On The Story of the Moth
One night, all the family, except my mother and myself, went to bed early. Why, I do not know, but we two remained sitting alone. The candles had already been put out. They had been blown out in their globes by means of a curved tube of tin. That tube seemed to me the finest and most wonderful plaything in the world. The room was dimly lighted by a single light of coconut oil. In all Filipino homes such a light burns through the night. It goes out just at day-break to awaken people by its spluttering.
My mother was teaching me to read in a Spanish reader called "The Children's Friend" (El Amigo de los Ninos). This was quite a rare book and an old copy. It had lost its cover and my sister had cleverly made a new one. She had fastened a sheet of thick blue paper over the back and then covered it with a piece of cloth.
This night my mother became impatient with hearing me read so poorly. I did not understand Spanish and so I could not read with expression. She took the book from me. First she scolded me for drawing funny pictures on its pages. Then she told me to listen and she began to read. When her sight was good, she read very well. She could recite well, and she understood verse-making, too. Many times during Christmas vacations, my mother corrected my poetical compositions, and she always made valuable criticisms.
I listened to her, full of childish enthusiasm. I marvelled at the nice-sounding phrases which she read from those same pages. The phrases she read so easily stopped me at every breath. Perhaps I grew tired of listening to sounds that had no meaning for me. Perhaps I lacked self-control. Anyway, I paid little attention to the reading. I was watching the cheerful flame. About it, some little moths were circling in playful flights. By chance, too, I yawned. My mother soon noticed that I was not interested. She stopped reading. Then she said to me: "I am going to read you a very pretty story. Now...
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