The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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1038                           THE CANDLES
' But there is something which is more important than food,' said the wax-candle. ' Society ! to see it shine, and to shine oneself ! There is a ball this evening, and soon I and all my family will be fetched.'
Scarcely was the word spoken, when all the wax-candles were fetched, but the tallow-candle also went with them. The lady herself took it in her dainty hand, and carried it out to the kitchen : a little boy stood there with a basket, which was filled with potatoes ; two or three apples also found their way there. The good lady gave all this to the poor boy.
1 There is a candle for you as well, my little friend,' said she. ' Your mother sits and works till late in the night; she can use it! '
The little daughter of the house stood close by, and when she heard the words ' late in the night', she said with great delight, ' I also shall stay up till late in the night ! We shall have a ball, and I shall wear my big red sash!' How her face shone ! that was with joy ! No wax-candle can shine like two childish eyes !
1 That is a blessing to see,' thought the tallow-candle; * I shall never forget it, and I shall certainly never see it again.'
And so it was laid in the basket, under the lid, and the boy went away with it.
' Where shall I go now ?' thought the candle ; ' I shall go to poor people, and perhaps not even get a brass candle­stick, while the wax-candle sits in silver and sees all the grand people. How lovely it must be to shine for the grand people ! but it was my lot to be tallow and not wax ! '
And so the candle came to poor people, a widow with three children, in a lfttle, low room, right opposite the rich house.
' God bless the good lady for her gifts,' said the mother, ' what a lovely candle that is ! it can burn till late in the night.'
And then the candle was lighted.
■ Fut, foi,' it said, ' what a horrid-smelling match that was she lighted me with ! the wax-candle over in the rich house would not have such treatment offered to it.'