason being that the people could easily tell them apart. On this day however, as they walked through the dark forest, the Truth did become slightly nervous, after all, if the two were just alone together, could the Lie still be trusted? But the Lie behaved innocently and happy and exchanged pleasantries as they strolled along. The trees stood very close, and only little sunlight managed to reach the ground. Birds and insects zoomed about, and a deer jumped through the undergrowth, shocked by their presence. “The Truth out for a walk with the Lie. How extraordinary! Let’s hope that things turn our alright,” the deer thought, and disappeared from view.
It was a hot day, and the Truth and the Lie became quite tired and thirsty. Presently the two came upon a beautiful, silent pond, surrounded by wild trees. The water was cool and dark; black almost. The surface of the water was as flat as a mirror and as they stood on its bank, they could look down through the crystal clear liquid, almost to the bottom. Neither fish nor frog disturbed the quiet.
“Let’s go for a swim,” said the Lie. “I am so hot, and the cool water will do us good. Just a quick dip, and then we return home.”
The Truth looked at the Lie, and then at the water, and agreed. “I can see no harm in that,” said the Truth. The Truth stepped behind a tree on the left, and the Lie stepped behind a bush on the right, and they both started to undress.
The Truth was undressed first and slipped into the water, and swam away from the shore. It was truly refreshing. The Truth could feel how the exhaustion disappeared miraculously. The Truth swam from left to right, and right to left and dived down into the depths of the quite water. After surfacing again, the Truth called out: “Hey, Lie, why don’t you jump in as well? The water is fantastic.”
But there was no answer. The Truth called out again, and again, and finally, after looking around whether anyone was there that could be offended by the Truth’s nakedness, the Truth climbed out of the water and searched for the Lie.
But the Lie had disappeared, and so had all their garments. The Truth was very upset. “I should have never believed the Lie! If the Lie says ‘Just a quick dip and then we return home’, the Lie means ‘I won’t take a dip, and you will never get home’! How could I have been so foolish?” The Truth realized that it would need its clothing to survive in the world. And so, the Truth started chasing the Lie, all the while shouting “Help! Help, hold the thief!”
But as always, the Lie was faster, and more inventive, and better at hiding, and the Truth couldn’t catch up. After a while, the Truth, out-of-breath, gave up chasing the Lie.
Evening came, and the Truth finally arrived at a dusty road that ran by the forest. A farmer, with a shovel over his shoulder, came walking towards the Truth. The Truth stepped up to the man and asked: “The Lie has stolen my clothing! Did you see the Lie?” The man turned away in disgust and said: “Bah! The Lie stole your clothing? As if I would believe you! After all, you are completely naked! Disgusting! Go away, go back to the pond in the forest and hide in the water! I don’t want to have anything to do with the Naked Truth.”
And that happened each time the Naked Truth spoke to humans; although they had respected the Truth in the past, they now found the Truth abhorrent and yes… unbelievable.
And so, ashamed and rejected, the Naked Truth had to withdraw into the dark forest and has to spend its time submersed in the deep, black water of the hidden pond. As soon as it attempts to surface, and reveal that it is the Naked Truth, humans will turn away disgusted. The Lie, on the other hand, roams the world dressed up as the Truth, and receives respect… and, yes, even love.