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The Army Of Occupation And Uncle Sam

(A Fable)

The Indian Magazine
Volume 1, No. 1 — April 15, 1919

The day was dark and sunny, one starry night next
week,
The cats way up the alley, were playing hide
and seek;
The doodle bugs were whistling, but I wasn't afraid,
The only thing that worries me is,
WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET PAID?
 

Once upon a time there was an army of occupation, and it was ruled over by a great and wise king whose name was Uncle Sam.

Now the people who made up the Army of Occupation were restless and prone to grumble by reason of having fought and won a war, but still being constrained to remain in the enemy country. Still, all in all, no one really complained, well knowing that the good king had affairs of great moment to arrange, and that he would return his soldiers to their own land at the earliest possible moment.

But one matter troubled the Army of Occupation above all others, and it was at last decided to send one of their number before the king and seek justice. And the man who had been chosen, being before the king, spoke in this wise:

"0, King, whom all thy subjects love, we present to thee a grievance.

"We have been paid for our services in a foreign money. It is distasteful to us, nor can we think it to have value. Some of us have gambled it at craps; others have drunk it up in the stuff called wine (which in truth seems more like vinegar), with disastrous results; few have sent any home, knowing that it would mean nothing to those who received it, being foreign; all have been broke on the third day following pay-day.

"Being convinced of the folly of all this, and trusting in the wisdom of the king, we request that we receive for our services only that money which to us is real money, and which we respect above all other money in the world."

So ended the speaker.

Now the good king loved his Army of Occupation, and it came to pass that he took the matter to heart. And on the following pay-day, all were amazed and overjoyed at seeing in their hands crisp, new banknotes bearing the words which they loved: "United States of America."

And strange events came to pass, unheard of before in the Army of Occupation. For the soldiers would not willingly part with their treasure, saying: "This which I have is worth more than all of the pfennigs in the world and is too precious to be wasted on wine and cognac."

And the guard house was forced to close its doors, having no customers. And many did go and write letters to their loved ones at home, enclosing therein ten dollar bills, knowing the joy that such letters would bring, and others laid away their new money for hard times. And all were happy.

Now Uncle Sam, hearing of the marvelous change in his army, saw that he had done a good thing, and was pleased. Therefore he straightway ordered that all of his soldiers should thereafter receive full value for their services in the coin of the realm. And it was so.

SGT. W. F. VERMILYEA,
Co. B, Twenty-third Infantry.
 
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