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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories.

Soon brilliant yellow and red flares shot up through the smoke, and I named them in an instant—­flames—­and I was right, too, though these were the very first flames that had ever been in the world.  They climbed the trees, then flashed splendidly in and out of the vast and increasing volume of tumbling smoke, and I had to clap my hands and laugh and dance in my rapture, it was so new and strange and so wonderful and so beautiful!

He came running, and stopped and gazed, and said not a word for many minutes.  Then he asked what it was.  Ah, it was too bad that he should ask such a direct question.  I had to answer it, of course, and I did.  I said it was fire.  If it annoyed him that I should know and he must ask; that was not my fault; I had no desire to annoy him.  After a pause he asked: 

“How did it come?”

Another direct question, and it also had to have a direct answer.

“I made it.”

The fire was traveling farther and farther off.  He went to the edge of the burned place and stood looking down, and said: 

“What are these?”

“Fire-coals.”

He picked up one to examine it, but changed his mind and put it down again.  Then he went away.  Nothing interests him.

But I was interested.  There were ashes, gray and soft and delicate and pretty—­I knew what they were at once.  And the embers; I knew the embers, too.  I found my apples, and raked them out, and was glad; for I am very young and my appetite is active.  But I was disappointed; they were all burst open and spoiled.  Spoiled apparently; but it was not so; they were better than raw ones.  Fire is beautiful; some day it will be useful, I think.

Friday.—­I saw him again, for a moment, last Monday at nightfall, but only for a moment.  I was hoping he would praise me for trying to improve the estate, for I had meant well and had worked hard.  But he was not pleased, and turned away and left me.  He was also displeased on another account:  I tried once more to persuade him to stop going over the Falls.  That was because the fire had revealed to me a new passion—­quite new, and distinctly different from love, grief, and those others which I had already discovered—­fear.  And it is horrible!—­I wish I had never discovered it; it gives me dark moments, it spoils my happiness, it makes me shiver and tremble and shudder.  But I could not persuade him, for he has not discovered fear yet, and so he could not understand me.

Extract from Adam’s Diary

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