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Candy, by Marcus Speh

The fire-man cometh, the children cried and began to dance as their parents had danced and the parents of their parents before them. He’s coming, he’s coming, hizzah huzzah, they sang cheerfully. The moon-faced fat mayor smiled and his triplicate chin wobbled. His thick rose- colored hand lay on the head of a child, who wasn’t dancing but reading. “What’re you reading,” asked the mayor’s spouse. The girl cast down her eyes and said: “I’m reading the bible.” The woman nodded approvingly and thought how pretty the little one was. The girl nodded solemnly. Just perfect, the woman thought. “Leave her alone,” said the mayor, who was arduously bearing his stateliness, “she should do whatever she likes to do.” He thrust a candy into the girl’s half-open mouth. When the glow grew in their midst, the crowd gasped as one man. “Look at his purple cloak,” cried the wife, but the mayor put one of his plump hands across her eyes, pushed the girl towards the flames, turned away and shouted hizzah! huzzah! while the children madly danced around the blazing lake of fire, their unseeing eyes mesmerized.