A story about Washington


The day was cold and black. Washington, starting out from his headquarters, drew on his great coat, turned up the collar and pulled his hat down to shield his face from the biting wind. As he walked down the road to where the soldiers were fortifying a camp, no one would have known that the tall, muffled figure was the commander-in-chief of the army.


As he came near that camp, he stopped to watch a small company of soldiers, who, under the command of a corporal, were building a breastwork of logs. The men were tugging at a heavy log; the corporal, important and superior, stood at one side giving orders.


"Up with it!" he cried. "Now altogether! Push! Up with it. I say! Now!" The men gathered new strength.


A great push altogether, and the log was nearly in its place, but it was so heavy, and just before it reached the top of the pile, it slipped and fell back.


The corporal shouted again, "Up with it, now! What ails you? Up with it, I say!"


The men tugged and strained again; the log nearly reached the top, slipped, and once more rolled back.


"Heave hard!" cried the corporal. "One, two, three! Now all together! Push!"


Another struggle, and then, just as the log was about to roll back for the third time, Washington ran forward, pushed with all his strength, and the log rolled into place on the top of the breastwork. The men, panting and perspiring, sought eagerly to thank him, but he turned toward the corporal.


"Why don't you help your men with this heavy lifting, when they need another hand?" he asked.

"Why don't I? asked the man. "Don't you see I am a corporal?"


"Indeed!" replied Washington, throwing open his great coat and showing his uniform. "I am only the commander-in-chief. Next time you have a log too heavy for your men to lift, send for me!"