Friday, August 17, 2007


Three men sat around a campfire. A gust of wind blew smoke into their faces.

One sprang up, cursing and spitting. “Damn this smoke! All it does is sting my eyes and make my clothes stink! I wish there was no smoke here.”

At once the fire disappeared, and the night crowded in dark and cold.

The second man said anxiously, “Smoke is a small price to pay for the comfort of fire. And after all, smoke is useful. Imagine how many people would starve in the winter, if they couldn’t use smoke to cure meat.”

Immediately the fire reappeared. The three men sat quiet for a while, afraid to speak.

At last the third said: “Smoke is very beautiful. Look how it glows with the light of the fire below and the light of the fire above. Look at the strange shapes it forms, dancing with the wind: roses, feathers, whirlpools! I wish I were made of smoke.”

Another gust of wind came, and when it passed, the clearing was empty.

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