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THE CANDLES

 

THERE was once a big waxcandle which knew itsown importance quite well

"I am born of wax and moulded in a shape"it said"I give better light and burn longer than other candlesmyplace is in a chandelier or on a silver candlestick"

"That must be a lovely existence"said the tallowcandle"I am only made of tallowbut I comfort myselfwith the thought that it is always a little better than being afarthing dipthat is only dipped twiceand I am dippedeight times to get my proper thicknessI am contentit iscertainly finer and more fortunate to be born of wax insteadof tallowbut one does not settle one's own place in thisworldYou are placed in the big room in the glass chandelierI remain in the kitchenbut that is also a good placefrom there the whole house gets its food"

"But there is something which is more important thanfood"said the waxcandle"Societyto see it shineandto shine oneselfThere is a ball this eveningand soon Iand all my family will be fetched"

Scarcely was the word spokenwhen all the wax-can-dles were fetchedbut the tallow-candle also went withthemThe lady herself took it in her dainty handand carried it out to the kitchena little boy stood there with abasketwhich was filled with potatoestwo or three applesalso found their way thereThe good lady gave all this tothe poor boy

"There is a candle for you as wellmy little friend"said she"Your mother sits and works till late in thenightshe can use it"

The little daughter of the house stood close byandwhen she heard the words"late in the night"she said withgreat delight"I also shall stay up till late in the nightWe shall have a balland I shall wear my big red sash"

How her face shonethat was with joyNo wax candle can shine like two childish eyes

"That is a blessing to see"thought the tallowcandle"I shall never forget itand I shall certainly neversee it again"

And so it was laid in the basketunder the lidandthe boy went away with it

"Where shall I go now"thought the candle"Ishall go to poor peopleand perhaps not even get a brasscandlestickwhile the waxcandle sits in silver and seesall the grand peopleHow lovely it must be to shine forthe grand peoplebut it was my lot to be tallow and notwax

And so the candle came to poor peoplea widowwith three childrenin a littlelow roomright oppositethe rich house

"God bless the good lady for her gifts"said themother"what a lovely candle that isit can burn till latein the night"

And then the candle was lighted

"Futfoi"it said"what a horrid-smelling matchthat was she lighted me withthe wax-candle over in therich house would not have such treatment offered to it"

There also the candles were lightedthey shone outacross the streetthe carriages rolled up with the elegantballguests and the music played

"Now they begin across there"the tallowcandlenoticedand thought of the beaming face of the rich littlegirlmore sparking than all the waxlights"That sight Ishall never see again"

Then the smallest of the children in the poor housea little girlcame and took her brother and sister roundthe neckshe had something very important to tell themand it must be whispered"Tonight we shall havejustthink!—Tonight we shall have hot potatoes"

And her face shone with happinessthe tallowcandle shone right into itand it saw a gladnessa happinessas great as over in the rich housewhere the little girlsaid"We shall have a ball tonightand I shall wear mybig red sash"

"It is just as much to get hot potatoes"thoughtthe candle"Here there is just as much joy amongstthe children"And it sneezed at thatthat is to sayitsputtereda tallowcandle can do no more

The table was laidand the potatoes eatenOhhowgood they tastedit was a perfect feastand each one gotan apple besidesand the smallest child said the littleverse

"Thou good GodI give thanks to Thee That Thou again hast nourished me

Amen

"Was that not nicely saidMother"broke out thelittle one

"You must not ask that again"said the mother"you must think only of the good God who has fed you"

The little ones went to bedgot a kiss and fell asleepat onceand the mother sat and sewed late into the night toget the means of support for them and for herselfAnd overfrom the big house the lights shone and the music soundedThe stars shone over all the housesover the rich and overthe poorequally clear and blessed

"This has really been a delightful evening"thoughtthe tallowcandle"I wonder if the waxcandles had it anybetter in the silver candlestickI would like to know thatbefore I am burned out"

And it thought of the two happy onesthe one lightedby the waxcandleand the other by the tallowcandle

Yesthat is the whole story

 


 

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