Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
C. S. B. Adapted form Hans Christian Andersen.
 THERE was a great Wax Candle that knew well enough what
"I am born in wax," it said. "I give more light and
burn longer than any other light. My place is in a
"That must be a charming life," said the little Tallow
Candle. "I am only a tallow dip; but then, I comfort
myself it is better than to be a mere taper that is
dipped only two times. I am dipped eight times to get
a decent thickness. I am satisfied. It would have
been finer to be born in wax, and be put in a glass
candlestick. I live in the kitchen, but that is a good
place, too; they get up all the dishes in the house
"There is a party this evening," said the Wax Candle.
"I shall soon be sent for."
Just then the Wax Candle was sent for—but the Tallow
Candle, too. The mistress took it in her delicate hand
and took it out to the kitchen. There stood a little
boy with a basket full of potatoes and a few apples in
it, too. The mistress had given all these to the poor
"Here is a tallow candle for you, too," she said.
"Your mother sits up and works far into the night—and
she can use it."
The mistress' little girl stood near, and she said, eagerly:
"And I'm going to sit up till night, too! We're going to have
a party, and I'm to wear big, red bows for it."
How her eyes shone! No wax candle could shine like the
 "That is a blessed thing to see," thought the
Tallow Candle. "I shall never forget it."
So the Tallow Candle was laid in the basket under the
cover, and the boy took it away. And so the candle
came to the poor people—a mother with three children—in
a little, low house right over opposite the rich house.
"God bless the good lady for what she gave," said the
mother. "It is a splendid candle, and it will burn far
into the night."
And the candle was lighted. Across the street the wax
lights were lighted. The carriages rumbled up to the
rich house with the guests for the party dressed so
finely. The band struck up.
"Now, they're beginning," thought the Tallow Candle,
and remembered the little rich girl's bright face,
which was brighter than all the wax lights. "That
sight I shall never see any more."
Then the smallest of the children in the poor house
came—she was a very little girl—and she put her arms
around her brother's and sister's necks. She had a
secret to whisper to them.
"We're going to have this evening—just think—we're
going to have warm potatoes!" And her face shone with
happiness. The Tallow Candle shone right in her eyes
and saw that she was as happy as the other child who
said: "We are going to have a party this evening, and
I shall wear some big, red bows."
"Is it such a fine thing to get warm potatoes?" thought
the Tallow Candle, and it sputtered to think of it, and
more than that no candle can do.
The table was spread, the potatoes eaten. Such a feast
as it was! And each child had an apple besides, and
the smallest child sang a little song:
"Now thanks, dear Lord, I give to Thee,
That Thou again hast filled me."
And the children went to bed, gave the mother a
good-night kiss, and fell asleep right away; but the
mother sat and sewed and sewed away into the night to
earn a living for them; while from the rich house the
music sounded and the lights shone. The stars twinkled
over both houses—the rich and the poor one—just as
clearly and just as kindly.
"This has been a fine evening," said the Tallow Candle.
"I should like to know, before I am burned out, if the
Wax Candle, in his silver candlestick, has had any
And it remembered the faces of the two happy little
girls; one lighted by a wax candle and the other by a