The Old Street Lamp
But the Lamp thought this was a poor present, and so did the Wind.
"Isn't someone going to give something better?" it blew as loudly as it could.
Just then a bright shooting star fell, blazing down in a long bright stripe.
"What was that?" cried the herring's head. "Wasn't that a falling star? Why, I think it went right into the Lamp! Well, if such a highborn personage as that is trying for his position we'd better quit and go home!" And so it did, and the others too. But the old Lamp shone more marvelously than ever.
"That was a wonderful present!" it said. "The bright stars that I've always admired and that shine far more brightly than I ever have been able to, despite my ambition and efforts, have actually noticed me, a poor old lamp, and have sent me a present! They have granted that everything I remember and see as clearly as if it stood before me shall also be seen by those I love! And in that lies true happiness; for if we cannot share happiness with others, it can only be half enjoyed."
"Those are very honorable thoughts," said the Wind. "But for that you need wax lights. Without a wax candle lit up in you, your rare faculties will be of no use to others. The stars didn't think of that! They think everything that shines has at least one wax light in it always. But now I am tired! I am going to lie down." And then the Wind lay down.
The next day-well, we'd better pass over the next day. But the next evening, the Lamp was resting in a big easy chair. And where? In the old watchman's house!
The old man had begged as a favor of the thirty-six councilmen that he be allowed to keep the Lamp as a reward for his long and faithful service to the city. They laughed at him when he asked for it, but finally gave it to him.
Now the Lamp lay in the big armchair close to the warm stove, and it seemed to be much larger. It almost filled the whole chair. As the old couple sat at supper they looked fondly at the old Lamp and would gladly have given it a place at their table.