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The Open Fire Henry van Dyke

The Camp-Fire

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Table Of Contents: Fisherman's Luck

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In the woods, the old-fashioned brimstone match of our grandfathers-- the match with a brown head and a stout stick and a dreadful smell-- is the best. But if you have only one, do not trust even that to light your fire directly. Use it first to touch off a roll of birch-bark which you hold in your hand. Then, when the bark is well alight, crinkling and curling, push it under the heap of kindlings, give the flame time to take a good hold, and lay your wood over it, a stick at a time, until the whole pile is blazing. Now your fire is started. Your friendly little red-haired gnome is ready to serve you through the night.

He will dry your clothes if you are wet. He will cheer you up if you are despondent. He will diffuse an air of sociability through the camp, and draw the men together in a half circle for storytelling and jokes and singing. He will hold a flambeau for you while you spread your blankets on the boughs and dress for bed. He will keep you warm while you sleep,--at least till about three o'clock in the morning, when you dream that you are out sleighing in your pajamas, and wake up with a shiver.

"HOLA, FERDINAND, FRANCOIS!" you call out from your bed, pulling the blankets over your ears; "RAMANCHEZ LE FEU, S'IL VOUS PLAIT. C'EST UN FREITE DE CHIEN."

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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