tell the tale

tell a/the tale

To depict or reveal the truth about a situation. The report tells a tale of corruption and abuse that has rocked the film industry to its core. The marauding soldiers ensured no civilians survived who could tell the tale.
See also: tale, tell

tell the tale

If something tells the tale about a particular situation, it shows the truth about it. Had he been fired from all of those jobs, or had he quit? I went through the papers again, looking for references that might tell the tale. Note: You can also say that something tells its own tale. A full 60 minutes without a point is a statistic that tells its own tale. Note: People also use the much more frequent adjective tell-tale to mean the same thing. They wanted to surprise the man and not give him time to hide any tell-tale evidence. In every room are tell-tale signs of a once better life.
See also: tale, tell
References in classic literature ?
What followed is told differently in different books, but all agree in this, that a great chief called Fergus came back from the dead in order to tell the tale, which was again written down.
Had the elevation of the parabolic mirror been a few yards higher, none could have lived to tell the tale. They saw the flashes and the men falling and an invisible hand, as it were, lit the bushes as it hurried towards them through the twilight.
I don't suppose anyone of our time has seen her close and lived to tell the tale."
(If' I c'u'd only tell the tale as he told ut!) All that whoile the wind blew like ould glory, an' the Manila - 'twas summer, and they'd give her a foretopmast - struck her gait and kept ut.
The film will tell the tale of how the popular wartime leader - who was prime minister of Britain from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955 - stood against British parliament to defend the country from Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler in World War II.
Twenty-one honest and scalding human voices conspire to tell the tale of the myriad struggles engendered by financial desperation.
My favourite books to read to them were the Katie Morag books, which tell the tale of a wee Scottish girl from the Highlands.
With a story like theirs, you only need the tango to tell the tale.
Steven Cox's lawyer Hugh Robertson told a court: "It is amazing to me that he's here to tell the tale." Cox, 35, appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty to criminal damage and theft of the charity box on May 15 at William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford, Kent.
Geppetto uses the objects of a carpenter''s workshop to tell the tale of the puppet that wants to be a real boy, and the puppet-maker who wants to be a real father.
The musicians, who played a range of instruments from wood to string, donned Victorian costumes for the event to tell the tale of travel agent Thomas Cook.
They tell the tale of Nikki Hine, who spent three years in a coma, but was helped back to life through the care of her mother, father and sister.
In alternating chapters with two distinct characters, Avi and Vail tell the tale of a week turned inside out and upside down on parallel tracks that are destined to converge.
As A victim of MRSA who was lucky enough to survive the experience and be able to tell the tale, it may be of interest to know that I was dunked totally in disinfectant for five mornings, kept in a single room, checked as necessary to be done again for five days, and again and again.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Living to Tell the Tale, Knopf