Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: “Abe” on a Woodpile

Lincoln’s attempt to make a lawyer of himself under adverse and unpromising circumstances—he was a bare-footed farm-hand—excited comment. And it was not to be wondered. One old man, who was yet alive as late as 1901, had often employed Lincoln to do farm work for him, and was surprised to find him one day sitting barefoot on the summit of a woodpile and attentively reading a book.

“This being an unusual thing for farm-hands in that early day to do,” said the old man, when relating the story, “I asked him what he was reading.

“‘I’m not reading,’ he answered. ‘I’m studying.’

“‘Studying what?’ I inquired.

“‘Law, sir,’ was the emphatic response.

“It was really too much for me, as I looked at him sitting there proud as Cicero. ‘Great God Almighty!’ I exclaimed, and passed on.” Lincoln merely laughed and resumed his “studies.”