by: Oliver Herford (1863-1935)

      HE Sun appeared so smug and bright,
      One day, that I made bold
      To ask him what he did each night
      With all his surplus gold.
      He flushed uncomfortably red,
      And would not meet my eye.
      "I travel round the world," he said,
      "And traveling rates are high."
      With frigid glance I pierced him through.
      He squirmed and changed his tune.
      Said he: "I will be frank with you:
      I lend it to the Moon.
      "Poor think!--You know she's growing old
      And hasn't any folk.
      She suffers terribly from cold,
      And half the time she's broke."
      That evening on the beach I lay
      Behind a lonely dune,
      And as she rose above the bay
      I buttonholed the Moon.
      "Tell me about that gold," said I.
      I saw her features fall.
      "You see, it's useless to deny;
      The Sun has told me all."
      "Sir!" she exclaimed, "how can you try
      An honest Moon this way?
      As for the gold, I put it by
      Against a rainy day."
      I smiled and shook my head. "All right,
      If you must know," said she,
      "I change it into silver bright
      Wherewith to tip the Sea.
      "He is so faithful and so good,
      A most deserving case;
      If he should leave, I fear it would
      Be hard to fill his place."
      When asked if they accepted tips,
      The waves became so rough,
      I thought of those at sea in ships,
      And felt I'd said enough.
      For if one virtue I have learned,
      'T is tact; so I forbore
      To press the matter, though I burned
      To ask one question more.
      I hate a scene, and do not wish
      To be mixed up in gales,
      But, oh, I longed to ask the Fish
      Whence came their silver scales!

"The Silver Question" is reprinted from A Nonsense Anthology. Ed. Carolyn Wells. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915.




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