During the Revolution, George Washington was one day riding by a group of soldiers who did not know him. They were busily engaged in raising a beam to the top of some military works. It was a difficult task, and often the corporal’s voice could be heard shouting, “Now you have it!” “All ready! Pull!”
Washington quietly asked the corporal why he didn’t help them. “Sir,” corporal angrily replied, “do you not realize that I am a corporal?”
Washington politely raised his hat saying, “I did not realize it. Beg your pardon, Mr. corporal.”
Then dismounting his horse, General Washington himself fell to work and helped the men till the beam was raised. Before leaving he turned to the corporal, and, wiping the perspiration from his face, said, “If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander-in-chief, and I will come.”
The confused corporal turned red, and then white, as he realized that this was Washington himself to whom he had been so pompous; and we hope he learned a lesson of true greatness.