Fifty Famous People HTML version

Then all three of them laughed heartily. They thought it so foolish
that a strong man should take so much trouble just for some worthless
young birds.
”Gentlemen,” said Mr. Lincoln, ”I could not have slept to-night, if
I had left those helpless little robins to perish in the wet grass.”
Abraham Lincoln afterwards became very famous as a lawyer and
statesman. He was elected president. Next to Washington he was the
greatest American.
A great battle had begun. Cannon were booming, some far away, some
near at hand. Soldiers were marching through the fields. Men on
horseback were riding in haste toward the front.
”Whiz!” A cannon ball struck the ground quite near to a company of
soldiers. But they marched straight onward. The drums were beating,
the fifes were playing.
”Whiz!” Another cannon ball flew through the air and struck a tree
near by. A brave general was riding across the field. One ball after
another came whizzing near him.
”General, you are in danger here,” said an ocer who was riding with
him. ”You had better fall back to a place of safety.”
But the general rode on.
Suddenly he stopped at the foot of a tree. ”Halt!” he cried to the men
who were wit h him. He leaped from his horse. He stooped and picked up
a bird’s nest that had fallen upon the ground. In the nest were some
tiny, half-fledged birds. Their mouths were open for the food they
were expecting their mother to give them.
”I cannot think of leaving these little things here to be trampled
upon,” said the general.
He lift ed the nest gently and put it in a safe place in the forks of
the tree.
”Whiz!” Another cannon ball.
He leaped into the saddle, and away he dashed with his ocers close
behind him.
”Whiz! whiz! whiz!”
He had done one good deed. He would do many more before the war was
over. ”Boom! boom! boom!”
The cannon were roaring, the balls were flying, the battle was raging.
But amid all the turmoil and danger, the little birds chirped happily
in the safe shelter where the great general, Robert E. Lee, had placed
them. ”He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and
small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”
Two children, brother and sister, were on their way to school. Both
were very small. The boy was only four years old, and the girl was
not yet six. ”Come, Edward, we must hurry,” said the sister. ”We must
not be late.” With one hand the little boy clung to his sister’s arm,
and with the other he held his primer.
This primer was his only book, and he loved it. It had a bright blue
cover, which he was careful not to soil. And in it were some odd little
pictures, which he never grew tired of looking at.
Edward could spell nearly all the words in his primer, and he could
read quite well.
The school was more than a mile from their home, and the children