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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/25

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THE BOY

and killed one of them. He has never since pulled trigger on any larger game."

The cabin had no window other than the large cracks which he mentions, nor any door to shut out the sleet and snow which drifted in through the doorway. The bare earth which served for a floor turned to mud during the winter thaws. The little boy's bed was a heap of loose leaves in a loft, which he reached by climbing up on pegs driven into the wall. Sometimes the family had nothing to eat but roast potatoes, and a neighbor remembers that peeled, sliced raw potatoes were passed around for dessert. Sometimes on cold days the children would carry a hot roast potato with them on their way to school to keep their hands warm. "They were pretty pinching times," wrote Abraham Lincoln in after years.

In 1818, when Abraham was nine years old, a mysterious disease nearly wiped out the small community at Little Pigeon Creek. It was called the "milk-sick" and attacked cattle and humans alike. Nancy Hanks Lincoln was stricken down with it. There was no doctor within thirty-five miles, and under the swift fever she died before one could be called. Her last message to her boy, as she lay dying, was to be good to his father and sister, and to love his kin and worship God. She was buried in a