Three Days of Happiness

Once, during the Pelopenessian War, the Athenians suffered a great defeat.  A surviving soldier hurried home, and told the city that they had, in fact, won a great victory, instead.  For three days, the city celebrated, until a messenger arrived with the unfortunate news.  They had lost, and many of their young men were dead.

Furious, the city leaders asked the soldier why he had lied to them and led them to think what was contrary to fact.  He replied that they would have found out about the defeat either way, but what hard had he done if, through his lie, he had given to them three days of happiness?

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