Gossip was a central part of many people's lives in the small Nebraska town where we lived. One day a woman came to our house to share some new gossip with my father, the minister.
My father waited until she finished and then said, "I happen to know that what you just told me is absolutely not true. Did you start this rumor?" She said, "Well no, I didn't."
"If you didn't start it, then who told it to you?"
"I really can't say."
My father then said, "If you won't tell me who told you this rumor, I'll assume you started it. I'll make sure the town knows that you're the one starting these rumors." She hemmed and hawed around and finally told him the name of the woman that told her the rumor.
My father then went to that woman and repeated the same line of questioning.
After about the 6th iteration of this process, he finally got to the woman who admitted starting the rumor. He told her he was going to make sure the town knew that she had started the malicious rumor and suggested it would be a good idea if she stopped doing it.
The gossip mill in town ground to a halt at least for a while. Everyone was afraid that if a rumor got to my father, he would track down the originator again.
My father was a terrific guy and I miss him.