A rogue laid a wager that he would prove the oracle at Delphi to be untrustworthy by getting from it a false reply to an inquiry by himself. So he went to the temple on the appointed day with a small bird in his hand, which he hid under the folds of his cloak, and asked whether what he held in his hand were alive or dead. If the oracle said “dead,” he meant to produce the bird alive: if the reply was “alive,” he intended to wring its neck and show it to be dead. But the oracle was one too many for him, for the answer he got was this:

“Stranger, whether the thing that you hold in your hand be alive or dead, is a matter that depends entirely on your own will.”

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