352 THE OLD STREET LAMP
1 I'll give nothing,' replied the Moon. ' I am on the wane, and the lamps never lighted me ; but, on the contrary, I've often given light for the lamps.'
And with these words the Moon hid herself again behind the clouds, to be safe from further importunity.
A drop now fell upon the Lamp, as if from the roof ; but the drop explained that it came from the clouds, and was a present—perhaps the best present possible.
* I shall penetrate you so completely that you shall receive the faculty, if you wish it, to turn into rust in one night, and to crumble into dust.'
The Lamp considered this a bad present, and the Wind thought so too.
1 Does no one give more ? does no one give more ? ' it blew as loud as it could.
Then a bright shooting star fell down, forming a long bright stripe.
' What was that ? ' cried the Herring's Head. ' Did not a star fall ? I really think it went into the Lamp ! Certainly if such high-born personages try for this office, we may say good night and betake ourselves home.'
And so they did, all three. But the old Lamp shed a marvellous strong light around.
' That was a glorious present,' it said. ' The bright stars which I have always admired, and which shine as I could never shine though I shone with all my might, have noticed me, a poor old lamp, and have sent me a present, by giving me the faculty that all I remember and see as clearly as if it stood before me, shall also be seen by all whom I love. And in this lies the true pleasure ; for joy that we cannot share with others is only half enjoyed.'
' That sentiment does honour to your heart,' said the Wind. ' But for that wax lights are necessary. If these are not lit up in you, your rare faculties will be of no use to others. Look you, the stars did not think of that; they take you and every other light for wax. But now I am tired and I will lie down.' And he lay down.
The next day—yes, it will be best that we pass over the next day. The next evening the Lamp was resting in a grandfather's chair. And guess where ! In the watchman's dwelling. He had begged as a favour of the mayor