The Widow And Her Three Sons
: MEMORIAL DAY
: 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
"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."