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The First Fire

ISSUE:  Winter 2008

The very first fire burned for an hour. It seemed to set itself ablaze and then it ran its course. The second fire burned for a day, the third for a year, and so on, until the fire burned longer than any man could measure.

Men threw their food into the fire, and still the fire burned. They threw their cattle into the fire, and still the fire burned. They threw even their daughters and their sons into the fire, but still the fire burned.

The fire burned the land and the sea, swallowing houses, forests, islands, even the water, which burned and burned and burned.

Soon all the men were gone, swallowed by the fire. The animals were also gone, and the plants, all of them swallowed by the fire. The fire threatened to swallow the whole of the earth, which was now little more than a glowing coal at the tireless fire’s core.

There are many stories of fire, but all of them end in the same way: as inexplicably as it had burned, the fire cooled and smoldered and finally went out, as if anything else could happen.


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