One evening a cricket came to rest on the hearth of a sad old man.
Spying the creature the old fellow said, "Sing for us if you can."
So the cricket began to chirp his tune, but before he had gone on long,
the old man cried, "What a racket! You sing in a monotone!"
"Well, then", replied the cricket (pretending to be much offended),
"You supply the entertainment then, if you're not too old and short-winded."
"Short-winded!", the old man scoffed, "Why, I'll show you!",
and finding no reason to dally, he opened his mouth, closed his eyes,
and began the first verse of "Red River Valley".
Now, the old man had not used his voice, except to grumble and mutter,
for so long that to hear himself singing again brought on a definite stutter;
but he soon relaxed, leaned back in his rocker, and carried on to the final strains;
then, his song ended, he looked around to see if the cricket remained.
But our little friend had slipped quietly out when he heard the chorus start;
his work was done; he had replaced the song in a bitter, lonely old heart.