BeeOasis Step 2
A little boy was sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen. He was watching the red fire in the wide open fireplace. He quietly thought about the causes of things. He was always thinking and always wanting to know how things worked.
“Grandma,” he asked, “what makes the fire burn?”
This was not the first time he had asked his grandmother questions that she could not answer. So she continued cooking. She pretended she did not hear the question.
Above the fire an old teapot was hanging. The water inside it was starting to bubble. A thin cloud of steam was rising from it. Soon the lid began to shake. The hot air puffed out quickly. But when the boy looked under the lid he could see nothing.
“Grandma, what is in the teapot?” he asked.
“Water, my child. Nothing but water.”
“But I know there is something else. There is something in there that lifts the lid and makes it shake.”
The grandmother laughed. “Oh, that is only steam,” she said. “You can see it coming out from under the lid.”
“But you said there was nothing but water in the pot. How did the steam get under the lid?”
“It comes out of the hot water,” she explained. “The hot water makes the steam.” The grandmother was beginning to feel confused.
The boy lifted the lid and looked inside again. He could see nothing but the bubbling water. He couldn’t see the steam until after it was out of the kettle.
“How strange!” he said. “The steam must be very strong to lift the heavy iron lid. Grandma, how much water did you put into the kettle?”
This story is adapted from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin.