Retold by Ella Lyman Cabot
The dictionary defines integrity as “an uncompromising adherence to a moral code” and ssys the word traces its origins to a Latin term meaning “untouched.” Here is integrity, untouched and unshaken by altered circumstances.
There was a war in Germany long ago, and thousands of soldiers were scattered over the country. A captain of the cavalry, who had a great many men and horses to feed, was told by his colonel that he must get food from the farms nearby. The captain walked for some time through the lonely valley, and at last knocked at the door of a small cottage. The man who opened it looked old and lame. He leaned on a stick.
“Good day, sir,” said the captain. “Will you kindly show me a field where my soldiers can cut the grain and carry it off for our army?” the old man led the soldiers through the valley for about a mile, and in the distance they saw a field of barley waving in the breeze.
“This is just what we want. We’ll stop here,” exclaimed the captain.
“No, not yet,” said the old man. “You must follow me a little farther.”
After another mile or two, they came to a second field of barley. The soldiers dismounted, cut down the grain, tied it in sheaves, and rode away with it.
Then the captain said to the old farmer: “Why did you make us walk so far? The first field of barley was better than this one.”
“That is true, sir,” answered the honest old man, “but it was not mine.”