Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Old Street Lamp

<h2><a href=””><img class=”alignleft wp-image-8089″ src=”; alt=”The Old Street Lamp” width=”242″ height=”362″ /></a>The Old Street Lamp</h2>
There was once an old gas lamp that was due to retire. He had served many years lighting the streets. He had been good friends with the guard and his wife. They had taken good care of him.

On his last night, the lamp remembered some fond memories. He remembers a love note to a young man and the funeral of a young woman.

Three beings presented themselves as his replacement. They thought he could choose who replaced him. One replacement was a fish head, another was a glow worm, and another was a piece of rotten wood. None of them was particularly good at lighting up the night and they were quite angry when the lamp told them he could not award his position.

Gifts were offered to the lamp. The wind offered to blow into him and make him forget. The moon came by but did not give a gift because none had ever given light to the moon. A drop of rain fell from the clouds and offered the lamp the gift of rust. He could turn into a pile of dust whenever he willed. The last gift was from a shooting star. The lamp would shine brilliantly if only a wax taper were placed inside of him.

Retirement day found the lamp somewhere he didn’t expect to be, in the home of the watchman and his wife. They had asked to have the lamp. The lamp was placed in their home and observed all that went on. The couple was industrious. They were constantly doing something. They would read and tend to their little garden, which was simply a couple of pots.

The lamp worried himself about not being able to display the gift that the falling star had given him. One day, on the watchman’s birthday, the wife thought to have an illumination, but she did not place a bit of wax candle in the lamp, but oil as usual. The lamp was disappointed.

That night, the lamp had a dream that he had been melted down, as feared. He was not a candlestick in the home of a wealthy man. He did give off a beautiful light but was no longer with the old couple. Upon waking, the lamp realized that he should appreciate the old couple for caring for him, exactly as he was. That was really all an old lamp could ask for.

The End
<h2><a href=””><img class=”alignleft wp-image-8091″ title=”Klearchos Kapoutsis from Santorini, Greece” src=”; alt=”Lamplighter_(3770623470)” width=”217″ height=”324″ /></a>Observations</h2>
Streets lamps used to run on gas, well if you had street lamps. It wasn’t as if street lamps were just everywhere like they seem to be today. Larger cities had street lamps, and they used gas, or oil, as in the case of this story. There used to be people employed, solely for the purpose of going around lighting street lamps. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but you did get a long stick.

Iron was not wasted. This lamp probably would have been melted down, but there did come a time when people started trying to preserve some decorative iron pieces.

Believe it or not, people actually used to build buildings with iron. It’s the same concept as building with steel girders, but steel holds up better than iron does.
<h2><a href=””><img class=”alignleft wp-image-8090″ src=”; alt=”if-you-cant-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too-what-else-were-you-goi” width=”244″ height=”244″ /></a>Themes</h2>
I’m on the fence about this story. This lamp had these wonderful gifts he was given and wanted to use them, but also wanted to stay with this couple that cared for him very much. It’s nice to have gifts and used them, but it’s also nice to have a family. There are times when having a family is about the only thing you can get out of life. It may seem as if everything else is going bad, but at least you have your family. I don’t like the idea of wasting talents though. If you have a talent, you should try to use it to benefit yourself and others.

I feel as if this story is one of those “you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” stories. Isn’t that the entire point of having cake? You get some cake so you can eat it. You develop a talent so you can use it. There is no point of having a talent otherwise.

Hopefully, the lamp will enjoy his time with the old couple, but hopefully they’ll also figure out how to put a candle inside of the lamp. That way everyone is getting the most out of the situation.
Why would a herring’s head give off light?
<h2>Weigh In</h2>
Who made up the whole “can’t have your cake and eat it too” thing?

Do you think the lamp ended up with an ok life? It was preferable to being melted down, right?


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