Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: “I’ve Lost My Apple”

During a public “reception,” a farmer from one of the border counties of Virginia told the President that the Union soldiers, in passing his farm, had helped themselves not only to hay, but his horse, and he hoped the President would urge the proper officer to consider his claim immediately.

Mr. Lincoln said that this reminded him of an old acquaintance of his, “Jack” Chase, a lumberman on the Illinois, a steady, sober man, and the best raftsman on the river. It was quite a trick to take the logs over the rapids; but he was skilful with a raft, and always kept her straight in the channel. Finally a steamer was put on, and “Jack” was made captain of her. He always used to take the wheel, going through the rapids. One day when the boat was plunging and wallowing along the boiling current, and “Jack’s” utmost vigilance was being exercised to keep her in the narrow channel, a boy pulled his coat-tail and hailed him with:

“Say, Mister Captain! I wish you would just stop your boat a minute—I’ve lost my apple overboard!”