166 THE FLYING TRUNK
' Yes, but one that we can laugh at/ said the Sultan.
1 Certainly,' he replied ; and began. And now listen well.
' There was once a bundle of Matches, and these Matches were particularly proud of their high descent. Their genealogical tree, that is to say, the great fir tree of which each of them was a little splinter, had been a great old tree out in the forest. The Matches now lay between a Tinder-Box and an old iron Pot; and they were telling about the days of their youth. " Yes, when we were upon the green boughs," they said, " then we really were upon the green boughs ! Every morning and evening there was diamond tea for us, I mean dew ; we had sunshine all day long whenever the sun shone, and all the little birds had to tell stories. We could see very well that we were rich, for the other trees were only dressed out in summer, while our family had the means to wear green dresses in the winter as well. But then the woodcutter came, like a great revolution, and our family was broken up. The head of the family got an appointment as mainmast in a first-rate ship, which could sail round the world if necessary; the other branches went to other places, and now we have the office of kindling a light for the vulgar herd. That 's how we grand people came to be in the kitchen."
1 My fate was of a different kind," said the iron Pot which stood next to the Matches. " From the beginning, ever since I came into the world, there has been a great deal of scouring and cooking done in me. I look after the practical part, and am the first here in the house. My only pleasure is to sit in my place after dinner, very clean and neat, and to carry on a sensible conversation with my comrades. But except the Water Pot, which sometimes is taken down into the courtyard, we always live within our four walls. Our only newsmonger is the Market Basket ; but he speaks very uneasily about the government and the people. Yes, the other day there was an old pot that fell down from fright, and burst. He 's liberal, I can tell you ! " "Now you're talking too much," the Tinder-Box interrupted, and the steel struck against the flint, so that sparks flew out. " Shall we not have a merry evening \ "
Yes, let us talk about who is the grandest," said the Matches.