General Grant told this story about Lincoln some years after the War:
“Just after receiving my commission as lieutenant-general the President called me aside to speak to me privately. After a brief reference to the military situation, he said he thought he could illustrate what he wanted to say by a story. Said he:
“‘At one time there was a great war among the animals, and one side had great difficulty in getting a commander who had sufficient confidence in himself. Finally they found a monkey by the name of Jocko, who said he thought he could command their army if his tail could be made a little longer. So they got more tail and spliced it on to his caudal appendage.
“‘He looked at it admiringly, and then said he thought he ought to have still more tail. This was added, and again he called for more. The splicing process was repeated many times until they had coiled Jocko’s tail around the room, filling all the space.
“‘Still he called for more tail, and, there being no other place to coil it, they began wrapping it around his shoulders. He continued his call for more, and they kept on winding the additional tail around him until its weight broke him down.’
“I saw the point, and, rising from my chair, replied, ‘Mr. President, I will not call for any more assistance unless I find it impossible to do with what I already have.’”