The parable of the fire


The old man noticed a small ember, so he found some dry leaves and carefully placed them around the glow. He blew gently until a leaf began to sparkle and smoke.

Then, the old man leaned small twigs against each other, just above the smoking, sparkling dry leaf. Again, he blew gently. Another leaf began to sparkle, and now some of twigs smoked, too.

Finally, a tiny fire burned and crackled.

Yet now the old man’s time to attend the fire had come to an end, and a younger man was called to care for the flames.

The young man puzzled over the small fire. It was a fire, but it was too small. He thought the old man had not been passionate enough about building this fire. How was such a small fire going to be useful?

The young man, full of zeal, decided to build the tiny flames into a great fire. First, he gathered larger twigs, and also branches.

Then he kneeled down by the small fire. “The old man blew gently, but too gently,” he thought.

“If a small breeze will summon this fire,” he reasoned, “then a great wind will build the flames higher.”

So the young man inhaled deeply and blew into the little flames.

A black puff of smoke went up, and as the aired slowly cleared, the young man excitedly awaited to see a brighter blaze.

When the smoke was gone, the young man saw that the fire had been entirely extinguished, and not a single glowing ember remained.

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