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The Old Street Lamp

Have you ever heard the story of the old Street Lamp? It's really not very amusing, but you might listen to it for once.

It was such an honest lamp, which had done its duty for many, many years and which was now going to be discarded. It was the last evening it hung on its post and gave light to the street beneath it. The Lamp felt like an old ballet dancer who is performing for the last time and who knows that tomorrow she will be in a cold garret. The Lamp dreaded the morrow, for then it was to appear in the town hall and be inspected by the thirty-six council members, to see whether or not it was fit for further service.

It would be decided whether in the future the Lamp was to give light for the inhabitants of some suburb, or perhaps for some manufacturing plant in the country. But it might go at once to be melted down in an iron foundry! In that case it might become anything, but the Lamp was terribly troubled wondering whether, in some new state, it would remember it had once been a Street Lamp. In any case, the Lamp would be separated from the watchman and his wife, whom it had come to consider part of its family. It became a Lamp at the same time that he became a watchman.

In those days the watchman's wife was a little haughty. She would glance at the Lamp only when she passed under it in the evening-never in the daytime. However, in later years, when those three, the watchman, his wife, and the Lamp, had grown old together, the wife helped tend the Lamp, clean it, and poured oil into it. The old couple were thoroughly honest; never had they cheated the Lamp of a single drop of oil.

Now it was the Lamp's last night in the street, and tomorrow it would go to the town hall. Those were two dark thoughts indeed, and it's no wonder the old Lamp didn't burn very brightly. But other thoughts too passed through its mind. How many events it had lighted, how much it had seen of life! Perhaps as much as the thirty-six councilmen put together. But it didn't really say anything, for it was a good, honest old Lamp, and wouldn't willingly insult anyone-least of all those in authority.

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