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HOME > Classical Novels > The Little Match Man > CHAPTER X FIAMMIFERINO HAS A BATH
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One evening—it was the night before we were to land—the officers with us were polishing their swords, trying to make them like mirrors. In order to enjoy themselves while they worked they had had saki brought, and invited me to drink with them. As they drank they sang. Then they put their swords in their scabbards and went to sleep. I was about to follow their example when I felt Fiam moving.

He had come out of his box, and was walking energetically about on my chest. I unbuttoned a button on my waistcoat and called to him: “Fiam!” I forgot to tell you that sometimes he didn’t like this nickname that I had adopted. He felt as if he had lost half his name, and would show his disapproval by completing the word.


“Miferino!” he added.

“What do you want?”


“What do I want?” he replied excitingly, stepping outside with an agility I had never observed in him before. “What do I want? How delightful! I smell saki, and you left me shut up in the box.”

“Well, what of it?”

“Saki, sakii, sakiii,” he began to sing, dancing around on my shoulder.

He was beside himself with excitement.

“Be careful,” I said, “or you will fall off.” I had never seen him so lively.

If Fiam had one fault it was that of being melancholy. Sometimes I scolded him for it.

“In this world you must be resigned,” I would say. “It is true you are no longer a beautiful willow in the woods, and I am sorry for you, but that is no reason for being so sad, and for grumbling all the time about everything and everybody.”


“But you don’t understand, my good friend,” he said now, “that the odor of saki, this delicious perfume, reminds me of the most delightful time of my life. When Prince Funato came with his court every year they poured saki on my trunk. I loved it. It made me want to dance. It is more than a hundred [87] years since I smelled this marvelous odor. I beg you to put me near the cup.”

I did so. The cup of saki from which I had drunk was as small as a doll’s cup. It was beautiful blue china with white dragons and was still half full of the good warm liquor which was something like Marsala wine.

Fiam b............
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