The Moose and the Goose

“Dr. Zoose!” said the moose

“Won’t you come out and play?”

“Come out and play? I can’t today,”

said Zoose to the moose,

“for I’m writing a book

about a moose and a goose

who are lost in a park in the dark.”

“Why are a moose and a goose

on the loose in a park in the dark?

That seems improbable

because mooses and gooses

seldom hob nobble,

or what I mean to say

is they have nothing in common.”

“Be that as it may

I will tell the story.

I hope it’s not boring.”


“There once was a goose,”

said Zoose, “who was clueless

because it had lost its flock,

and it saw a lonesome moose

at the edge of the woods

staring dumbly at a rock,

and the goose thought

‘Perhaps that big animal,

who is technically a mammal,

will not be overwrought

(mentally, that is)

if I ask its assistance

or just a helping hand

when I tell him I’m new here

and I’m full of fear,

and my sense of direction

has not attained perfection

unlike the other geese I meet

who know which way to go

even in blinding snow.’

So the goose flew to the rock

that the moose for some reason

was ramming with its head

as if it were trying

to crack it open,

or for some purpose

roll it over.

And the goose thought,

‘What if this moose

is as dumb as that boulder

and when I ask it for help

it turns a cold shoulder?’

But the goose was undaunted

and besides it was haunted

by the fear it would never find

the geese who’d left him behind.

‘Mr. Moose,’ said the goose,

‘I’m sorry to interrupt you

from such an important duty

as crashing your body

against this object

which seems to me

(correct me if I’m wrong)

unspeakably strong

and able to withstand

the most punishing blows

you can give it.’

‘Sir goose,’ said the moose

‘do you think me a twit,

a nitwit, a dimwit,

for bashing my bones

against this stone?’

‘No offense was meant.

If my tone was insolent,

I beg your forgiveness,’

said the young goose

to the elderly moose.

‘Have you come here for a purpose

or do you only want to chatter?

For if it is the latter

I must tend to other business.’

‘Let me state the reason for my visit:

Do you know where there’s a river

where I can swim and look for fish?’

The moose pondered briefly

and said ‘Follow me hither.

Or should I say thither?

For I’ve never learned the difference

between hither and thither.’

‘Hither means here

and thither means there

but hither and thither

are neither here nor there.

What I want you to do

is bring me to the river

that you said you know the way to.

So without further ado

may we please proceed

to wherever the water may be?’

‘I will promptly bring you thither,’

said the moose in a dither

for it was unaccustomed

to being told what to do

by other creatures,

especially a goose

who hadn’t a clue

what to do.

But the moose was a gentle giant

and always compliant

when asked to lend

a helping hand,

to guiding a friend

or even a foe

through his native land.


So they entered the forest,

going this way and that

til the moose said ‘We’re lost,

let’s maybe turn back.’

An owl saw the moose

and said to a bat

‘What the heck is that?

It looks like a deer

with enormous head gear.’

And the bat saw the goose

and said, ‘That bird is rather fat.’

‘Fat, you say?’ said the owl to the bat.

‘Plump, I should say,

is perhaps the better word

to describe that bird

that waddles like a duck

who’s down on his luck

because he knows there’s an owl

on the prowl for some fowl.’

‘I am rather hungry,’ said the owl.

‘Can you hear my stomach growl?’

‘I do hear the rumbling

coming from your tummy-thing,’

said the bat, whose name was Irving.

‘Do you think the goose would mind

if upon his flesh I dine?’

‘That’s an awkward way of asking

if geese make good repasting.

But yes, I think it would

mind. But goose tastes good,

or so I’ve heard

from hawks and other birds

who eat their own kind

which, no offense, seems impolite.’

‘If hawks eat geese

I too shall feast

on the legs, then the breast,

which I think will taste best.’

So the owl left its nest

and flew down toward the goose,

its talons extended

the goose neck exposed

for the fatal blow.

But the owl didn’t know

that the goose and the moose

had become good friends

as they wandered in the woods.

When the moose saw the owl

swooping down with cruel intent

it blocked the owl with its antlers

and saved the goose from disaster.

The owl returned to its tree,

and Irving, the bat,

laughed silently

at the way the moose

protected the fowl

by swatting the owl

like a gnat.


The moose and the goose

walked on silently,

breathing sighs of relief.

‘Thank you,’ said the goose.

‘You saved my life.

If it weren’t for you

I would be in the mouth

of that bird most foul—

that carnivorous owl.’


“And here,” said Zoose

“the story ends happily.

They find the flowing river.

The moose and the goose

stand on the shore

both thinking, ‘Nevermore

shall we see one another.’

The moose said ‘Goodbye,

I’m glad I could help,

I hope you find the others,

those who left you behind,’

and walked away slowly,

its head hung so lowly

its antlers touched the ground.

The goose said ‘Hey wait!

you seem rather sad

which makes me feel bad.

You’re a much better friend

than those geese who left me.

It was you who came through,

and although I was rude,

with a bad attitude,

somewhat snotty,

to put it honestly,

you forgave and forgot

and helped when they would not.

You’ve taught me a lesson

and that’s a true blessing.

I’d rather stay with you, Sir Moose,

and help you break that rock

because your friendship is true

unlike that of my flock.’


And the goose and the moose

walked under a full moon

till they found a place to sleep.

And their sleep was happy

and their sleep was deep

and their dreams came true

like yours will too

if you follow the example

of the moose and the goose.”


Michael Haller

Michael Haller is a writer based in Cincinnati. His fiction has been published in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Maudlin House, Five on the Fifth, and Across the Margin.