THERE was once a big wax－candle 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 candles；myplace is in a chandelier or on a silver candlestick！"
"That must be a lovely existence！"said the tallow－candle．"I am only made of tallow，but I comfort myselfwith the thought that it is always a little better than being afarthing dip：that is only dipped twice，and I am dippedeight times to get my proper thickness．I am content！it iscertainly finer and more fortunate to be born of wax insteadof tallow，but one does not settle one's own place in thisworld．You are placed in the big room in the glass chande－lier，I remain in the kitchen，but that is also a good place，from there the whole house gets its food．"
"But there is something which is more important thanfood，"said the wax－candle．"Society！to see it shine，andto shine oneself！There is a ball this evening，and soon Iand all my family will be fetched．"
Scarcely was the word spoken，when all the wax-can-dles were fetched，but the tallow-candle also went withthem．The lady herself took it in her dainty hand，and car－ried it out to the kitchen：a little boy stood there with abasket，which was filled with potatoes；two or three applesalso found their way there．The good lady gave all this tothe poor boy．
"There is a candle for you as well，my little friend，"said she．"Your mother sits and works till late in thenight；she can use it！"
The little daughter of the house stood close by，andwhen she heard the words"late in the night"，she said withgreat delight，"I also shall stay up till late in the night！We shall have a ball，and I shall wear my big red sash！"
How her face shone！that was with joy！No wax can－dle can shine like two childish eyes！
"That is a blessing to see，"thought the tallow－can－dle；"I shall never forget it，and I shall certainly neversee it again．"
And so it was laid in the basket，under the lid，andthe boy went away with it．
"Where shall I go now？"thought the candle；"Ishall go to poor people，and perhaps not even get a brasscandlestick，while the wax－candle sits in silver and seesall the grand people．How lovely it must be to shine forthe grand people！but it was my lot to be tallow and notwax！
And so the candle came to poor people，a widowwith three children，in a little，low room，right oppositethe rich house．
"God bless the good lady for her gifts，"said themother，"what a lovely candle that is！it can burn till latein the night"
And then the candle was lighted．
"Fut，foi，"it said，"what a horrid-smelling matchthat was she lighted me with！the wax-candle over in therich house would not have such treatment offered to it．"
There also the candles were lighted：they shone outacross the street；the carriages rolled up with the elegantball－guests and the music played．
"Now they begin across there，"the tallow－candlenoticed，and thought of the beaming face of the rich littlegirl，more sparking than all the wax－lights．"That sight Ishall never see again！"
Then the smallest of the children in the poor house，a little girl，came and took her brother and sister roundthe neck：she had something very important to tell them，and it must be whispered．"Tonight we shall have—justthink！—Tonight we shall have hot potatoes！"
And her face shone with happiness：the tallow－can－dle shone right into it，and it saw a gladness，a happinessas great as over in the rich house，where the little girlsaid，"We shall have a ball tonight，and 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 that；that is to say，itsputtered；a tallow－candle can do no more．
The table was laid，and the potatoes eaten．Oh，howgood they tasted！it was a perfect feast，and each one gotan apple besides，and the smallest child said the littleverse：
"Thou good God，I give thanks to Thee That Thou again hast nourished me．
"Was that not nicely said，Mother？"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 bed，got a kiss and fell asleepat once，and the mother sat and sewed late into the night toget the means of support for them and for herself．And overfrom the big house the lights shone and the music sounded．The stars shone over all the houses，over the rich and overthe poor，equally clear and blessed．
"This has really been a delightful evening！"thoughtthe tallow－candle．"I wonder if the wax－candles had it anybetter in the silver candlestick？I would like to know thatbefore I am burned out．"
And it thought of the two happy ones，the one lightedby the wax－candle，and the other by the tallow－candle．
Yes，that is the whole story！