I can understand what the hilighted part says, but I can't rewrite it into easier wording. I'd like to explain the meaning of this part using other easier English to my high school students. Could anyone help me with it? Can I rewirte it into "When he referred to the Bible comically"? All Americans know the story of George Washington, the first U.S. president. When he was a boy, he cut down a cherry tree. He realized he had made a mistake, and when his father asked about the tree, he said, "I did it. I cannot tell a lie." While he is famous for not telling lies, he is also famous for not telling jokes. He is always described as serious and sober. However, in a recently discovered letter written in 1762, Washington complains about worms eating his tobacco plants. In a comic reference to the Bible, he criticizes Noah for saving the lives of the worms' ancestors. According to the Bible, Noah built a huge boat, called an ark, to save his family and all the animals from a great flood. It's not a very funny joke but it shows Washington had some sense of humor. The letter was auctioned, and the owners got $16,000 for it.