Something About Fires
It was a cold day. Fred was tired of reading, tired of looking out of the
window, and so he poked the fire for a change.
"I suppose there are a good many different sorts of fires," he said to his
mamma, as he laid down the poker.
"Yes, indeed," she answered. "It is very interesting to know how people
keep warm in all parts of the world, especially where fuel is scarce and
dear. In Iceland, for example, fires are often made of fish-bones! Think
of that. In Holland and other countries a kind of turf called peat is dug
up in great quantities and used for fuel. And in France a coarse yellow
and brown sea-weed, which is found in Finistere, is carefully dried and
piled up for winter use. A false log, resembling wood, but made of some
composition which does not consume, is often used in that country. It
absorbs and throws out the heat, and adds to the looks of the hearth and
to the comfort of the room.
"The French have also a movable stove, which can be wheeled from room to
room, or even carried up or down stairs while full of burning coke. In
Russia the poorer people use a large porcelain stove, flat on top like a
great table, with a small fire inside which gives out a gentle,
summer-like warmth. It often serves as a bed for the whole family, who
sleep on top of it.
"There are, besides gas-stoves, oil-stoves, various methods of obtaining
warmth by heated air and steam, and, doubtless, other devices that I never
"In some countries, however, no fires are needed. In looking at pictures
of tropical towns you will at once notice the absence of chimneys."
Fred looked admiringly at his mamma as she paused.
"There never was such a little mother," he said; "you can think of
something to say about everything."
His mamma was pleased at this pleasant compliment.
"Oh!" she replied, laughing, "I could go on and tell you more about
bonfires, beacon-fires, signals, drift-wood fires, and gypsy-tea fires;
but I have told you enough for to-day."