There was once a wise old woman who lived back in the hills. All the children used to come back and ask her questions. She always gave the right answers.

There was a naughty little boy among the children. One day he caught a tiny bird and held it in his cupped hands. Then he gathered his friends around. He said, "Let's trick the old woman. I'll ask her what I'm holding in my hands. Of course, she'll answer that I have a bird. Then I will ask her if the bird is living or dead. If she says the bird is dead, I'll open my hands and let the bird fly away. If she says the bird is alive, I'll quickly crush it and show her the dead bird. Either way, she'll be wrong."

The children agreed that this was a clever plan. Up the hill they went to the old woman's hut.

"Granny, we have a question for you," they all shouted.

"What's in my hands?" asked the little boy.

"Well, it must be a bird," replied the old woman.

"But is it living or dead?" demanded the excited boy.

The old woman thought for a moment and then replied, "It is as you will, my child."