STARTING A FIRE
THERE is one thing these Indians can do which Jethro
and I fail in every time, and certain it is we have tried
very hard to accomplish what seems exceedingly simple.
You know how difficult it is, when you are in a hurry,
or your hands are numb with cold, to get a spark from
flint and steel. Again, you may have succeeded in
striking fire at the first blow, only to find that your
tinder was damp, and refused to be fanned into a blaze.
Well, these Indians do not use a flint and steel when
they want to start a fire; but contrive to do it by whirling
a pointed stick in a bit of wood. I have taken
particular notice that they always have a piece of very dry
pine, sufficiently large to be held on the ground by
their knees, and that a tiny hollow has been scraped in
it, with the fine particles of wood, or dust, allowed to
remain in the hole.
 Then a long, well-sharpened stick, something after
the fashion of an arrow, is held with the point resting
amid the wood dust, and, holding the top between his
hands, which are held
with the palms together,
the Indian twirls that
around until you can see
a tiny thread of smoke
arise, when a blaze speedily follows.
It seems like a very
simple matter to twirl that
stick until the wood becomes heated to the point
of burning; but Jethro
and I have tried it an
hundred times without
being able to come any
nearer a fire than heating
the dust fairly warm, and
yet there isn't an Indian boy in either of the villages who
can't do the trick without seeming to work very hard.
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