Page:The fairy tales of science.djvu/189

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Water Bewitched.




“Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!”—Macbeth.




The vapour that escapes from the spout of an ordinary tea-kettle, is a much more wonderful emanation than any of those flimsy spirits which the wierd sisters summoned from their magic cauldron. Those deluded old ladies, who wasted so much time in collecting disgusting ingredients for their infernal broth, in dancing wildly around their cooking utensils, and in breaking-in and training broomsticks, have happily disappeared from the face of this beautiful earth, As we cannot look into their magic cauldron, let us peep into the homely kettle.

Science has revealed so many beautiful truths concerning boiling water, that we deem it advisable to devote an entire chapter to their consideration. The reader must not think that we have chosen a trivial subject. It has been well said, that there is no great and no small in nature, and that the force which shapes the world gives form to the dewdrop. To this remark we may add a similar one—namely, that some of the grandest phenomena in nature are