IF one turns to literature, handbooks and classical travel descriptions of past times, one learns that fire, in its capacity as one of the five elements, the child of wood, mother to the earth and enemy of all the metals, plays a very important part in several of Asia’s ancient religions. One can read of travellers in Central Asia who have displeased their hosts by throwing cut-off nails, hair and other “unclean” things on to the fire or by putting their feet against the hearth. One finds that Marco Polo had heard of three places in Persia which were inhabited by fire-worshippers. The legend ran that the three holy kings of the Bible set out from those places to find out whether the reports of the new-born Saviour were true. Each of them took with him his special gift, which should be an offering to the new-born Messiah and at the same time should prove whether the child were a Divine Saviour or not. If he preferred gold, he was only an earthly king; if he held out his hand for myrrh, he was a worker of miracles; but if he chose incense, the kinsman of fire, that was a proof that he 122was the real Saviour. The Christ-child accepted all three offerings, and in return he presented to the three kings a stone; this later on was miraculously transformed into a fire, whose flames have been nourished through the centuries by the Persian fire-worshippers.