When Franklin was an old man, he wrote a cu-ri-ous letter. In that letter he told a story. It was about some-thing that happened to him when he was a boy.
Here is the story put into verses, so that you will re-member it better. Some day you can read the story as Franklin told it himself. You will hear people say, “He paid too much for the whistle.” The saying came from this story.
As Ben with pennies in his pocket
Went strolling down the street,
“Toot-toot! toot-toot!” there came a whistle
From a boy he chanced to meet,
Whistling fit to burst his buttons,
Blowing hard and stepping high.
Then Benny said, “I’ll buy your whistle;”
But “Toot! toot-toot!” was the reply.
But Benny counted out his pennies,
The whistling boy began to smile;
With one last toot he gave the whistle
To Ben, and took his penny pile.
Now homeward goes the whistling Benny,
As proud as any foolish boy,
And in his pockets not a penny,
But in his mouth a noisy toy.
“Ah, Benny, Benny!” cries his mother,
“I cannot stand your ugly noise.”
“Stop, Benny, Benny!” says his father,
“I cannot talk, you drown my voice.”
At last the whistling boy re-mem-bers
How much his money might have bought
“Too many pennies for a whistle,”
Is little Benny’s ugly thought.
Too many pennies for a whistle
Is what we all pay, you and I,
Just for a little foolish pleasure
Pay a price that’s quite too high.