Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce: A Valuable Suggestion
A Valuable Suggestion
A BIG Nation having a quarrel with a Little Nation, resolved to terrify its antagonist by a grand naval demonstration in the latter's principal port. So the Big Nation assembled all its ships of war from all over the world, and was about to send them three hundred and fifty thousand miles to the place of rendezvous, when the President of the Big Nation received the following note from the President of the Little Nation:
"My great and good friend, I hear that you are going to show us your navy, in order to impress us with a sense of your power. How needless the expense! To prove to you that we already know all about it, I inclose herewith a list and description of all the ships you have."
The great and good friend was so struck by the hard sense of the letter that he kept his navy at home, and saved one thousand million dollars. This economy enabled him to buy a satisfactory decision when the cause of the quarrel was submitted to arbitration.