184 IDEAL HOME LIFE
was selected as guardian of the fire, and thus arose the office of the priest, the minister of the Great Mystery; and these things are not so far back but what we have abundance of legends recording such moving experience. To this day, the vow of the Cheyenne chief includes a promise to "keep the fire burning," and tales of the dark days, when the fire had died, are told, with bated breath.
With a priesthood to exalt the wonder of the fire mystery, its importance grew, in the thoughts of men: This was the one great mystery. It must have been long later that men realized the fire only did by night what the sun did on a larger scale by day; besides, the fire was in many camps, they could not all be the great mystery. Therefore, in time, the focused thought: the great mystery must be the One behind the fire and the sun. Thus men were led to think of the first cause.
This is a brief outline of man's development; and the proofs of it lie partly in history, but chiefly in ourselves. At every point, in every department, we can discover them. Almost all our instincts date to those days. There can be no doubt that most of our superstition, our fear of the dark—of the unknown, is founded on our ancestral memory of the time when the night was full of deadly dangers, and when all about us in the darkness were strong brutes and dreadful forms, following, ready at any moment to pounce on us and make us their helpless prey.
When I see the children walking so as to avoid stepping on the cracks of the paving stones, when I see them religiously avoid letting a tree or post come between as they walk, when I see them walk the top of every low wall by their road, when I see them glorify physical strength above all things—when I see them fear the dark and cower over the fire, when I see them spit on new property to possess it, and a host of other strange things, I know that they are merely continuing habits which, meaningless now, were of vital import a hundred thousand years ago.