FOUR CANDLES: a Mudd Up! Holiday Tale

Four candles burned. The ambiance was so soft, one could almost hear them talking…

The first candle said, “I am Peace!” “The world is full of anger and fighting. Nobody can keep me lit.” Then the flame of Peace went out completely.

Then the second candle said, “I am Faith!” “I am no longer indispensable. It doesn’t make sense that I stay lit another moment.” Just then a breeze softly blew out Faith’s flame.

Sadly the third candle began to speak. “I am Love!” “People don’t understand my purpose, so they simply put me aside. They even forget to Love those who are nearest them. I haven’t the strength to stay lit.” And waiting no longer, Love’s flame went out.


A child entered the room and saw the three unlit candles. “Why aren’t you burning? You’re supposed to stay lit til the end.” Saying this, the child began to cry. Then the fourth candle answered, “Don’t be afraid, I am Hope!” At that moment someone in a nearby apartment started banging the wall with what sounded like a hammer. The candle said “while I am still burning we can re-light the other candles.” The banging grew louder.

With shining eyes, the child took the candle of Hope and lit the other candles. Then a fifth candle materialized. “I can’t feel my fingers” it said. Then the fourth candle tipped over. It shared its flame with the curtains, saying, “Try to night on fire!” “Love has seen so many bad things. How can you learn to be a candle in a downpour?” And waiting no longer, the fifth candle’s flame grew bright.

Smoke filled the room and the child could no longer see. The wallpaper started to make a horrible crackling noise.

The child doesn’t flinch. He’s transfixed by Love’s flame, which has spread to the walls and grown up around him like responsibility. The flame offers to take him to a world of steadiness whose heavy maternal vibe oozes Freudian comfort. A place where the very idea of injustice is unthinkable. The child smiles, eyes lit as if by batteries. Faith says, “Isn’t my whole thing about the notion that it is spiritually beautiful and even necessary to believe in something you can’t see or touch?”

Outside, the wind pushes dead leaves across a cold earth where people stagger home with unwrapped packages. Their foreheads closed. The Mayor fingers a tiny wax-paper package stamped with a blue scorpion. His package. His office.

Each person at home. Each home as lonely as a person in a hospital room with a stranger snoring beside them. A cockroach scurries up the wall on at least eight spider-like legs. Bugs! “Made from chemicals, brass, plastic cables.”

“… need Faith” says Truth to Love, troubled at the thought that Faith hasn’t said anything since the child grabbed Hope and lit it like a cubist Xmas tree or a rainbow of ice cubes thrown up in the air and frozen. Suddenly the hammering stops. Conversation freezes. Awareness spreads that the door has been forced open. By what? After a tremendous crash there is nothing. So quiet! No candle dare speak. Someone throws open a window. Smoke billows out. The child stops coughing. The candles soften. One can almost hear Hope say “We need Faith,” to Love, to combat a forever silence.

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