The influenza virus and the typhoid germ ask an undertaker to decide which kills more people. The undertaker replies that the draughty railway platform kills more than either of them.
'Twas an Influenza Microbe,
And it met a Typhoid Germ.
They both of them were Agents
"Death, Disease, and Co." their firm
And it happened that the meeting
Of these agents of renown
Was a railway station platform
In the heart of London town.
They'd arrived a little early,
And their train was scarcely due;
So they sheltered in a corner
From the bitter wind that blew ;
An to while away the minutes
On the platform they'd to stop,
They engaged in conversation,
And began by talking "shop."
"I 'have had a splendid season,"
Said the Microbe to the Germ;
"I have never been so busy
Since I travelled for the firm."
Said the Germ, "My last year's total
Was the largest ever known ;
I took quite a thousand orders
In one little town alone."
They, were bragging to each other
Of successes "on the road,"
When along the railway platform
Mr. Undertaker strode.
And he knew them in a moment,
As he'd dealings with the firm,
So he shook hands with the Microbe,
And he nodded to the Germ.
Then they chatted all together
Till' an argument began
As to whether Germ or Microbe
Was the better business man.
So they asked the Undertaker,
As a wager they had made,
To decide if Germ or Microbe
Did the better for his trade.
Then the man of coffins, smiling,
Cleared his throat and shook his head,
And remarked, "Well, Influenza
May provide me with my bread ;
And I won't be so ungrateful
As to say, in times like these,
That our friend here, Mr. Typhoid,
Doesn't sometimes find the cheese.
But there's something beats you hollow
If you doubt it, ask your firm
For it's miles in front of Microbes
And knocks corners off the Germ.
Now and then you gents, if lucky,
Put an order in my way,
But the draughty Railway Platform
Keeps me busy every day."