THE OLD STREET LAMP
C. S. B. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen.
THERE was once a very honest old Street Lamp that had
done its work for many, many years; but now it hung for
the last time to its post, and gave light to the
street. To-morrow it was to appear in the council
house, and the Mayor and all his council were to
inspect it, and say if it were worn out or not.
And the lamp was afraid. Perhaps it would be melted
down in a factory. Oh, it would be sorry to go away
from the old watchman who had always tended it, and
cleaned it, and fed it oil, and who had come along
every night with his ladder to light it!
 On the bridge of the gutter stood three persons
who wished to speak to the old lamp, for they thought
they might be set up there on the post in his place.
One was a herring's head. He thought it would be a
great saving of oil if they put him up on the post, for
he knew how to glimmer in the dark quite alone. One
was a piece of rotten wood, which also glimmers in the
dark. The third person was a glow-worm; but the
herring's head and the rotten wood said the glow-worm
would never do for the street light, for she only shone
at certain times.
At that moment the Wind came careering around the
street corner and blew through the broken panes of the
old Street Lamp.
"What's this I hear?" asked the Wind. "So you're going
away to-morrow? I must make you a present before you
go. I will blow in your brain-box, and make you
remember, and see, like a real person."
"Thank you, heartily," said the old Street Lamp. "I
only hope I shall not be melted down."
"I am very sure you will not be," said the Wind, and
then he blew; and at that moment the Moon stepped forth
from behind the clouds.
"What will you give the old Street Lamp?" asked the
Wind of the Moon.
"I'll give nothing," said the Moon. "I am on the wane,
and the lamps never lighted me." Then the Moon hurried
off and hid herself behind the clouds.
Just then a bright shooting star fell down, forming a
long bright stripe.
"What was that?" asked the herring's head. "Did not a
star fall? I really think it went into the lamp!
Certainly we had best say good night and go home."
 And so they did—all three. But the old lamp shed
a marvelously strong light around.
"That was a glorious present," it said. "The bright
stars which have always shone as I never could shine
have noticed me and given me a present."
"I hope you may sometime shine with a wax light," said
the Wind. "But I will go down now." And he went
"Wax lights!" exclaimed the lamp. "I shall never have
one of them. Oh, I hope I may not be melted down!"
The next morning the Lamp sat in a grandfather's chair!
And guess where? In the old watchman's house. The
watchman had asked the Mayor if he might keep the
faithful old Street Lamp; so it was not melted down,
but went home with him. It leaned over toward the warm
stove. It felt very big, sitting in a chair all alone.
It was only a cellar where the old watchman and his
wife lived, but it was clean and neat. There were
curtains round the bed and the little windows. On the
window-sill stood two curious flower-pots, made of clay
in the shape of two elephants. The backs of the
elephants were cut off, and from the inside of one
there bloomed chives—that was the kitchen garden; and
from the other a red geranium—that was the flower
garden. Yes; the old Street Lamp could see it all
So it sat and looked about, and then, after supper, the
old watchman seated himself beside it and spoke of how
they had gone through the rain and fog together in the
short, bright summer nights, and then the winter
nights, when the snow beat down upon them. Yes; it was
as the Wind had said it would
be  —the old Street
Lamp could remember everything quite well.
So the Lamp lived in the cellar, and was kept neat and
clean, and stood, all shining, in a corner. Strangers
thought it a bit of old rubbish, but the old people did
not care for that; they loved the Lamp.
One day—it was the watchman's birthday—the old woman
smiled to herself and said: "I'll make a light to-day."
The Lamp rattled its cover. "Now I shall have a wax
light inside of me," it said; but only some oil was
brought, and the Lamp burned merrily with that all
through the evening, in honor of the watchman's
And when the old man had gone to bed, the Lamp had a
dream—about being put into a furnace and melted into an
iron candlestick, as fair a candlestick as you would
wish, one to hold wax lights. The candlestick was set
in a beautiful room which was all hung with pictures of
forests, and meadows where the storks strutted about,
and the blue sky with all the stars.
"How very wonderful!" said the Street Lamp, as it
awoke. "It was not so bad to be melted. I held a wax
light, and yet here I am in the old watchman's cellar
once more, all cleaned and full of oil, which is quite
And the honest old Street Lamp was very happy, as it
well deserved to be.