Ever so long ago, two young men, Edmund and Oswald, appeared in court.
Edmund said to the judge: "Three years ago, when I left home, I gave Oswald, who I thought was my best friend, a costly gold ring set with precious stones and I asked to keep it till I returned home. Now he says that he knows nothing about it."
Oswald, placing his hand on his heart, said: "I declare on my honour that I know nothing about the ring. I am afraid that my good friend Edmund has been affected in his mental powers since he went away."
The judge said: "Edmund, were there any witnesses who could testify that you gave the ring to Oswald?"
Edmund replied: "Unfortunately in the field where we were at the time there was nobody. We were talking beneath an old oak tree and there we were alone."
Oswald said: "I am ready to swear that I know as little of the oak tree as I do of the ring."
The judge said: "Edmund, go to that field again and bring back a branch of that oak tree. I wish to se it. Oswald, you wait here in the meantime, until Edmund comes back."
So Edmund left. After some time the judge said to Oswald: "How is it that Edmund is taking so long to return? Go to the window a moment, Oswald, and see if you can see him returning along the road."
Oswald said: "Oh, my lord judge, he wouldn't have even reached the tree yet - the tree is over an hour's walk from here."
When the judge heard this, he was very indignant.
"You who wanted to testify before God, were ready to tell a lie to God, the Supreme Judge who sees the hearts of all men! You know as much about the tree as you do about the ring. For the next year while you are in prison you will have time to think about the necessity of always telling the truth."
God's justice is a bed where we
Our anxious hearts may lay,
And, weary with ourselves, may sleep
Our discontent away.