A Taste: “Fire”

Every now and then we need encouragement, something to keep us going. We want you to have at least a little taste of one of the stories that will be in our books – this isn’t the complete story, just a taste. We hope you enjoy!

Not so very long ago, or perhaps it was a very long time ago, depending on your point of view, there lived a tribe of iirjahs who were out in the world to have a great explore. This tribe was something like a band of ogres, in that there weren’t very many of them. And they were also not at all like a band of ogres, for the iirjahs walked all the way upright, with their heads held high and their arms swinging freely, in the way that only iirjahs can do.

They were very brave, or perhaps just very lucky. Or maybe they were unlucky, depending on your point of view. For in their travels, a day came when they were caught on a wide grassland during the swirling up of a powerful storm. Ahzhvii warned them they would do well to find shelter, but on the grassland that wasn’t really possible, and so when they spotted one of the few scraggly trees, they huddled together underneath.

Then a jolt! And bolt of light flew through the air! It struck the scraggly tree. There was the sound of the sky breaking, and the tree screamed as it fell in half, and the iirjahs that had been huddled underneath scattered; all except for Grandfather who had lost his hearing, and had been napping on the ground.

When half the tree fell, a leaf brushed Grandfather’s arm. He awoke and yawned and opened his eyes to see a bit of yellow fire dancing on the upright half of the tree. He watched the fire climb the broken trunk, and eat it, and leave a shadow behind as it went on its upward way.

The old man was fascinated by the fire, and so reached out to touch it.

It bit him! and he found that he could not hold the fire with his hands.

So, he plucked a small twig from the fallen half of the tree, and put it near the fire. The fire split into pieces, and one piece of it went onto the twig.

The old man held the twig in front of his eyes, and told the fire “Be still.” The fire didn’t listen. It ate its way up the twig, and even when Grandfather told the fire not to bite him again, it didn’t stop. He tried to shoo the fire away, and it cowered at the wave of his hand, but still it kept going. When it had eaten its way across almost the entire twig, he dropped it, and watched the fire finish eating it, and then slowly die. Grandfather learned then that it was impossible for the fire to live without constantly eating. And he wanted to know more.

So it was that he stood before the burning tree and worked again and again to catch another bit of fire, so that he could take it with him and know how to keep it fed.

Grandfather began to carry fire wherever he went. When he rejoined the others, he told them fire was a silly creature that ate all that it had, never stopping for a moment. He showed them that when fire was finished with all there was to eat, it would die of starvation.

The whole tribe began to learn with the old man, and they tried many ways of feeding fire.

Once, when they gave it plenty to eat, enough to last for many days, the fire grew immensely, and became greedy, quickly eating all that they had gathered for it in one mountainous blaze.

Thus they learned to feed it only a little at a time, for it seemed to be an infant with no self-control.  As long as it stayed small, the iirjahs found that the fire was pleasingly warm, made a cheerful sound, and was beautiful, too. They wanted to keep it with them, and made for it a place among them where it could stay.

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