Once upon a time, two beautiful girls, wearing beautiful garments, went to bathe in a lake. The girls’ names were Falsehood and Truth. They took off their dresses, arranged them carefully on the bed of grass and dived into the water.
But they didn’t notice that behind a tree there was a man feasting his eyes on their beauty.
The man was known in the village for snooping around and gossiping, which was more often than not taken with a grain of salt by those of a more discerning mind. His name was Bill Parker, but the villagers called him Nosey Parker for obvious reasons.
Falsehood and Truth continued to frolic in the water among lily pads and playful fish, splashing each other, screaming with delight and laughing, unaware of the pair of inquisitive eyes behind the tree.
Then Truth got tired and decided to float on her back for a little rest. She shut her eyes and let the water be her cosy bed adorned with white and pink waterlilies, like innocent Ophelia’s.
Falsehood got bored and decided to get out of the water. When she saw Truth’s lovely dress on the ground, she couldn’t help noticing that it was much more beautiful than her own, so she quickly put it on and left in a hurry.
After a while, Truth opened her eyes and realising Falsehood had disappeared, got out of the water.
Horror of horrors! Her dress was gone, too!
No, she wasn’t going to wear Falsehood’s dress. Everyone knew that Falsehood was in the habit of telling fibs. What would people think if they saw her in Falsehood’s dress? No one would ever trust her again.
As her reputation was at stake, Truth chose to go home naked.
Nosey Parker, naturally, told the villagers what he had seen.
And that is how the expression ‘the naked truth’ came into being.
Quote: The naked truth is always better than the best dressed lie.
The source for this fable is on page 170 in Edwin Radford’s book To Coin a Phrase.
naked truth, the The phrase speaks for itself but has had a fable woven about it. Falsehood and Truth went together to bathe in the river. Falsehood came out first and dressed in the garments of Truth. Truth, unwilling to go dressed as Falsehood, preferred to go naked.
© 2014 Irina Dimitric
Write a little story, like an Aesop fable, or one of Kipling’s Just So Stories, about an expression, a favorite one from the language or one you make up. Tell us how the expression came about and how the expression came to mean what it means now, and be as fanciful and imaginative about it as you can.
Here are some suggestions, which you may take with a grain of salt:
- take with a grain of salt
- go back to one’s roots
- what’s your beef (complaint)?
- cold feet
- cut (or made up, as a story) out of whole cloth
- face the music
- go whole hog
- everything but the kitchen sink