The salesman

A salesman came to a house and knocked at the door. A young boy opened the door, and the salesman said, "Is your mother in? I would like to speak to your mother."

The boy said, "No, my mother is out."

The salesman said, "Where is your mother?"

The boy replied, "My mother is in a mental asylum."

The salesman said, "Where is your father, may I know?"

The boy said, "My father is in jail."

The salesman asked, "Do you have a brother or a sister?"

The boy said, "Yes, I have both a sister and a brother. My sister is in a reform school, and my brother is at Harvard."

The salesman said, "Oh, he is studying at Harvard! What does he study?"

The boy said, "He does not study."

The salesman said, "But you said he was studying."

The boy said, "No, he does not study. They study his brain."

The salesman said, "Then what do you do?"

The boy said, "I take care of my grandmother, and my grandmother takes care of me."

The salesman asked, "What would you like to be in the future when you grow up?"

The boy said, "I want to be the world's worst possible liar."

"Why, why?" the man asked.

"Why?" the boy said. "I have told you all lies. My mother has gone to work. My father has gone to work. My brother has gone to work, and my sister has gone to school, not reform school."

The man asked, "Then what do you do?"

The boy said, "I also go to school."

The man said, "What about your grandmother?" The boy said, "I do not even know whether my grandmother is still alive."

The man said, "Now that you have told me the truth, for each true answer I would like to give you five dollars. Five dollars I will give you, now that you are telling me the truth about your family."

The boy said, "No, no, no! I do not know which is right — the first thing that I said about my father being in jail or the second thing about him being at work."

The man said, "Do you mean to say that you do not know whether you were telling the truth the first time or the second time?"

The boy said, "I do not know, and I do not want to know."

The man said, "Very strange, very strange. At one point you have definitely told the truth. The first time you said that your father was in jail and your mother was in a mental asylum. Then the second time you said they have both gone to work. Tell me frankly, which one is the truth?"

The boy said, "Do not bother me any more. I do not need your money. Just leave my house!"