With Thanksgiving weekend coming to a close and the Christmas decorations making their annual debut, I thought it'd be a great time to take in this story:
A primary and intermediate school was so located as to be separated by a fence from the rear of the White House grounds. The President often watched the children play. One morning, the teacher gave them a lesson in neatness, and asked each boy to come to school next day with his shoes blacked. They all obeyed. One of them, John S., a poor one-armed lad, had used stove polish, the only kind his home afforded. The boys were merciless in their ridicule. The boy was only nine years old, the son of a dead soldier, his mother a washerwoman, with three other children to provide for. The President heard the boys jeering Johnny, and learned the facts about the boy.
The next day John S. came to school with a new suit and with new shoes, and told that the President had called at his home and took him to the store and bought two suits of clothes for him and clothes for his sisters, and sent coal and groceries to the house. In addition to this the lad brought to the teacher a scrap of paper containing a verse of Scripture, which Mr. Lincoln had requested to have written upon the blackboard:
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Some weeks after the President visited the school, and the teacher directed his attention to the verse, which was still there. Mr. Lincoln read it; then, taking a crayon, said: "Boys, I have another quotation from the Bible, and I hope you will learn it and come to know its truth as I have known and felt it." Then below the other verse he wrote:
"It is more blessed to give than to receive.
from: Jackson, S. Trevena. Lincoln's Use of the Bible, New York: The Abingdon Press, 1909, pp. 29-30.