How Fire Came to Earth
Long ago only Meleka, the god who lives in the sky, possessed the gifts of fire; and in his wisdom he withheld it from Man. One day he gave a fire stick to Hawk and bade him fly through the heavens to kindle a dark star, but the fire stick fell from the mouth of hawk and dropped down to earth. It landed amid dry grass and a fire began, and men who saw the fire came to gaze on it in wonder, while Hawk flew down through the smoke trying in vain to seize the fire.
Men felt the heat of the fire and saw that it are sticks. They realized that fire could keep them warm at night, so each man carried a pot of coals to his house and kept them burning bright with sticks of wood. Until that time call food was often raw, but women now discovered that fire had magic to improve raw food, and thus they learned to cook. In those days there were no cooking pots, only hollowed stones, but rice and water, roots and meat were put in these hollowed stones and heated, and provided pleasing fare.
But no one knew how to kill fire except by starving it to death until one day a woman chanced to spill water on her fire. The water fought the fire, which hissed angrily and grew cold. It was then thought that fire and water must be married, since they fought so well; and as water was called Mending, fire became known as Yinding, and still is.
Hawk has never ceased trying to recapture fire, which he must some day return to Meleka. He hovers over towns and villages waiting for his chance, and may be seen diving and swooping about on the edge of forest fires. But he cannot approach a fire until it burns quite low, and then only the biggest sticks are left, too big for a hawk to carry.