Fire,[A]—a Conversation between a Mother and her little Daughter.
Daughter. Mother dear, you told me, the other day, that nobody knows what light is, except the Great Creator. Now, can you tell me what fire is?
Mother. I fear, my child, that you have asked another question which I cannot directly answer. What fire is, is known only by its effects.
Daughter. And what are its effects, mother?
Mother. Some of its effects are as well known to you, my dear, as they are to me; and I shall, in the first place, call to your recollection what you yourself know about fire, before I attempt to give you any further information in relation to it.
Daughter. Why, mother, I am sure I do not know what fire is.
Mother. No, Caroline, I know that you do not know what fire is; neither do I, nor does any one, except the Great Creator himself. This is one of his secrets, which, in his wisdom, he reserves for himself.
But you certainly know some of the effects of fire. For instance, you know that when you have been out into the cold, you wish, on your return, to go to the fire. Now, can you tell me what you go to the fire for?
Daughter. Why, certainly, mother; I go to the fire to warm myself.
Mother. And how does the fire warm you, my dear?
Daughter. Why, it sends out its heat, mother; and I hold out my hands to it, and feel the heat.
Mother. And where does the heat come from, Caroline?
Daughter. Why, the heat comes from the fire, mother.
Mother. Then, my dear, you know at least one of the effects of fire. It produces, or rather sends out, heat.
Daughter. But does not the fire make the heat, mother?
Mother. If you had a little bird, or a mouse, in a cage, and should open the door and let it out, should you say that you made the little bird, or the mouse?
Daughter. Say that I made them, mother?—why, no; certainly not. I only let them go free. God made them. You told me that God made all things.
Mother. Neither did the fire make the heat. It only made it free, somewhat in the same manner that you would make the bird or the mouse free, by opening the door of the cage.
Daughter. Why, mother, is heat kept in cages, like birds or mice?
Mother. No, my dear, not exactly in cages, like birds or mice; but a great deal closer, in a different kind of cage.
Daughter Why, mother, what sort of a cage can heat be kept in?
Mother. I must answer your question, Caroline, by asking you another. When Alice makes her fire in the kitchen, how does she make it?