There was a popular anecdote about mathematician G. H. Hardy (1877 – 1947) that goes like this: While conducting a lecture on Number Theory, he said that a certain mathematical notion was trivial. But after a little while, he hesitated and asked, “Is it trivial?” He then excused himself and went to his office. After thinking about it for half an hour, he went back to the lecture hall and finally concluded, “Yes, it is trivial.”
When Hardy was asked about the validity of the story, he repudiated it. He said that at some point in the past, he might have said, “This is trivial,” hesitated for a moment asked, “Is it trivial?”, and then after a pause, said, “Yes, it is trivial.” However, he never left the lecture hall to ponder about it.
“All of which goes to show that it doesn’t pay to look too closely into the truth of many an anecdote,” mathematical writer Howard Eves remarked, “if one does not wish to lose the story.”