Carl Sandburg





The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the Potato Face Blind Man


    One morning in October the Potato Face Blind Man sat on the corner 
nearest the postoffice.
    Any Ice Today came along and said, “This is the sad time of the year.”
    “Sad?” asked the Potato Face Blind Man, changing his accordion from 
his right knee to his left knee, and singing softly to the tune he was fumbling 
on the accordion keys, “Be Happy in the Morning When the Birds Bring the 
Beans.”
    “Yes,” said Any Ice Today, “is it not sad every year when the leaves change 
from green to yellow, when the leaves dry on the branches and fall into the air, 
and the wind blows them and they make a song saying, ‘Hush baby, hush 
baby,’ and the wind fills the sky with them and they are like a sky full of birds 
who forget they know any songs.”
    “It is sad and not sad,” was the blind man’s word.
    “Listen,” said the Potato Face. “For me this is the time of the year when 
the dream of the white moon toboggan comes back. Five weeks before the 
first snow flurry this dream always comes back to me. It says, ‘The black 
leaves are falling now and they fill the sky but five weeks go by and then for 
every black leaf there will be a thousand snow crystals shining white.’”
    “What was your dream of the white moon toboggan?” asked Any Ice Today.
    “It came to me first when I was a boy, when I had my eyes, before my luck
 changed. I saw the big white spiders of the moon working, rushing around 
climbing up, climbing down, snizzling and sniffering. I looked a long while 
before I saw what the big white spiders on the moon were doing. I saw after 
a while they were weaving a long toboggan, a white toboggan, white and 
soft as snow. And after a long while of snizzling and sniffering, climbing up 
and climbing down, at last the toboggan was done, a snow white toboggan 
running from the moon down to the Rootabaga Country.
    “And sliding, sliding down from the moon on this toboggan were the White 
Gold Boys and the Blue Silver Girls. They tumbled down at my feet because, 
you see, the toboggan ended right at my feet. I could lean over and pick 
up the White Gold Boys and the Blue Silver Girls as they slid out of the 
toboggan at my feet. I could pick up a whole handful of them and hold them 
in my hand and talk with them. Yet, you understand, whenever I tried to shut 
my hand and keep any of them they would snizzle and sniffer and jump out 
of the cracks between my fingers. Once there was a little gold and silver dust 
on my left hand thumb, dust they snizzled out while slipping away from me.
    “Once I heard a White Gold Boy and a Blue Silver Girl whispering. They were
 standing on the tip of my right hand little finger, whispering. One said, ‘I got 
pumpkins—what did you get?’ The other said, ‘I got hazel nuts.’ I listened 
more and I found out there are millions of pumpkins and millions of hazel nuts 
so small you and I can not see them. These children from the moon, however, 
they can see them and whenever they slide down on the moon toboggan 
they take back their pockets full of things so little we have never seen them.”
    “They are wonderful children,” said Any Ice Today. “And will you tell me how 
they get back to the moon after they slide down the toboggan?”
    “Oh, that is easy,” said Potato Face. “It is just as easy for them to slide up 
to the moon as to slide down. Sliding up and sliding down is the same for them. 
The big white spiders fixed it that way when they snizzled and sniffered and 
made the toboggan.”