For a guy with three young daughters who is still in the (cough! cough!) prime of his life... I sure spend a lot of time with dead people. I have a library full of them.
"'No, George, I thank God you do not, my son; and I rejoice in the hope you never well.'" -The Life of Washington, Mason Locke Weems 1809
Contrary to popular belief, the dead don't stop being stubborn or mischievous or ornery or flat out deceitful after they have passed. In fact, the dead lie more than anyone else I know. (Yep! Pun Challenge Accepted) Case in point, that historical rascal, that pox of fallacious fallacy... George Washington.
"One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking his mother's pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet on the body of a beautiful young English Cherry-tree... the next morning the old gentleman finding out what had befallen his tree..." -The Life of Washington, Mason Locke Weems 1809
My kids loved reading the famous yarn of young George cutting down the cherry tree and then fessing up to his tree-hugging Pa because he's so blamed honest and truthful and forthright and presidential and whatnot. They liked it in the same way they enjoyed Columbus discovering the world was round or Newton getting domed from a falling apple or Einstein flunking math or Franklin with his kite on a stormy night. You know, they love to accept the Big Historical Lie... and boy! Do I love it too.
"'I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.'" -The Life of Washington, Mason Locke Weems 1809
History is choke-full of scholars pouring over letters and documents and artifacts and new wonders are discovered every day. Things thought lost. Mysteries solved. It's almost as if the dead try to grasp on to their secrets until their bones turn to dust. The living do this too.