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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 candles;myplace is in a chandelier or on a silver candlestick!"

      "That must be a lovely existence!"said the tallowcandle"I am only made of tallow,but I comfort myselfwith the thought that it is always a little better than being afarthing dipthat is only dipped twice,and I am dippedeight times to get my proper thicknessI 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 thisworldYou are placed in the big room in the glass chandelier,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 waxcandle"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 withthemThe lady herself took it in her dainty hand,and carried it out to the kitchena little boy stood there with abasket,which was filled with potatoes;two or three applesalso found their way thereThe 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 candle can shine like two childish eyes!

      "That is a blessing to see,"thought the tallowcandle;"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 waxcandle sits in silver and seesall the grand peopleHow 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 lightedthey shone outacross the street;the carriages rolled up with the elegantballguests and the music played

      "Now they begin across there,"the tallowcandlenoticed,and thought of the beaming face of the rich littlegirl,more sparking than all the waxlights"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 neckshe had something very important to tell them,and it must be whispered"Tonight we shall havejustthink!—Tonight we shall have hot potatoes!"

      And her face shone with happinessthe tallowcandle 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 tallowcandle can do no more

      The table was laid,and the potatoes eatenOh,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

      Amen!

      "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 herselfAnd overfrom the big house the lights shone and the music soundedThe stars shone over all the houses,over the rich and overthe poor,equally clear and blessed

      "This has really been a delightful evening!"thoughtthe tallowcandle"I wonder if the waxcandles 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 waxcandle,and the other by the tallowcandle

      Yes,that is the whole story!

       


       

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