The Bird Of Flame

When the Great Spirit saw the work of the flames, he was very angry.

"The fires of this mountain must perish," he said. "No longer shall its

red flames light the midnight sky."

The mountain trembled with fear at the angry words of the Great Spirit.

"O father of all fire and light," cried the Fire Spirit, "I know that

the flames have been cruel. They killed the beautiful flowers and drove

your children from their homes, but for many, many moons they heeded my

words and were good and gentle. They drove the frost and cold of winter

from the wigwams of the village. The little children laughed to see

their red light in the sky. The hearts of your people will be sad, if

the flames must perish from the earth."

The Great Spirit listened to the words of the gentle Spirit of Fire, but

he answered, "The fires must perish. They have been cruel to my people,

and the little children will fear them now; but because the children

once loved them, the beautiful colors of the flames shall still live to

make glad the hearts of all who look upon them."

Then the Great Spirit struck the mountain with his magic war-club. The

smoke above it faded away; its fires grew cold and dead. In its dark and

gloomy heart only one little flame still trembled. It looked like a

star. How beautiful it was!

The Great Spirit looked upon the little flame. He saw that it was

beautiful and gentle, and he loved it. "The fires of the mountain must

perish," he said, "but you little, gentle flame, shall have wings and

fly far away from the cruel fires, and all my children will love you as

I do." Swiftly the little thing rose above the mountain and flew away in

the sunshine. The light of the flames was still on its head; their

marvelous colors were on its wings.

So from the mountain's heart of fire sprang the first humming-bird. It

is the bird of flame, for it has all the beauty of the colors of the

flame, but it is gentle, and every child in all the earth loves it and

is glad to see it fluttering over the flowers.

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