THE OLD STREET LAMP 351
the darkness. He thought it would be a great saving of oil if they put him up on the post. Number two was a piece of rotten wood, which also glimmers in the dark, and always more than a piece of fish, it said to itself ; besides, it was the last piece of a tree which had once been the pride of the forest. The third person was a glow-worm. Where this one had come from, the Lamp could not imagine ; but there it was, and it could give light. But the rotten wood and the herring's head swore by all that was good that it only gave light at certain times, and could not be brought into competition with themselves.
The old Lamp declared that not one of them gave sufficient light to fill the office of a street lamp ; but not one of them would believe this. When they heard that the Lamp had not the office to give away, they were very glad of it, and declared that the Lamp was too decrepit to make a good choice.
At the same moment the Wind came careering from the corner of the street, and blew through the air-holes of the old Street Lamp.
1 What's this I hear ? ' he asked. ' Are you to go away to-morrow ? Is this the last evening that I shall find you here ? Then I must make you a present at parting. I will blow into your brain-box in such a way that you shall be able in future not only to remember everything you have seen and heard, but that you shall have such light within you as shall enable you to see all that is read of or spoken of in your presence.'
1 Yes, that is really much, very much ! ' said the old Lamp. ' I thank you heartily. I only hope I shall not be melted down/
1 That is not likely to happen at once,' said the Wind. 1 Now I will blow up your memory : if you receive several presents of this kind, you may pass your old days very agreeably.'
* If only I am not melted down ! * said the Lamp again. * Or should I retain my memory even in that case ? '
* Be sensible, old Lamp,' said the Wind. And he blew, and at that moment the Moon stepped forth from behind the clouds.
* What will you give the old Lamp ?' asked the Wind.