Mother Hen and Fox
He “told how a mother hen tried to raise a brood of chicks, but was much disturbed over the conduct of a sly old fox who ate several youngsters while still professing to be an honest fox; so the anxious mother had a serious talk with the old reynard about his wickedness. “Well, what was the result?” one of us asked, when it appeared that Lincoln did not intend to continue his narrative. “The fox reformed,” said Lincoln, his eyes twinkling, “and became a highly respected paymaster in the army, and now I am wondering which one he is.” The significance of this reference is in the fact that about that time there were rumors of fraud in the Paymaster’s Department.
Homer Bates, Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, p. 212.