Abraham Lincoln’s stories are famous. It’s one of the hallmarks of this great president. He told them on many occasions and for different reasons.
Even literary great, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Commemoration Ode to Lincoln in 1865, mentioned them:
He is the author of a multitude of good sayings, so disguised as
pleasantries that it is certain they had no reputation at first but as jests; and only later, by the very acceptance and adoption they find in the mouths of millions, turn out to be the wisdom of the hour. I am sure if this man had ruled in a period of less facility of printing, he would have become mythological in a very few years, like Aesop…by his fables and proverbs. 
Here’s a Lincoln story about one such misunderstanding of his ‘jests.’
One evening, in the summer of 1863, a business delegation from New York, representing Governor Horatio Seymour, met with President Lincoln. At the conclusion of the meeting, one of the delegates, who was not a fan of Lincoln’s, leered at the president and pressed him to tell one of his famous “good stories.”
Realizing that the man was embarrassing the rest of the delegation, Lincoln turned his back to him and addressed the rest of those present – not with the requested story, but with an explanation about his stories.
“I believe I have the popular reputation of being a story-teller, but I do not deserve the name in its general sense, for it is not the story itself, but its purpose or effect that interests me. I often avoid a long and useless discussion by others, or a laborious explanation on my own part, by a short story that illustrates my point of view. So, too, the sharpness of a refusal or the edge of a rebuke may be blunted by an appropriate story so as to save wounded feelings and yet serve the purpose. No, I am not simply a story-teller, but story-telling as an emollient saves me much friction and distress.” 
Afterwards, the humbled delegation and its humiliated associate left the White House with a new appreciation for its occupant and a true understanding of the power of Lincoln’s stories.
Food for thought.
[Like this story? Click here for more Stories That Abe Told.]
 Emerson, Ralph Waldo. (1904). “Remarks at the Funeral Services Held in Concord, April 19, 1865.” in Vol. XI “Miscellanies – Abraham Lincoln.” The Complete Worksof Ralph Waldo Emerson, with a Biographical Introduction and Notes by Edward Waldo Emerson. Boston, MA & New York City, NY: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
 Gross, Anthony (1912). Lincoln’s Own Stories. New York City, NY: Harpers and Brothers. pp. 210-211.