“In a time of despondency, some visitors were telling the President of the ‘breakers’ so often seen ahead — ‘this time surely coming.’ ‘That,’ said he, ‘suggests the story of the school-boy, who never could pronounce the names ‘Shadrach,’ ‘Meshach,’ and ‘Abednego.’ He had been repeatedly whipped for it without effect. Sometime afterwards he saw the names in the regular lesson for the day. Putting his finger upon the place, he turned to his next neighbor, an older boy, and whispered, ‘Here come those “tormented Hebrews” again.’ (Francis Carpenter, Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln, p. 16-17.)
“Our reading was done from the scriptures and we stood up in a long line and read long and read in turn from the Bible. Our lesson one day was the story of the faithful Israelites who were thrown into the fiery furnace and delivered by the hand of the Lord without so much as the smell of fire upon their garments. It fell to one little fellow to read the verse in which occurred, for the first time, the names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”
Little Bud stumbled on Shadrach, floundered on Mesach, and went all to pierces on Abednego. Instantly the hand of the master dealt him a cuff on the side of the head and left him, wailing and blubbering, as the next boy in line took up the reading. But before the girl at the end of the line had done reading, he had subsided into sniffles and finally became quiet. His blunder and disgrace were forgotten by the class until his turn was approaching to read again. Then, like a thunderclap out of a clear sky, he sat up a wail that alarmed the master, who with rather unusual gentleness inquired, “What’s the matter now?”
“The little boy pointed with shaking finger to the verse which in a few moments he would be expected to read, and to the three proper names which it contained.”
“Look, master,” he cried, “there comes them same three fellers again!”
“As Lincoln finished the story, he stepped to the window overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, and pointed his finger at three men who were then crossing the street to the White House–Charles Summer, Thaddeus Stevens, and Henry Wilson.”
Lockridge, A. Lincoln, p. 290.