I had gone to visit the grave of a friend of mine
And as I walked through the graveyard
I noticed this man kneeling down by the grave of a child,
And in his hand he held a big red rose
and tears were streaming down his cheeks.
So I walked over and laid a hand on his shoulder
and started to talk to him.
And during the course of our conversation and in his broken English
this is the story just as he told it to me.
He said, "Mister, I'm a-walkin down the street today
and I passed by a big flower shop.
I walk in and I ask the man in the shop,
I say, "Boss, how much for one red rose?"
And he look at me with one big frown
and he says, 'I want a dollar, please.'
But then by and by a swell-dressed blond young lady walk in
and she says, 'How much for one red rose?'
And he look at her with one big smile and says, 'Ten cents.'
Then I said, 'Boss, how come you charge me a dollar for the rose
and charge the young lady only ten cents?'
And he says, 'Look, mister, you tell me why you want the rose
and maybe I'll give it to you for nothing.'
"Then I said, 'Boss, I'm a hard-working man,
Working the railroad don't make too much a month
And I got a little girl and her name is Rosa.
Rosa's just about this high, boss,
Every day when I come home from work
Little Rosa come a-running to me, to Papa,
And she throw her little arms around my neck
and say 'Papa' and I say 'Rosa.'
But one day, boss, I come home from work and I don't see Rosa
I look down by the railroad track and I see one big crowd.
I go down and I push the crowd
and there at my feet lay my Rosa.
And that's why I want the rose, boss.
I wanta put it on Little Rosa's grave."
The man he don't say nothing,
but he pick the biggest and the reddest rose
And he give it to me.
And I said, "Thank you, boss! Thank you very much!"