My mother was a huge believer in the efficacy of prayer. Often in the local Dominican Church she would light a devotional candle for a special intention.
At one of these times she asked my brother John if he would do this for her. Candles were then one penny each. She had no change only a shilling. He was instructed to call at Ross’s shop and ask Nellie for change.
About fifteen minutes later John came home minus the change. Asked by mother what he had done with it, he explained that there was no change, that the candle in Ross’s cost a shilling.
‘Oh my God!’ exclaimed Mum. ‘You didn’t light one of those big candles, did you? Away back to the chapel with you and bring it back!’
Some time later John returned, minus change and minus candle.
‘Nellie wouldn’t take it back because it was used’, he explained.
‘So where is the candle then? I told you to bring it back here, not to Nellie’s!’
‘Oh, I took it back to the chapel’.
‘I wonder who lit that big candle?’ they all asked.
Mother threw no light on that one.
But you’d hope, wouldn’t you, from such a hefty investment that the woman was granted her special intention? She never enlightened us on that either!