The Candle Contest
by The Open Hearth Foundation
Once upon a time, four young witches visited an elder at her small house where they talked long into the night about many wondrous things. Finally it came time to sleep and the elder said, “I’m sorry friends… but there is only one spare bed, so the rest must sleep on the floor.”
“So who should get the bed?” asked one.
“And how should we decide?” asked another.
The elder thought for a moment and said, “I’ll place a candle on the table for each of you to blow out… and the one to use the best magick will win the bed.”
So the first witch approached the candle and focused on the air. Soon a strong wind was circling the room and knocking pictures from the walls. Finally the wind hit upon the candle and blew out the flame.
“Very good,” said the elder as she re-lit the candle and re-hung the pictures, “Who would like to try next?”
So the second witch approached the candle and focused on the flame. Soon the flame was three-feet tall and burning like a torch. The candle was quickly consumed and the flame snuffed itself out.
“Again very good,” said the elder as she set out a new candle and inspected the ceiling for scorch marks, “And who would like to try next?”
So the third witch approached the candle and focused on the wax. Soon the wax was melting and forming a gooey puddle that ran off the table. The wick was eventually drowned and the flame sputtered out.
“Again very good,” said the elder as she set out a new candle and pried melted wax off the table, “And who is left to try?”
So the fourth witch, who was the youngest of all, approached the candle and thought for a moment. Then licking her thumb and forefinger, she reached out her hand and pinched out the flame.
“Ah ha!” said the elder, “That’s the best of all!”
“What?” cried the others. “How can that be? You said the best magick would win!”
“And it has,” said the elder, “For the first, best magick is sometimes simple mundane effort.”
So it was that the three witches had to sleep on the floor, and the youngest got the bed.