The three princes of Serendip
Went on a little trip.
They could not carry too much weight;
More than 300 pounds made them hesitate.
They planned to the ounce. When they returned to Ceylon
They discovered that their supplies were just about gone
When, what to their joy, Prince William found
A pile of coconuts on the ground.
“Each will bring 60 rupees,” said Prince Richard with a grin
As he almost tripped over a lion skin.
“Look out!” cried Prince Robert with glee
As he spied more lion skins under a tree.
“These are worth even more – 300 rupees each
If we can just carry them all down the beach.
Each skin weighed fifteen pounds and each coconut, five,
But they carried them all and made it alive.
The boat back to the island was very small
15 cubic feet capacity – that was all.
Each lion skin took up one cubic foot
While eight coconuts the same space took.
While everything was stowed they headed to the sea
And on the way calculated what their new wealth might be.
“Eureka!” cried Prince Robert, “Our wealth is so great
That there’s no other way we could return in this state.
And any other skins or nut which we might have brought
Would now have us poorer. And now I know what –
I’ll write my friend Horace in England, for surely
Only he can appreciate our serendipity.
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