Concerned the boys might be hurting the dog, he asked, "What are you doing with that dog?"
One of the boys replied, "This dog is the old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whoever can tell the biggest lie gets to keep the dog."
Of course, the reverend was shocked. “You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."
There was dead silence for about a minute. As the reverend was beginning to think he had gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."
(Thanks to Cliff)