Mr. Brown (to his neighbour farmer Hodge): "Jack Hunter has been stealing your apples, Mr. Hodge. Jabez Jones and a whole lot of people have sworn to me they saw him drive away with a wagon full the other evening."
Farmer Hodge (to Jabez Jones): "I am told you saw Jack Hunter steal a wagon-load of my apples. Is it true?"
"I didn't say a wagon full. I said a cart."
"But you actually saw him?"
"Well, not exactly. It was old Thomas who told me about it."
Farmer Hodge (to old Thomas): "Is it true you saw Jack Hunter steal a cartful of my apples? Jabez Jones says you did."
"He's stretching things. I only said a wheelbarrow, and I was just repeating what young James Smith said to me."
Farmer Hodge (to James Smith): "Old Thomas tells me you saw Jack Hunter take away a barrowful of my apples, which he had stolen. Is he telling the truth?"
"What a silly story. Don't folk chatter. I only said to old Thomas that Jack Hunter had picked some of your apples. It was Jean Robins who told me about it. You'd better ask her if you want the exact details."
Farmer Hodge (to Jean Robins)" "Has Jack Hunter picked some apples from my trees? How many did he take? Did he carry them away?"
"But, Farmer Hodge, I didn't see Jack Hunter take them. I only repeated what Mr. Johnson told me. She said to me only that Jack Hunter had taken one of your apples. He's her nephew, you know, and she happened to walk back from the Post Office with him, past your orchard."
I hope this story reminds you not to believe every rumor you hear about people. Who knows how twisted the story is! It's better to go straight to the person and find out the truth.