Wrong End of a Dog
[Quoting from “Personal Recollections of Lincoln” by Judge H.W. Beckwith, of Danville, Illinois, as a good example of Mr. Lincoln’s skill in “condensing the law and the facts of an issue in a story”:] “A man, by vile words, first provoked and then made a bodily attack upon another. The latter, in defending himself, gave the other much the worst of the encounter. The aggressor, to get even, had the one who thrashed him tried in our Circuit Court on a charge of an assault and battery. Mr. Lincoln defended, and told the jury that his client was in the fix of a man who, in going along the highway with a pitchfork on his shoulder, was attacked by a fierce dog that ran out at him from a farmer’s dooryard. IN parrying off the brute with the fork, its prongs stuck into the brute and killed him.”
“What made you kill my dog?” said the farmer.
“What made him try to bite me?”
“But why did you not go at him with the other end of the pitchfork?”
“Why did he not come after me with his other end?”
Emanuel Hertz, Anecdotes By & About Abraham Lincoln, p. 118-119.