The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories.

I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I got an awful fright.  A thin, transparent bluish film rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran!  I thought it was a spirit, and I was so frightened!  But I looked back, and it was not coming; so I leaned against a rock and rested and panted, and let my limps go on trembling until they got steady again; then I crept warily back, alert, watching, and ready to fly if there was occasion; and when I was come near, I parted the branches of a rose-bush and peeped through—­wishing the man was about, I was looking so cunning and pretty—­but the sprite was gone.  I went there, and there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole.  I put my finger in, to feel it, and said Ouch! and took it out again.  It was a cruel pain.  I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began to examine.

I was curious to know what the pink dust was.  Suddenly the name of it occurred to me, though I had never heard of it before.  It was fire!  I was as certain of it as a person could be of anything in the world.  So without hesitation I named it that—­fire.

I had created something that didn’t exist before; I had added a new thing to the world’s uncountable properties; I realized this, and was proud of my achievement, and was going to run and find him and tell him about it, thinking to raise myself in his esteem —­but I reflected, and did not do it.  No—­he would not care for it.  He would ask what it was good for, and what could I answer? for if it was not good for something, but only beautiful, merely beautiful—­ So I sighed, and did not go.  For it wasn’t good for anything; it could not build a shack, it could not improve melons, it could not hurry a fruit crop; it was useless, it was a foolishness and a vanity; he would despise it and say cutting words.  But to me it was not despicable; I said, “Oh, you fire, I love you, you dainty pink creature, for you are beautiful—­and that is enough!” and was going to gather it to my breast.  But refrained.  Then I made another maxim out of my head, though it was so nearly like the first one that I was afraid it was only a plagiarism:  “The burnt experiment shuns the fire.”

I wrought again; and when I had made a good deal of fire-dust I emptied it into a handful of dry brown grass, intending to carry it home and keep it always and play with it; but the wind struck it and it sprayed up and spat out at me fiercely, and I dropped it and ran.  When I looked back the blue spirit was towering up and stretching and rolling away like a cloud, and instantly I thought of the name of it—­smoke!—­though, upon my word, I had never heard of smoke before.

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The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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