by Paul Lund
In old England it was that candle-makers were common and the industry a thriving one indeed. Even in those days, however, the problems of supply and demand were extant despite the lack of governmental control committees and pertinent legislation which might well have fouled the economy. So, suppliers of raw materials found it necessary to establish their own controls and distribute their goods as they saw fit.
This being the case, in the year of the great flax-weevil infestation with the flax supply at an all-time low, the necessity arose for the growers to strictly ration what little could be salvaged. Top priority, of course, was extended the textile mills, thus leaving the supply available to the candle-makers for candle wicks so low as to mean financial disaster to that industry. The growers, after due consideration, decided that after a one-month period of observation and study of the candle producers, they would supply flax only to those few that were most efficient and productive during that time.
And so it was that the most ambitious candle-makers proved their worth with long hours, quick snacks, and sleepless nights of candle production; while those less prone to hard work followed their established habits of normal working hours, healthy meals and well-slept nights. The promise of the flax growers was upheld at the completion of the test period, thus proving once again the old adage: There is no wick for the rested.
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