(from an anonymous source on the web)
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran toward the cry. He found a terrified boy mired to his waist in black muck, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied.
At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel. ‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ The farmer agreed.
Fleming’s son attended the very best schools, and in time graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, He went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of the antibiotic penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. It was penicillin that saved his life.
The name of the nobleman had been Lord Randolph Churchill.
The first name of the boy who was rescued was Winston.
…and if this sounds like an incredible story, it is indeed an incredible story. It’s also not true. None of it. As a boy Churchill never vacationed in an incredibly remote corner of highlands Scotland. Fleming didn’t rush into a highly successful medical career, and Churchill was treated with sulfa and digitalis, not penicillin, when he came down with pneumonia.
Lesson? Always, always confirm what you proclaim beforehand.
Oh, glurge? Google is your friend.
(thanks to Snopes for a little background research)