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The Old Street Lamp

Where that had come from the Lamp couldn't imagine; but there it was, and it could give light too. But the herring's head and the touchwood swore it could do so only at certain times, and therefore could not be taken into account.

The old Lamp said that not one of them gave enough light to fulfill the duties of a street lamp; but they wouldn't believe it. And when they heard that the Lamp had nothing to do with appointing its successor, they were much relieved and said the Lamp was much too decrepit to make a choice.

Just then the Wind came tearing around the street corner, and whistled through the air holes of the Lamp, and said to it: "What's this I hear? Are you going away tomorrow? Is this the last evening I'll see you here? Then I'm certainly going to give you a farewell present. I'll blow into your brain box so that in the future you'll be able not only to remember everything you've seen and heard, but you'll also have such a light within you that you can see all that is read or spoken in your presence."

"Oh, that's way too much!" said the old Lamp. "Thank you very much! I only hope I'm not going to be melted down!"

"That won't happen right away," said the Wind. "Now I'll blow a memory into you; if you receive several presents like this, you'll have a happy old age."

"If only I'm not melted down!" said the Lamp. "Or can you guarantee my memory even in that case?"

"Don't be silly, old Lamp!" said the Wind, and then it blew. At that moment the Moon came out.

"What are you going to give?" asked the Wind.

"Nothing at all," replied the Moon. "I'm on the wane, and besides the lamps have never lighted me. On the contrary, I've often given light for the lamps." Whereupon it slid behind the clouds again, for it didn't want to be pestered.

Now a drop fell on the Lamp. It seemed to come from the roof, but it explained that the gray clouds sent it as a present-perhaps the best possible present. "I'll penetrate you so completely that you'll be able, if you wish, to turn into rust in one night, and then crumble into dust.

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