The Lamplighter


I was very late submitting my attempt last week and Friday Fictioneers wait for no woman, or man!

My grandmother told me many tales;  some she made up, some she promised were true. In any event she should have written them down. She told me about the lamplighter and that my great grandfather liked to drink …

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields lights the path to Friday Fictioneers and we all follow as best we can. Thanks to her for the photo this week.

lamps

Genre: Memoir/Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Lamplighter

Granny told us many stories of the lamplighter. He lit the gas lamps in her town so folks could see their way home, or in her father’s case, to the alehouse.  One night her father didn’t stagger home. They found him next morning face down in the stream, his jug still clutched in his hand.

Many supportive neighbours and a few of his drinking friends attended his funeral. My great grandmother baked all night, then lit the parlour lamps and held a wake, relaxing in her new found freedom, released from toil and childbearing.

She never mentioned his name again.

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!    

  (from The Lamplighter – Robert Louis Stevenson)

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45 thoughts on “The Lamplighter

    • What a thought! We need you right there.

      I haven’t read any other stories yet, saving the treat till later this evening (UK time)

      Have a lovely weekend, Easter blessings to you and yours

      Dee

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    • Yes I’m sure, but she wouldn’t have been able to leave him in those days, she had to think about her children and had no money of her own.
      Thanks for reading
      Dee

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    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you so much, your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
      Thank you for your Easter blessings, I return the blessings to you and your family for this special weekend.

      Dee

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  1. Well crafted, how your story hints of a larger backdrop, of how your great grandmother “relaxed in her new-found freedom.” And neat how you paired the lamplighter with your great grandmother lighting the oil lamps in her home; it made me think of a circle being closed.

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  2. Well, there is certainly a story there. Can believe it is real, for it certainly must have been for so many. I love Robert Louis Stevenson, so a bow to him and a reminder of his craftiness is always welcome.

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    • Thank you for reading.
      I think a lot of women of that generation had to just “grin and bear it”.
      Like you, I am a huge fan of Robert Louis Stevenson and to include this poem seemed apt.
      Have a great weekend
      Dee

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  3. I personally experienced that when it happened to someone close. I saw the relief on the wife and children’s faces. They were finally free of the shame, excuses, lies and yoke around their necks. Thanks for sharing this story…true or not.

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  4. I’m glad I got to read this finally–great piece! It might be the conspiracies in my head, but I immediately thought that the lamplighter intentionally didn’t light the lamps to cause the husband to lose his way and die, thus freeing up the wife.

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