Author Unknown

An old man turned to me and asked
"How many friends have you?"
"Why 10 or 20 friends have I,"
And named off just a few.

He rose quite slowly with effort,
And sadly shook his head.
"A lucky child you are
To have so many friends," he said.

"But think of what you're saying
There is so much you do not know.
A friend is not just someone
To whom you say 'Hello'.

"A friend's a tender shoulder
On which to softly cry;
A well to pour your troubles down,
And raise your spirits high.

"A friend is a hand to pull you up,
From darkness and despair...
When all your other "so called" friends
Have helped to put you there.

"A true friend is an ally
Who can't be moved or bought.
A voice to keep your name alive,
When others have forgot.

"But most of all a friend is a heart,
A strong and sturdy wall.
For from the hearts of friends
There comes the greatest love of all!!!

"So think of what I've spoken,
For every word is true.
And answer once again my child,
How many friends have you??"

And then he stood and faced me,
Awaiting my reply.
Softly I answered,
"If have I--