Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My informant’s name is Mrs. B. She was raised in Springville, UT and currently resides in Gilbert, AZ. She is a stay-at-home mother, but has attended both SUSC (aka SUU) and BYU in the past. Some of her favorite hobbies include sewing, learning new cooking techniques, and going on “foodie adventures.”
We were emailing back and forth. My informant was sitting at her desk working on some projects for her church when she got my email and I was sitting in my room working on various homework assignments. She would be more likely to share this kind of story when with family, or people who share the same faith as she does in a more personal setting. She would share them with friends, but probably not strangers. She also might share the stories if she felt like the person needed some reassurance that they are being watched over. This particular story is about her great grandmother. Whenever she’s told this story, it’s usually been told in utter admiration of the faithful ancestors she has descended from. She has great pride in her roots.
Augusta was a religious woman, a woman who had great faith in God. Her sister Mary told of an incident that happened when Joseph and Augusta went with a group of family and friends on an outing on the mountainside above Salem. They were enjoying themselves and had built a bonfire on which to cook their meal. All of the sudden a little whirlwind came and picked up some embers and blew them into some brush nearby. The brush burst into flames and quickly began to spread. All efforts to beat out the flame failed and it began to burn out of control. Manner and method of putting out fires in those days was very very unsophisticated and great damage could be caused along the mountains and even in the valley to their homes if the fire were not brought in control. Caroline Augusta left the group and went to a secluded place nearby and knelt down and prayed for help from God. A few minutes later, out of the clear blue sky, a dark cloud came over the mountain to the area of the fire and it started to rain, completely extinguishing the fire.
This story is told with amazement, but a genuine belief, that the story is true. It’s told with some longing, my informant wishing to have that same strength of faith as her ancestor. There is also an undertone of pride at the great respect my informant has for her ancestor and her ability to put out the fire from a simple prayer. There also appears to be a hint of gratitude for our modern technologies, that putting out a fire would be much simpler today.
Introduction to Folklore, ENGL 2210
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
G7: Solicited Divine Intervention
Burdett, Alyssa, "God Put Out the Fire" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 139.