Training for the Presidency
by Orison Swett Matden
"I meant to take good care of your
Crawford,'' said the boy, "but I've damaged it a
good deal without intending to, and now I want
to make it right with you. What shall I do to
make it good?''
"Why, what happened to it, Abe?'' asked the
rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems's
"Life of Washington'' which he had lent young
Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and
warped binding. "It looks as if it had been out
through all last night's storm. How came you
to forget, and leave it out to soak?''
"It was this way, Mr. Crawford,'' replied Abe.
"I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed,
I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call
it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of
our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington
all night. When I woke up I took it out to read
a page or two before I did the chores, and you
can't imagine how I felt when I found it in this
shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got
out of the weather side of that crack, and the
rain must have dripped on it three or four hours
before I took it out. I'm sorry, Mr. Crawford,
and want to fix it up with you, if you can
tell me how, for I have not got money to pay
"Well,'' said Mr. Crawford, "come and shuck
corn three days, and the book 's yours.''
Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln
that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy
could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn
only three days, and earn the book that told all
about his greatest hero!
"I don't intend to shuck corn, split rails, and
the like always,'' he told Mrs. Crawford, after he
had read the volume. "I'm going to fit myself
for a profession.''
"Why, what do you want to be, now?'' asked
Mrs. Crawford in surprise.
"Oh, I'll be President!'' said Abe with a smile.
"You'd make a pretty President with all your
tricks and jokes, now, wouldn't you?'' said the
"Oh, I'll study and get ready,'' replied the
boy, "and then maybe the chance will come.''