The Gift of Fire to Mankind: A Mythical Study on the Spiritual Significance of Coal, Part 5
“In the mountains of this province, they mine a sort of black stone. There are big seams of it. When lit it burns like charcoal and gives off much more heat than wood and will burn throughout the night and still be going in the morning. The stones flame a bit when first lit but then glow, giving off considerable heat. Abundant and cheap in a country where admittedly there is also an abundance of wood, these stones make possible the continous firing of stoves and baths. Warm baths are taken by everyone at least three times a week and daily in winter if a person can afford it.”
~Marco Polo (d. c. 1324)
Comment: We continue our study of “The Gift of Fire to Mankind” as passed down through the myths and traditions of the people of the world.
It may be protested here of course that Marco Polo was a historic figure and portions of what he wrote about his travels in Asia in the 1200’s have
since been verified to be accurate observations. Yet Marco Polo’s writings were met with such astonishment, disbelief, and derision in Europe that during the time he was imprisoned, his name was in use as a household slang term for lying or making up wild tales out of whole cloth.
And so I have taken the liberty of including Marco Polo’s report of coal fire and the prosperity enjoyed by regions of Asia, because it was at one time treated as a legend and a myth by the poor Europeans of the Medieval Ages.
It is now reported that Great Britain has not built coal fire power station since the construction of Drax in 1986. The country is instead committed to a policy of carbon dioxide emissions reductions. Dozens of coal power plants have been demolished, others are scheduled to be shut down, and the beautiful English countryside groans under the increasing weight of giant wind turbines, sometimes measuring 200′ high and possessing 130′ blades. So far these have produced only a “half a percent of the power” needed, despite the £200 billion investment in their use.
It is logical to ask if at the present rate of power generation reductions, and with the dousing of the country’s bright and efficient coal fires, only the wealthiest of the British will be able to bathe 3 times a week.