I. He Rescues The Birds
By Noah Brooks (Adapted)
Once, while riding through the country with some other lawyers, Lincoln was missed from the party, and was seen loitering near a thicket of wild plum trees where the men had stopped a short time before to water their horses.
``Where is Lincoln?'' asked one of the lawyers.
``When I saw him last,'' answered another, ``he had caught two young birds that the wind had blown out of their nest, and was hunting for the nest to put them back again.''
As Lincoln joined them, the lawyers rallied him on his tender-heartedness, and he said:--
``I could not have slept unless I had restored those little birds to their mother.''
II. Lincoln And The Little Girl
By Charles W. Moores
In the old days, when Lincoln was one of the leading lawyers of the State, he noticed a little girl of ten who stood beside a trunk in front of her home crying bitterly. He stopped to learn what was wrong, and was told that she was about to miss a long-promised visit to Decatur because the wagon had not come for her.
``You needn't let that trouble you,'' was his cheering reply. ``Just come along with me and we shall make it all right.''
Lifting the trunk upon his shoulder, and taking the little girl by the hand, he went through the streets of Springfield, a half-mile to the railway station, put her and her trunk on the train, and sent her away with a happiness in her heart that is still there.
III. Training For The Presidency
By Orison Swett Marden
``I meant to take good care of your book, Mr. Crawford,'' said the boy, ``but I've damaged it a good deal without intending to, and now I want to make it right with you. What shall I do to make it good?''
``Why, what happened to it, Abe?'' asked the rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems's ``Life of Washington'' which he had lent young Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and warped binding. ``It looks as if it had been out through all last night's storm. How came you to forget, and leave it out to soak?''
``It was this way, Mr. Crawford,'' replied Abe. ``I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed, I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington all night. When I woke up I took it out to read a page or two before I did the chores, and you can't imagine how I felt when I found it in this shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got out of the weather side of that crack, and the rain must have dripped on it three or four hours before I took it out. I'm sorry, Mr. Crawford, and want to fix it up with you, if you can tell me how, for I have not got money to pay for it.''
``Well,'' said Mr. Crawford, ``come and shuck corn three days, and the book 's yours.''
Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn only three days, and earn the book that told all about his greatest hero!
``I don't intend to shuck corn, split rails, and the like always,'' he told Mrs. Crawford, after he had read the volume. ``I'm going to fit myself for a profession.''
``Why, what do you want to be, now?'' asked Mrs. Crawford in surprise.
``Oh, I'll be President!'' said Abe with a smile.
``You'd make a pretty President with all your tricks and jokes, now, wouldn't you?'' said the farmer's wife.
``Oh, I'll study and get ready,'' replied the boy, ``and then maybe the chance will come.''
IV. Why Lincoln Was Called ``Honest Abe''
By Noah Brooks
In managing the country store, as in everything that he undertook for others, Lincoln did his very best. He was honest, civil, ready to do anything that should encourage customers to come to the place, full of pleasantries, patient, and alert.
On one occasion, finding late at night, when he counted over his cash, that he had taken a few cents from a customer more than was due, he closed the store, and walked a long distance to make good the deficiency.
At another time, discovering on the scales in the morning a weight with which he had weighed out a package of tea for a woman the night before, he saw that he had given her too little for her money. He weighed out what was due, and carried it to her, much to the surprise of the woman, who had not known that she was short in the amount of her purchase.
Innumerable incidents of this sort are related of Lincoln, and we should not have space to tell of the alertness with which he sprang to protect defenseless women from insult, or feeble children from tyranny; for in the rude community in which he lived, the rights of the defenseless were not always respected as they should have been. There were bullies then, as now.
V. A Stranger At Five-Points
One afternoon in February, 1860, when the Sunday School of the Five-Point House of Industry in New York was assembled, the teacher saw a most remarkable man enter the room and take his place among the others. This stranger was tall, his frame was gaunt and sinewy, his head powerful, with determined features overcast by a gentle melancholy.
He listened with fixed attention to the exercises. His face expressed such genuine interest that the teacher, approaching him, suggested that he might have something to say to the children.
The stranger accepted the invitation with evident pleasure. Coming forward, he began to speak and at once fascinated every child in the room. His language was beautiful yet simple, his tones were musical, and he spoke with deep feeling.
The faces of the boys and girls drooped sadly as he uttered warnings, and then brightened with joy as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once or twice he tried to close his remarks, but the children shouted: ``Go on! Oh! do go on!'' and he was forced to continue.
At last he finished his talk and was leaving the room quietly when the teacher begged to know his name.
``Abra'm Lincoln, of Illinois,'' was the modest response.
VI. A Solomon Come To Judgment
By Charles W. Moores
Lincoln's practical sense and his understanding of human nature enabled him to save the life of the son of his old Clary's Grove friend, Jack Armstrong, who was on trial for murder. Lincoln, learning of it, went to the old mother who had been kind to him in the days of his boyhood poverty, and promised her that he would get her boy free.
The witnesses were sure that Armstrong was guilty, and one of them declared that he had seen the fatal blow struck. It was late at night, he said, and the light of the full moon had made it possible for him to see the crime committed. Lincoln, on cross-examination, asked him only questions enough to make the jury see that it was the full moon that made it possible for the witness to see what occurred; got him to say two or three times that he was sure of it, and seemed to give up any further effort to save the boy.
Good Stories For Great Holidays -by- Various