He often wished, for the look of the thing, that people would sometimes bum candles at his shrine; but as they had forgotten who he was it was not considered a profitable speculation to pay him that attention.

‘Candles would be more orthodox,’ said the Goblin.

‘More orthodox, certainly,’ agreed the Saint, ‘and the mice could have the ends to eat; candle-ends are most fattening.’

The Goblin was too well bred to wink; besides, being a stone goblin, it was out of the question.

‘Well, if it ain’t there, sure enough!’ said the vergeress next morning She took the shining coin down from the gusty niche and turned it over and over in her grimy hands. Then she put it to her mouth and bit it.

‘She can’t be going to eat it,’ thought the Saint, and fixed her with his stoniest stare.

‘Well,’ said the woman, in a somewhat shriller key, ‘who’d have thought it! A saint, too!’

Then she did an unaccountable thing. She hunted an old piece of tape out of her pocket, and tied it crosswise, with a big loop, round the thaler, and hung it round the neck of the little Saint.

Then she went away.

‘The only possible explanation,’ said the Goblin, ‘is that it’s a bad one.’

‘What is that decoration your neighbour is wearing?’ asked a wyvern that was wrought into the capital of an adjacent pillar.

The Saint was ready to cry with mortification, only, being of stone, he couldn’t.

‘It’s a coin of—ahem!—fabulous value,’ replied the Goblin tactfully.

And the news went round the Cathedral that the shrine of the little stone Saint had been enriched by a priceless offering.

‘After all, it’s something to have the conscience of a goblin,’ said the Saint to himself.

The church mice were as poor as ever. But that was their function.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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