The Widow And Her Three Sons

: Good Stories For Great Holidays


One day a poor woman approached Mr. Lincoln for an interview. She was

somewhat advanced in years and plainly clad, wearing a faded shawl and

worn hood.

"Well, my good woman," said Mr. Lincoln, "what can I do for you this


"Mr. President," answered she, "my husband and three sons all went into

the army. My husband was killed in the battle of----.
get along very

badly since then living all alone, and I thought that I would come and

ask you to release to me my eldest son."

Mr. Lincoln looked in her face for a moment, and then replied kindly:--

"Certainly! Certainly! If you have given us ALL, and your prop has been

taken away, you are justly entitled to one of your boys."

He then made out an order discharging the young man, which the woman

took away, thanking him gratefully.

She went to the front herself with the President's order, and found that

her son had been mortally wounded in a recent battle, and taken to the


She hastened to the hospital. But she was too late, the boy died, and

she saw him laid in a soldier's grave.

She then returned to the President with his order, on the back of which

the attendant surgeon had stated the sad facts concerning the young man

it was intended to discharge.

Mr. Lincoln was much moved by her story, and said: "I know what you wish

me to do now, and I shall do it without your asking. I shall release to

you your second son."

Taking up his pen he began to write the order, while the grief-stricken

woman stood at his side and passed her hand softly over his head, and

stroked his rough hair as she would have stroked her boy's.

When he had finished he handed her the paper, saying tenderly, his eyes

full of tears:--

"Now you have one of the two left, and I have one, that is no more than


She took the order and reverently placing her hand upon his head,


"The Lord bless you, Mr. President. May you live a thousand years, and

may you always be the head of this great nation."