How to Make a Good Fire

When it was too cold to play outside if I promised to be quiet I was allowed to sit with my grandfather in his study, where there were many law books lining the wall and a wonderful smell from my grandfather’s pipe. Although my grandfather and I both, I am sure, had expectations of being good, we got down on the floor anyway and went around on all fours laughing and playing Eskimo.

On a cold Sunday the hired man was off and so my grandfather had made the fire in the big fireplace in the living room. I lay on my side on the rug before the hearth watching the fire and hoping I would be allowed to put in a log. My grandfather sat down and bent over to me, saying: “Ah, a good fire. Do you know what they say about how to make a good fire? One log can’t burn, two logs won’t burn, three logs might burn, four logs’ll burn, and five logs makes a good fire”.


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